Morning shootaround — Sept. 21


VIDEO: Chris Paul talks about new Clippers owner Steve Ballmer

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Playoff collapse lingers with CP3 | Crowded backcourt in Dallas | Taylor ready to go for Hornets

No. 1: Playoff collapse lingers with CP3 — The Los Angeles Clippers are happy to begin the season with new ownership. L.A. doesn’t look back too fondly on what happened on the court in last season’s playoffs either. With the conference semifinals tied at two games apiece, the Clips were up 13 with four minutes to go in Oklahoma City. Even after they let the Thunder cut that lead to two in the final seconds, they still had a chance to seal the game at the free-throw line. But Chris Paul lost the ball. He then helped OKC take the lead by fouling Russell Westbrook on a pull-up three. And on the final possession of the game, Paul coughed the ball up again. That kind of sequence is going to haunt a competitor like Paul for a long time. And, as Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times writes, it is certainly still on his mind as he gets ready to begin his fourth season in L.A.:

Paul was so devastated he cried in the locker room afterward.

Four months later, the emotional fallout lingers.

“It would be lying to you to say I’d forgotten about it,” Paul said during a break on set. “It’s one of those things that I don’t want to forget, to tell you the truth. I think for me, I feel like you have to remember things like that and therefore you don’t want that feeling again. I know I don’t.”

Paul wouldn’t go as far as to say the Clippers would use their Game 5 meltdown as inspiration a la the newly crowned NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, who suffered a similar playoff implosion in the 2013 Finals against the Miami Heat.

“I don’t know,” Paul said when asked if he saw any potential similarities between the situations. “I mean, the Spurs do what they do, we’ve got to do what we do. I think for us, it’s all about coming into training camp being ready to go.”

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No. 2: Crowded backcourt in Dallas — With the return of Tyson Chandler and the addition of Chandler Parsons, the Dallas Mavericks could be back among the Western Conference elite. To get Chandler, they had to swap Jose Calderon for Raymond Felton. But they added Jameer Nelson and still have Devin Harris at point guard. That’s a crowded backcourt, especially when you consider that shooting guard Monta Ellis is the Mavs’ primary playmaker. But, talking with The Dallas Morning News‘ Eddie Sefko, they believe that it can work:

How the point guard logjam unfolds is what training camp is for, of course. Coach Rick Carlisle has proved to be a master when it comes to implementing his strength-in-numbers philosophy.

When there are multiple good options at one position, they tend to sort themselves out during camp.

“A team can never have too many playmakers,” Carlisle said. “They can all play with or without the ball, so in my mind, they aren’t just point guards, they’re basketball players.”

Which brings us to the possibility that the three point guards will do a lot of the NBA’s version of “bunking together,” i.e., playing together and perhaps with Monta Ellis on the floor whenever Carlisle elects to go with a small lineup.

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No. 3: Taylor ready to go for Hornets — The Charlotte Bobcats were the most improved team after the All-Star break last season, and that was without second-year forward Jeff Taylor, who was lost for the season in December with a ruptured right Achilles’ tendon. Now, the Bobcats are the Hornets, and they’ve added Lance Stephenson. They’re also getting back Taylor, who provides depth, defense, and shooting on the wing. The road back was long, but Taylor used his time off to put on some weight, as Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer writes:

Taylor injured himself Dec. 20 and he was given the option to put off surgery until after the holidays. That’s not Taylor’s way; he had the tendon reattached Dec. 22. He spent Christmas and New Year’s in a cast, followed by a boot, followed by a corrective shoe.

It’s the first time he was ever seriously injured, and the experience was enlightening.

“It’s been a long road,” Taylor said. “With an Achilles’ injury, you have to be really patient – slowly getting back all your strength, back to what you were.”

In one way, he is beyond what he was. With his lower body shut down for three months, Taylor beefed up his upper body. Constant lifting – the only exercise available to him from January through March – had a noticeable effect on his arms and shoulders.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Ramon Sessions is heading to Sacramento. … Andray Blatche, hero of the Philippines, is taking his talents to China. … Jeff Green knows he has to be more consistent. … Kobe Bryant might soon own a piece of an Italian soccer team.

7 Comments

  1. Pfft! says:

    Not his fault.
    He was fouled, it was a late game situation so of course it wasn’t called.
    Yeah they got robbed, it’s happened before.
    Nobody was beating the Spurs anyway.

  2. Nick says:

    Paul plays best – like all true point guards – when he focuses on being a PG and not on scoring. Great point guards score when the defense gives them the opportunity. That means thinking like lightning to exploit defenses. That occurs best with ball movement and pick and rolls. When a guard “creates offense” – a fancy word that means nothing but one-on-one play many people love it and your scoring stats look good, but you don’t win championships. Teams that play real basketball will chew you up and spit you out. Paul lost his poise and tried to force the game and personally put points on the board. I hope he goes back to being the consummate PG. He’s great to watch.

  3. cedricmaxwell says:

    1. Nobody in the NBA wanted Andre Blatche? That is shocking to me.
    2. I’m happy that Ramon sessions got picked up by Sacramento. I’m still waiting for them to make that big splash though, and get J Smoove and Rajon Rondo.
    3. Maybe if was his alter ego, Cliff Paul, who made those boo-boos in that OKC playoff game. Not to worry, OKC got creamed by the Spurs anyway, your team, the Flippers, weren’t ready for the Spurs either.
    4. Are the Mavericks really going to be contenders this year, or have they just really deepened their bench for their older players?
    5. I really like Anthony Davis and for his sake I really hope all his teammates coming off injuries, means they will finally be able to contend for at least 7th or 8th seed. I just don’t know what team they will bump because it’s pretty tied up in the western conference. Good luck New Orleans.

  4. Chuck says:

    In pro hoops often one’s reputation runs much further than the reality. In spite of his great stas and rep Oscar Robertson one but championship and that after he had Jabbar on his side. If you look up his post-season stats they totally pale with Jerry West’s. Today there are two great playerswithhuge reps and have never even gone to the conference finals–CP3 and Melo, and yet they are always at the top of the public’s perception of stars. Crying over spilled milk means nothing.