by Micah Hart
As everyone knows by now, the compressed NBA schedule will force every team to play three games in three nights at least one this season (42 times in total). With only 66 games to stake a claim to a playoff spot or seed, how teams perform during these killer slates could have a large impact on how their seasons turn out.
With that in mind, we’re going to keep track of each of the 42 three-plays to see which teams take advantage and which teams fall apart. Up next, the L.A. Clippers, who played three straight from Mar. 20-22.
Some teams, when faced with the three-for-all challenge, choose to look big picture and not worry so much about the individual outcomes of such a difficult stretch of games. And by some teams, I mean the Dallas Mavericks.
The Clippers? Something tells me that will not be the case with them as they embarked on their second threeplay of the season. With rumors of unrest and discord swirling around them, how they performed over this span could end up shaking the team to its core:
Game 1: Pacers 102, Clippers 89 – A bad start for the Clips, but a loss to the Pacers isn’t the worst thing in the world. Blake Griffin had 23 points and 10 rebounds, but was 2-7 from the foul stripe. BG, you have got to work on your free-throw shooting dude. It pains me to dislike a single part of your game. -2 points
Game 2: Thunder 114, Clippers 91 - LA gave up 66 first-half points to Oklahoma City, which I’m not sure is a great recipe for success in this game. This was the first outing for Derek Fisher in a Thunder uniform after being unceremoniously dumped by the Lakers at the deadline. Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a big deal if he’d been ceremoniously dumped? -1 point
Game 3: Hornets 97, Clippers 90 - This one hurt. I don’t care if it was their third-in-three, you can’t let Chris Paul lose his first game back in New Orleans. Yeah this was the Super Bowl for New Orleans (Even Jason Smith played like a Saint — too soon?), but no amount of motivation should be enough to overcome the talent differential between these two squads. For shame, LAC, for shame. 0 points
Interestingly enough, there have now been four teams to go undefeated (Heat, Bulls, Thunder, Suns II), and four to go defeated, as the Clippers put up -3 points and join the lowly ranks of the Mavericks, Suns I, and Pistons in the winless column.
Nothing of note came out of the previous three teams putting up a bagel. Will that be the case for Vinny Del Negro and the Clippers?
Up next: The Bucks and Pacers both play three straight Mar. 22-24.
Three for all Top Ten:
– Miami Heat (15 points)
– Chicago Bulls (13 points)
– OKC Thunder (12 points)
– Phoenix Suns II (10 points)
– New Jersey Nets II (8 points)
– Atlanta Hawks (8 points)
– Houston Rockets (7 points)
– Portland Trail Blazers (6 points)
– L.A. Clippers (6 points)
– Philadelphia 76ers (6 points)