CLIPPERS LOOK TO COUNTER BROOKLYN’S SIZE WITH SPEED
PLAYA VISTA – The Nets average height is only one inch more than the Clippers, but the players that are typically on the floor make up one of the biggest starting units in the league.
If Deron Williams, who sustained a sprained left ankle Friday night in Phoenix, plays, he’s Brooklyn’s smallest player at 6-foot-3. If he’s out, former Clipper Shaun Livingston would likely start and make them even bigger (6-foot-7).
“They’re huge,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “They’re the biggest team in the league when you look at it all the down to guard. It will create some unbelievable matchups, but we’re fast. So, we want to create matchups with our speed.”
At shoot-around, Jamal Crawford talked about the best way to combat Brooklyn’s clear size advantage.
“Defensively, I think we just have to help each other out,” Crawford said. “Obviously, the way [Nets head coach] Jason Kidd was kind of brought up was to take advantage of mismatches. And they’re big at every position, so they post guys up one through five. With that, you have to help each other scramble and speed the game up a little bit.”
The Clippers are the highest scoring team in the league and are seventh in pace (101.0). Kidd originally wanted to run a faster paced offense in Brooklyn as well, but that has not been the case so far. The Nets are a middle of the pack team in terms of pace and average just 11 fast-break points per game. That’s why Rivers is adamant that the Clippers’ must impact the game with their speed.
“We’re not going to grow, that’s a fact,” Rivers said. “We’re just going to have to play with our speed. We can do that. We did that the other night. We did that in the Houston game when they had both bigs on the floor. The Minnesota game, when they had two bigs on the floor. The difference with Brooklyn is that they’re big at every position. They’re not just big at the four and five.”
Through eight games, the Nets posted up 11 percent of the time, according to Synergy Sports. But they are one of only eight teams so far this season scoring at least 0.90 points per post possession. They have 95 post possessions that have led to 93 points. The Clippers have the second best rate in points per possession in the post behind Miami.
“They’ll post us one through five,” Rivers said. “The good part is we know they’re going to post us and we know they’re going to post us at every position. We just have to be ready to deal with it.”
He said they have to limit Brooklyn’s second-shot opportunities in order to do that.
“If we can rebound, the game keeps its pace,” Rivers said. “That’s the biggest part about playing big teams. If you can get them one and done, then we can create the pace.”