Clippers vs Thunder 2014 - What Went Wrong?

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toohipcliptoslip
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I'm not pissed off. I'm disappointed but proud of the guys.

Forget the injuries bad calls and so forth. We have "the best point guard in the league, the third best player in the league and the sixth man of the year and a champion coach yet we go seven games with GSW and get beaten by OKC obviously a better team .There is something wrong. We are the highest scoring team in the league and we have the best rebounder in the league. We have a shooter who shoots lights out coming off screens yet this team will never go anywhere in the playoffs.

Sacrilege -- should we dump Chris Paul? We played well without him with the offense running through Blake. His foul may have cost us game five and he wasn't "the best closer in the game" in game six. He bricked a lot of shots. Could we get better for the money?I'm sure he has a NO Trade clause.

When Blake gets shut down we become a jump shooting team. If we're hot we're unbeatable like the first half. If not we lose. Collison is almost as good at getting to the rack as CP3

We need a second scorer in the paint. We have no post up player. We have nobody like Westbrook LeBron or Ginibli or maybe even Durant who can get to the rack. Blake is getting better. Doc signed shooters. If Granger had produced we would have done A LOT better. DJ's hero is Bill Russell. Bill was a great scorer. DJ has to develop a post game. He's long armed and athletic. Why shouldn't he have one?

I know everybody will scream but we should consider every option. We obviously don't have anywhere near a championship team.

Clipperfn4lf
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I think a lot has to do with Blake's passive demeanor. He seems to be content playing 2nd fiddle to Cp3, however, at the end of the day the team that wins the championship usually doesn't have their PG their best player. A change I think needs to happen is to 100% turn this team in Blake's team and have Cp3 be 2nd fiddle. I feel when people tell Blake he's the man (when Cp3 got hurt midway through the year) he plays at his best. Only way we make it to the Finals. Just my thoughts.

ekker3
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no ball movement when we're up. lots of blown leads as a result. complacent.

BaadMaster
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What went wrong? The answer: NOTHING. When two great teams clash, someone HAS TO lose. It is that simple. This series was so close it came down to some ref calls. Whether it was fixed or just bad reffing is open to argument. But you have to look at the bigger NBA picture to understand how the system works. It is clear that the Thunder had a five - ten point edge with the officials going in. The question is why? Is there a meritocracy that handicaps the playoffs that we will have to accept before we can win a title?....

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toohipcliptoslip
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The Sterling fiasco would not have affected a true champion.

If the reason we lose is bad calls why bother to play? Do like DTS and dump the good players and make us a soap opera again. If we have to fight through fouls that's what we have to do or give up.

BaadMaster
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If you read what I wrote, I made it clear that the calls and the NBA's skewing the playoffs will reverse in our favor with a) the emergence of a genuine NBA recognized MVP that one of our Big Three must become and b) the expulsion of the Sterlings for once and for all...

These two factors and Clippers will be in the Finals....

Simple as that.

toohipcliptoslip
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Wasn't Blake considered #3 for MVP? Durant isn't the public's idea of the NBA, it's Blake. He's better looking, more articulate and is more exciting to watch for the general public. My best friend knows nothing of basketball but said she wishes her daughter could date Blake. She wouldn't say that about Durant. Maybe he's on his way.

What I was saying is that we have to play through it. If we give up and simply complain about the calls forget it. Those are things you have to ignore. There has to however be something done about the refs although I doubt it. We need the ability of each coach to have one replay every quarter. This would stop a lot of the bogus calls.

You can't blame all of our problems on the refs. Much of it is our doing. There comes a point where we have to point the finger at ourselves as well. You can't blame the refs for CP bricking shots'

The guys you mentioned do get calls, absolutely no doubt but they are also absolutely great except Wade. I do agree that we got a lot of bullcrap calls.

The refs are not incompetent. If there are a lot of bad calls then they're not bad calls they are on purpose but it's not either or, it's and-both. Refs and problems with the team.

toohipcliptoslip
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I figured out what I meant to say. There are things you can control and things you can't. We can't control the refs but we can control the quality of our play. That's what you work on and forget the rest.

Silasie
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Too true. Else you just say "not fair boohoo" and give up.

bballman
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There were stretches of bad play,of course. But couple that with the bad calls at the end,it's tough to win. Every team has bad stretches. Point I am trying to make is that this team is a very good team. It took stupid calls to beat them in 6 games. It may have gone 7. There is no need to completely tear apart this team. If the Thunder somehow win the Chip this year,it's arguable that without that bogus call in game 5,the Clippers could have beaten the eventual champions or at worse gone 7 games. This team is right there guys. Maybe Chris Paul needs to learn how to trip himself or run into the ref and somehow get to the free throw line.

jarca
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CP3's choke job + the refs = series is over

wessleejr
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IMO, CP3 and Blake are not a good tandem, When CP3 was down, DC and Blake give us good game, I been thinking this long time ago, CP3 is the best pg in the league but he needs a partner that match his game.

Blake is a good passer also, and works better DC.

ClippersDA
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Chris Paul had a meltdown, and our defense abandoned us. Not sure where we go from here

ClippersDA
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But in all seriousness, Chris Paul is now going to feel the heat when he has largely been given a pass. He and melo are on the hot seat

clipper*joe
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This is the off-season that Cp3 will be scrutinized the same way Melo was/is. bank on it.

Doc was right in saying that the blown call was a series changing play but it was CP3 who made it possible for that to happen. That will go down as one of the biggest boneheaded plays of all-time. I truly believe if he had just let himself get fouled, we would have gone to the WCF.

ClipperRevival
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What went wrong? Game 5. That game sealed our fate. CP3 choking and the refs killed us.

But the bigger picture, this team is VERY close. I see two holes that I would like to patch up.

1) SF position - Barnes is solid but I think we could upgrade. Someone who can really lock down and give a little more scoring from that position. This league is filled with talented wing players and we could use someone who can really D up.

2) Another big - This is an obvious. Prior to the last few games against OKC, we were getting beaten on the boards consistently, even by Golden State. We just need another reliable big. Davis isn't really a "big". He's a PF.

This was our first year with Doc. I think this team will just get better. No major overhaul is needed. I do feel this team was close. Heck, I think this team might've won it all THIS YEAR had we not been screwed over by the refs in game 5. We can compete with anyone. With a full year together, this team will play more as a unit next year and be more efficient.

I can't wait for next year.

JQuick32
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CP3 either has to be traded or has to basically be an overexpensive role player, because we are going nowhere with a first option that chokes in the playoffs, is easily shut down by bigger defenders, and is consistently outplayed by all other elite players at his position.

For all the talk of "continuity," CP3 will be on the wrong side of 30 very soon. He is what he is at this point. If second-round exits are good enough for the rest of you, so be it, but I'm not interested in that fake "success."

BennyBeFly
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What went wrong is the Clippers got in their own way.

I still think the Clippers are the more talented, better executing team. Unfortunately that's a blessing and a curse because basketball is a very dynamic sport and sometimes X's and O's only get you so far.

The Thunder played very freely and they put up shots that the Clippers might consider a "bad shot". But you have to be able to play the GAME. The Clips need to play more relaxed, they played too consciously at the end of those quarters and games.

The team that perfectly blends the two is the Spurs. They play within the system but if there is a matchup they want to expose, get an open look at a 3, or see a lane to drive, they don't hesitate. There was too much hesitance and e leash was too short for the Clips towards crunch time for the Clips this year. When they made epic comebacks, it's because they just simply PLAYed.

ClipperRevival
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I would rather take my chances on a top 5 player than try to go another route. He will be 30 NEXT YEAR, he isn't 30 yet. So he's still got 3-4 prime years left. That's a pretty big window if you ask me. I think even the idea of trading him is utterly ridiculous.

JQuick32
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I am taking my chances on Blake. I don't even think CP3 is the best point guard in the league anymore, let alone a top 5 player. If he was, he'd step up in the playoffs. Top 5 players and best PG's in the league step up in the playoffs. CP3's most memorable playoff moments: deferring to Jannero Pargo in Game 7 against the Spurs, and the Game 5 meltdown against OKC.

ClippersDA
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I love Chris Paul as a personality but he's paid over 100 million - not to win regular season games. To win when it counts. He blew it. Blake hasn't taken that next step but I see him getting there.

ClipperRevival
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What people don't realize about CP3 is that WITHOUT him, we would've lost handily to the Thunder. Only because he played at such an amazing level up until game 5 were we even in the series. He went one stretch where he had like 36 assists and 2 turnovers. And there were parts of the series where our offense couldn't do nothing and Paul had to bail us out. The guy is that good. We are just so used to his greatness. I know nothing I say will convince some of you about his choke job and I am pissed off about it too but come on, this guy is the real deal and an amazing player. We need him. There is nothing we can get in return that will even come close to what he brings us.

Jordan didn't win his 1st until 28 and won his last title at 35. Kobe didn't win his first title as "the man" until he was 31. Prime years for a basketball player is usually 28-32. So Paul has at least 3 primes years left with a possibility of several more very, very good years left. That's still a pretty large window. This team is close. The last thing you want to do is panic and do an overhaul. We are only going to go as far as Paul and Blake will take us.

SamMays
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This team had the third best record in the league and that's where they finished. It was our first time this deep in the playoffs under a new coach. It takes time and we have discovered there are a few holes that need filling.

As Revival said, Barnes is an outstanding bench player, but is not someone you want starting and playing huge minutes. It's too bad Granger didn't step up and take that position over, but he had an injury and missed games just as he was making progress. Is he the guy? That's something Doc has to figure out A backup big is also vital. Somebody like Adams would be ideal. That will also help our interior defense and rebounding, both areas of weakness that were exposed in the playoffs. A bigger two guard would also be an asset on the defensive end.

Blake has to step up a bit more. He has to become our Karl Malone and I think he will. He's just not quite there yet and not quite confident enough in his jump shot. He'll get there. Chris Paul blew game five down the stretch, but that happens. Isaiah Thomas blew a huge game against the Celtics. People said Lebron wouldn't step up when it really mattered. Same with Magic Johnson in the early 80's when he had a few late game melt downs and Laker fans feared they would never get past the Celtics.

I have never been a Jamal Crawford fan. When he has the ball, the offense stops and everyone watches him play one on five. He's obviously a great player, capable of putting the team on his back for stretches, but he surely shrunk from the moment in this series. He's been a big time player, but has never been a big time winner. His lack of defensive effort, or awareness, may have cost us a game earlier in the series when he failed to step up and guard on a pick and Westbrook hit a three to put us down four with a minute and a half to go. Had he done what he should have, we have the ball down one and it's a very winnable game. His defensive lapses cost us significantly this series and he didn't have the lights out offensive game that would have made up for it.

Some of us are complaining about officiating I don't buy it Sure, there were some bad calls. There always are. The big area we need to improve is mental toughness. We blew game 5 and it had nothing to do with the official's call on the out of bounds play. Had there been no instant replay, no one would have complained about who the ball went off of. The point is, we should have never, never, put ourselves in a position to blow that game. Again, a player failed to show big on a screen, allowing Durant that three. Chris Paul has two turnovers, including that ridiculous attempt to get three shots instead of two. He should know, they will never give him that call. He's tried it a bunch and has never gotten it and never will. Protect the ball and knock down your two foul shots. Game over.

But winning in the playoffs is a learning process. Michael Jordan's Chicago team had to keep pounding on the door until they broke through. Same with I Thomas and the Pistons. Miami didn't win it all that first year with the big three. The Clippers have to keep this nucleus together and add a few pieces to shore up some weaknesses and come back stronger next year.

Get a little better and get tougher mentally. If they don't do something crazy, we're going to be one of the best teams in the league for the next several years.

ClippersDA
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I don't think we should pick up Crawford's option if we have a prayer of still being able to sign free agents. That would free up some cap space

ClippersDA
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I wouldn't want to be Jada Paul right now. Can't imagine he's fun to live with at the moment

ClipperRevival
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All valid points.

But I disagree about the officiating. Yes, we choked and put the refs in a position where they could decide the game BUT it still doesn't change the fact that they absolutely blew that one call. In this day and age, we do have instant replay and that is the reality of the league today just as flopping is. And for the refs to completely blow it tells me something fishy is going on. That was our ball. And if we are awarded that ball, we probably win game 5. And who knows what after that. I mean if our players had choked it away without any controversy, it would be easier to accept that OKC was the better team. But the string of calls that went against us in game 5 is disgusting, especially the out of bounds play. That is one where the ref should not have missed because they were able to review it and it was clear cut.

As for Jamal, I am leaning a little more towards your view, which is something I wouldn't have thought about in the past. The guy is just so hot/cold. If he's going good, he can win games for you. But when he's bad, he's bad. Like playing 1 on 5 and chucking up bad shot after bad shot and providing nothing on D. He is getting up there in age at 34 so if we got rid of him, I wouldn't be pissed. But I still like the guy. He has the rarest skill of all in the NBA which is the ability to create your own shot. And just that alone is worth holding on too imo. I like the guy.

And finally, your point about other greats struggling before winning a ring is well documented and 100% true.

diagoro
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I think the bad/biased reffing has had the greatest impact on Blake. It feels like his passivity is a result of non-fouls, and a fear of being too aggressive. Add to that all the dumb touch-fouls (tapping Thompson twice when taking a three during the GSW series), and he's going to be in foul trouble. he ends up second guessing every possession.

I like Reddick as well, but he is a major defensive liability. I also think his game is a bit one dimensional as a shooter. having a two that could break down the defensive (aside from what CP does) would makes us a more complete team.

The biggest difference I see between the first and second round was DJ. OKC's length almost completely contained him. I haven't seen the stats, but I would guess that there's a major difference between the two rounds. he basically disappeared for long periods of time. And as much as I love his defensive focus, his lack of a post up game still hurts us, especially when Blake is on the bench or being passive around the perimeter.

Oh yeah...and that bench. JC and DC have been great, and even Davis has been solid since here. But the rest leave me wondering. I really miss the amazing bench we had two years ago!

My greatest fear is the DTS issue, and how easily he goes away....if at all. I've been a fan for what feels like forever. But if DTS stays, I won't support his product, or put money in his pocket. I'm already holding back on buying a jersey for a friend, as I don't want to hand him extra profits.

clipnasty
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Agree 100%. I was telling my friends last night Blake needs to become the alpha male. He gets too passive. I do not know if it is confidence or he is just too "nice," but in the end I think it comes down to him stepping up as the MAN.

ClippersDA
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Redick should only start next season If we upgrade at the 3. But to be honest, the only player I really blame is Chris Paul. I don't believe in him anymore and don't think having him gives us an advantage against equally or more talented teams.

clippermitch
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I think you are being overly critical of CP3. The dude played both ends of the court relentlessly. He doesn't have the luxury like Steph Curry and other PGs who can just relax on Defense. He exerted way too much energy running around guarding Westbrook and at times Durant. By the end of the game, he was gassed and led to terrible decisions. Tired legs basically took out his mid-range jumper that he almost always makes. It also took away his ability to finish at the rim.

Redick and Crawford are great but they suck on defense. As much as I hated seeing Collison on the floor, he gave CP a chance to take a breather. Collison is not the greatest defender but he at least tries.

Look at the end of games. Westbrook doesn't defend CP. Either Reggie Jackson or Sefolosha does so Westbrook can focus on offense.

This coming draft, the Clips need an elite perimeter defender.

Also, regarding the topic...what went wrong this year is the front office didn't utilize the final roster spot to sign wing that can defend a PG/SG/SF. Doc didn't play Willie or Reggie and Granger barely played. You don't think someone like Donte Jones could have helped?

Icecoldclipper
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Crawford got us back into game 5 with his 4 point plays and helped pushed us further ahead during earlier runs. Think the passive mindset of Paul and Griffin hurts us because they look for others in grind it out moments. Look at most of the game Paul (Paul added to his shots by chucking late) and Griffin had almost the same amount of shots as Redick and Barnes that just can't happen. When OKC was getting closer we needed Blake face up attacks and Chris Paul off picks getting to the bucket or freethrow jumpers.

ClipperRevival
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Had the Clips won this series, Paul's performance in this series would've been memorable and been talked about for a while. From his 3 points shooting in game 1 to his unheard of turnover/assist ratio to his D on Durant. He was absolutely magnificent sans the later part of game 5. It's just a shame that the last 50 seconds of game 5 will define him when people talk about this series. He was brilliant besides those 50 seconds. He really had to exert himself tremendously on both ends of the court, playing great defense on both Curry and Westbrook.

Icecoldclipper
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Paul never truly got a grip on slowing Westbrook outside of the occasional steal and never consistently pressed him into jumpers. Westbrook had an elite series and us doubling or getting beat led to a lot of Griffin, Jordan, and Davis weakside fouls. On offense game one was his best scoring game (Game 6 was a lot of late game chucking that went in after we had no chance) but he did assist well this series.

clippersfan85
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This is partially what went wrong.

clippermitch
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Westbrook is a shooting guard. His game is attacking the basket. He has 3-4" on CP and is a lot bigger and more athletic. He did what he could. Westbrook averaged almost 5 turnovers a game.

ClipperRevival
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A lot of the times when Westbrook got free was off the P&R. And that becomes team defense. For the most part, I thought Paul did a great job of keeping WB in front of him in the perimeter when they were isolated. WB didn't have a lot of blow bys on Paul on iso IIRC. Most of WB's damage was off the P&R, where the help defender was supposed to help. I don't think our bigs did that good a job on WB to be honest. WB is a special talent, one of the most athletically gifted athletes to every play the game, so we shouldn't hang our heads too much because he actually played up to his potential for once.

ClippersDA
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I'm touched and saddened to hear how emotional the players were and are. Bumpy times ahead

diagoro
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I still think we need a proper bench. Paul was shaky at the end of a few games due to the minutes he's playing. Other times we've shown weaknesses at spots due to foul trouble. We just don't have the kind of bench that's been supplying either points or defense, aside from some good stretches from Crawford and Davis. It plays right into the 'strategy' of calling non-fouls.

ClipperDB
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this has a lot to do with Jamal going one-on-one. Often the first stringers get a lead and when 2nd stringers come in, Jamal included, everyone just watches Jamal.

Icecoldclipper
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Jamal is a lot of times with the starting unit and Paul/Griffin let him take his guy one on one. It's not on Crawford those guys and Doc want him to be aggressive he has won us more games than he has lost us with his shooting. It shouldn't be that way in big games or when he is cold at some point I guess we got to comfortable with it.

tense2
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Keep the core, but bring in 2 way players at the SG and SF position. Get average to above average back up bigs. Another year in Doc's coaching system will also help.

Don't panic. Very Happy

bballman
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My choices are Jordan Hill and Shawn Marion.

BaadMaster
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That's absurd. CP3 is a great player. He locked down KD during the comeback, he orchestrated a team that, by all rights, should have beat The Chosen One and his band of refs. Sometimes YOU JUST LOSE. Someone has to. Especially when the refs take your sidekick, BG, out of his game by calling ticky-tack fouls that they never call on LeBron, the other "power player."

The bigger worry is not the team. Clippers will grow just as the Heat did and the Lakers before them. The worry is if DTS drags this on and on. Then you have problems.

Other than that, great season!!! And great future!!!

bebe
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I read comments and post my opinions daily. I've only been posting for a month but never have I read such negative comments about the Clippers. Nobody wanted to trade CP3 when he took over in the 4th quarter and won games. No one wanted to trade JC when he was hitting those 3's. This was DJ's best season and I can see him getting better. I have been a Clipper fan for over 20 years and this was their best year. If you're a true fan you roll with the punches and don't disc them because they lost. I believe you're upset and don't know how to react in a positive way. Relax, take a deep breath and get ready for the next round. Now let's all say together. Go CLIPPERS!!!!!!!!!

Your Nevada Fans

Kevlawn
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1 through 5, I think the Clippers are the 2nd best starting lineup in the NBA only behind the Wizards. I think y'all need a couple back up bigs, a defensive stopper, and Doc needs to use them during the season to create some consistency. You have the #1 pg and pf in the league, a top 5 center and a great shooter in Redick. I'm not sold on Barnes but he gives it his all and would be a great back up. I actually think your future is brighter than OKC's and everyone else's in the West with Portland a close 2nd. Good luck in the future and if my Thunder tank in yrs to come, then I will be cheering the Clips on. I'm a big Griffin fan and he will always be one the greatest Sooners of all time. I love CP3's game and think he is one of the greatest pg's of all time. Westbrook isn't even close to being as good as Paul. Westbrook is too erratic for me. What good is 10 assists when he has 5 turnovers? His shot is mostly luck and there is a reason I call him Westbrick. Athletically, he is unmatched but he isn't a true pg to me. You also have a great coach in Doc Rivers and I wish he was OKC's coach. Y'all's future is so bright if the ownership problems can be fixed.

toohipcliptoslip
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Agree 100%. I was telling my friends last night Blake needs to become the alpha male. He gets too passive. I do not know if it is confidence or he is just too "nice," but in the end I think it comes down to him stepping up as the MAN.
Remember the Stockton-Malone twins? Stockton wasn't only a passer par excellence but like Nash he could shoot lights out. Oscar and Kareem, I don't think Oscar took second fiddle he made Kareem better. CP3 hasn't shown the ability to make Blake better. It may be tho....

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toohipcliptoslip
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It doesn't have a lot to do with passivity, it's skill set. When he was played by the likes of Lee who is not physical BG makes him look like ham on rye but a physical player like Ibaka who bodies him up and gives him no space bothers him. He has to learn how to combat this. Footwork!

JQuick32
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Westbrook annoys me, but the criticism he takes is unfair. He's really impressed me in the playoffs so far aside from his hypocritical flopping, whereas the so-called "MVP" has played well below his standards with zero criticism at all. He's not a traditional point guard, but after watching another second-round exit from CP3, I'm beginning to feel that traditional PG's are overrated and that speed, athleticism and scoring are more valuable at the position now.

JQuick32
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He WAS the alpha you're describing when CP3 was out. Honestly, it all comes back to CP3 being the problem. CP3 dominating the ball makes Blake passive and wastes his unique skillset that includes passing and handles.

ClippersDA
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Yep. Pretty much!

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