Well, that was interesting. I had planned on doing a special post that analyzed the Love-Griffin matchup, breaking down each possession where they guarded one another. Since I did the work (the few times the matchup occurred) I’ll post the results, below. But the obvious story from this game was that just when Lob City was imposing its will on the young Muskies from Minnesota, Derrick Williams Happened. And then Michael Beasley Happened. Just check out the box score. Two bench forwards EACH SCORED 27 POINTS!!! Beasley shot 11 for 15; Williams 9 for 10. Each made every attempted 3-pointer (Beasley 3-3, Williams 4-4) and each made every shot they attempted in the 4th Quarter (I think). These two PUMMELED the Paul-Griffin combo when it mattered most. This wasn’t some lottery-bound, spongy defense either. D-Thrill was doing elbow-flying jump stops on Kenyon Martin, the meanest forward in basketball. Supercool Beas was torching Caron Butler.
Anyway, I won’t extrapolate too much on this performance. It’s obviously anomalous for any players–let alone a couple of young and unproven ones like Beasley and Williams–to combine for a 20-25 shooting night and 54 points off the bench. But Pat and I are card-carrying fans/supporters/apologists of both players, so we’re sure-as-shit going to give some props when Williams and Beasley shine on one of the biggest stages in the league.
In this League Pass Era, this game was being witnessed all over the country by hoops junkies, and Beasley-Williams will be the buzz tomorrow morning. What a fun game to watch.
Now, to that Love-Griffin Matchup:
Since Love and Blake are widely considered the league’s best young power forwards, I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at their matchup in tonight’s game. I noted what happened each time the two matched up on one another and anything happened. (Essentially, I ignored possessions where they weren’t guarding one another, and possessions where they simply passed the ball without any activity surrounding the matchup, like a double-team.)
Here’s the list:
Blake on Offense:
- Posts up Love, head fakes, up-and-under, 2 points
- Blake slides behind Love for alley-oop dunk attempt, misses dunk
- Pass comes to Blake on wing/mid-post, Love gambles for steal and misses, Blake has open path for dunk
- Blake squares up from top of key (20 feet) and clanks a jumper
- Hard double team comes from Rubio, Blake passes out leads to ball swing and jumpshot attempt
- Squares up and drives, Love fouls him at the rim, Love exits game cursing out refs
Love on Offense:
- Squares up and hits jumper in Blake’s face
- Dribble drive, takes difficult, contested jumper and misses
- Pick and roll, catches pass but DeAndre Jordan is help defender and blocks shot
Blake on Offense
Love on Offense
- Squares up and dribble drives, Blake flops for charge–no call–and Love is fouled by help defender on shot
- Posts up, ball poked away and it’s call out of bounds off Love
Blake on Offense
- Missed 3-pointer when he was floating around near end of shot clock
- Fully double-teamed by Rubio, passes out for ball swing
- Fights with Love for offensive rebound, gets it, is fouled on shot
- Posting up, pass sails overhead and out of bounds
- Floating 18 feet out as Paul drives, Love follows Paul toward basket, pass goes out to Blake and Love dares him to shoot — makes jumpshot.
Love on Offense
- Posts up, misses hook shot
- Posts up for long sequence, 24-second buzzer goes off before shot, turnover
- Picks and pops, misses 3-pointer
(No matchups, for reasons mentioned above.)
A few thoughts on this matchup:
- For the game, Love had 10 pts 7 rebs 2 asts 2 tos
- For the game, Griffin had 30 pts 7 rebs 4 asts 3 tos
- Obviously, this was not Kevin Love’s night. He shot 4-13 for 10 points and 7 rebounds in 25 minutes. Everybody knows that isn’t him. As Williams was killing it, Love went into the locker room with some kind of injury. What was interesting for my exercise was how often Adelman had other defenders on Blake. Perhaps it was an attempt to keep him out of foul trouble–Blake had it going in the 1st Half (24 points) and was getting lots of contact off dribble penetration. Williams, Pekovic, and Darko defended Blake for the majority of this game, hence the few number of matchups for me to describe.
- Blake commands a double team–a full one. Not many in the league are in this category and he’s already there.
- Blake can’t shoot very well. Until he gets a better rhythm on his shot–jumper and free throws–he’ll be fighting with guys like Love and LaMarcus Aldridge for “Best 4 in the World” recognition. If he shot just a little bit better, it wouldn’t even be a discussion. His potential is so, so high.
This was obviously a rather disjointed Game Wrap. Chris Paul had me worried; the Wolves had no answer for him until Williams made it rain from the Staples Center sky. If there are two measured take-aways for what to do next, they are:
* Take two or three minutes from Kevin Love and give them to Derrick Williams. Love is awesome, but he isn’t the type of player that should lead the NBA in minutes per game as he currently does. He’s a rebounding big man. That’s exhausting work and the team would benefit from having a bit more energy from both Love and his eager replacement.
* Give the Wes Johnson minutes to Michael Beasley already. Shit, we’ve seen the talent discrepancy and it’s outrageous that this goes on. Beasley will upset us sometimes with a blown assignment or a ball-stop. But he’ll also go off from time to time, and he’ll ALWAYS be a better all-around basketball player than Wes.
Lakers tomorrow night. Kobe was concussed by D-Wade in the All-Star Game (yes, this happened) so he may not play tomorrow. Maybe it can be a Staples Sweep?
Season Record: 18-17