Hubie got swept because of the team he was coaching. He was out-talented, not out-coached. Regardless, my argument is still valid. You can replace Hubie's name with any good floor coach, and the points still hold true. Hollins makes idiotic substitutions and calls bad plays at the times that matter the most. There have been many close games we won this year that had more to do with the guys on the floor coming through IN SPITE of the coaching, instead of because of it.
As far as Zach and Marc go... when the Clippers adjusted to take away the inside game, a good coach would have found a way to work the ball back inside. This idea that Reggie Evans is too strong for Marc and Zach to get position is 100% horse crap. I watched Zach and Marc both schooling the Clippers' frontline last night, and yet the team still went away from the post.
And even in a situation where Zach and Marc have missed a couple of shots or turned it over, you STILL go back to them as soon as possible. This is a INSIDE-OUT TEAM. You find a way to get them back involved. Period. If Tim Duncan is having a tough time with a defensive scheme, does Pop just ignore him and go with an all-perimeter plan? Hell no! They find a new way to attack that opens Duncan up again. That is good coaching.
And Chris, you just made my point for me regarding Hollins' decision-making. He thinks Pondexter should be in ahead of Allen when the game is close. That is asinine. Tony may not be a perimeter scoring threat, but his defense disrupts the Clippers' one and only real threat, Chris Paul. If you make your opponent's main threat less effective, then your chances of winning a game become much higher.
I am both relieved by the outcome of that game, and terrified of Lionel Hollins' coaching decisions. I have given him the benefit of the doubt for a long time now, mostly due to this team's scrappy defense and ability to win against the odds. But the unfortunate truth is that Hollins makes some of the most bone-headed coaching mistakes I have ever seen at any level.
In this game, he had great success feeding Gasol and Randolph in the first quarter... then he immediately abandons this. And the reason he gave, that they were no longer effective, is BS. If you watched the game, you could see that they stopped going to the inside power game right after they built that big first quarter lead. Why??
His next mistake was pulling Tony Allen for basically the entire end of the game. Allen was giving Paul fits, and in general causing havok for the other team in the first half. Then Hollins pulls him out of the game... and magically, the Clippers start coming back. Chris Paul and Mo Williams get going, and the lead starts sliding away. You can say I am giving Tony too much credit, but if you watch him in the game, his tenacity and fight are infectious. The whole team feeds off of it when he is on the floor. At it's core, this team's beating heart is Tony and Zach.
I honestly don't know if these coaching decisions are a sign of over-blown ego, or just ineptitude. Hollins has always been the type of coach that will make a decision just to prove 'his way is the right way', regardless of cost. And before anyone starts defending Hollins, please think about this... if Hubie Brown were coaching this same exact team, is there ANY chance in the world we would be on the verge of elimination to the Clippers? I can't imagine Hubie allowing the collapse of Game 1, or the 'Rudy Gay Show' of game 4.
I know using Hubie as an example is probably unfair, but my point is the source of most of this team's struggles can be attributed to the head coach. He seems to be a solid "player's coach", and a good teacher of defensive principals. But when it comes to substitutions and late-game decisions... well, we just have to pray that the players on the floor can make up for the mistakes from the bench.
Dear Staple(s) Center Management,
I'm not sure why you would be concerned with anything involving a Clippers game. After all, I thought you ran the Lakers' arena. What's that? The Clippers STILL play in the Lakers' arena?? (Well, when Kobe and company allow you to, anyway.) So, still the only team in the NBA playing "home" games in someone else's house? How do you spell pathetic? C-L-I-P-P-E-R-S
Great article Chris, but I agree with the others about Pargo. He has some potential, but what this team really needs is a veteran back-up PG. Someone steady, who Hollins can trust to run things when Conley is resting. If this team is going to be a real contender over the next couple of years, we don't need a backup PG "in training". If there is a real need for a free agent signing or trade right now, it is at the PG position.
Great job as usual Chris. I have a couple of minor corrections though. First, I believe Thabeet got booed at the end of the 3rd period, not when he came in at the start. But it is possible he was booed then TOO, and I just didn't notice it then. Second, you didn't mention the moment when the game fell apart completely... when BOTH Demarre Carroll and Thabeet were on the floor at the same time. Yikes! The team can barely scrape by when 1 of them is on the floor, but when they are both out there... it becomes a complete train wreck. Honestly, both those guys need to be buried at the end of the bench. And I am sick of hearing how Carroll is this great energy-guy who just needs more PT. He is TERRIBLE! Period! He was awful all of last year, and if anything, he seemed WORSE on opening night.
Now, about your rotation ideas. I know it would upset OJ to be moved to the 6th man spot... but I really like that idea. And I know I am going out on a limb here, but I think Xavier Henry is going to be very very good. I think sooner or later he is going to put Hollins in a difficult position of whether to move OJ out of the starting spot anyway. If he went ahead and moved OJ to the back-up PG spot, and carefully explained that OJ should view this the same way Crawford, Terry, and Ginobilli see it, that might ease the situation. I love OJ, but if Henry proves to be as good as I think he can be... he will be starting sooner or later.
And finally, Mike Conley. It seems like I have written this same comment a dozen times over the past few years, but here we go again: If Conley can consistently play like this going forward, the Grizzlies will be in great shape at the PG position. (The word IF has never been so important in a sentence.) But here's hoping he can find a way to bottle this aggressiveness and continue playing this way throughout the season.
Wow. Just wow.
After hearing this interview, I have come to a decision. First, let me say I genuinely like the guys on this team, and I genuinely like the coaching staff. I wish all of them nothing but the best. I hope they all win multiple championships someday.
But... I am done supporting this team financially. I will NOT be going to ANY games this season. I will NOT be buying ANY merchandise. I may watch them on TV when the chance comes up, but I refuse to send ANY money in Michael Heisley's direction.
I know my relatively small contribution won't be missed by a billionaire, but I was one of the few remaining fans who (stupidly?) continued to spend money on this team. Until Heisley either sells the team, or steps 100% out of the way and lets smarter people run the basketball side of things... I am done.
Congrats Mike, you managed to do something in a quick radio interview that couldn't be done with years of under-achievement and bad luck on the basketball court. You made me lose faith in my team... partner.
I was going to counter your ridiculous assertions again. But... then I looked through all of the replies here, and realized there is no point.
Your argument has been dismantled roughly a half-dozen times, but you keep making the same points anyway. So, feel free to continue.
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By Jackson Baker
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