FRIDAY FIVE: PRESEASON OPENER
Even with one game this week, the Clippers had plenty of highlights. DeAndre Jordan, who led all scorers with 16 points, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin played fewer than 24 minutes each in the team’s 89-81 win in Portland. However, at least a dozen plays stood out as potentially “Friday Five” worthy. Brandon Davies scored his first points as a professional on an alley-oop from Maalik Wayns, which would have likely made the cut if it were instead called “Friday Six.” There were a couple of dunks by Willie Green and a steal by Paul that were also difficult omissions.
Here is the first-ever Friday Five, 2013-14 highlight edition:
5. Fake screen, Paul alley-oop to Jordan: Rarely would a fast-break alley-oop from Paul to Jordan be this low on the list, but it goes to show how much there was to choose from in Rose City. Paul pushes the ball up court and Jordan is a few steps ahead of him. Jordan slows down, feigns that he’s going to set a pick for Paul and bolts towards the front of the rim. Paul reads it and lofts the pass high enough for only Jordan to reach. You can imagine what happens next.
4. And they say he always goes right: In the third quarter, the Clippers pulled away from Portland with Paul on the offensive attack. He scored 11 points and went to the foul line eight times (making seven). The best play from his dynamic stretch came in semi-transition where he pulled the defense to the strong side, dribbled back towards the center of the lane, used a hesitation dribble to freeze his man and finished with a left-handed layup in traffic. #Riquickulous.
3. “Blocked by Jordan:” Thomas Robinson was in trouble from the beginning. The second-year forward faced up on Griffin, tried to spin baseline, got Griffin in the air and as he turned back towards the rim, Jordan pounced on him, blocking the shot with a sidearm swat. Will Barton retrieved the ball and missed a wild 3-pointer against the shot clock. The play was one of four blocks in 21 minutes for Jordan was the most emphatic of the bunch.
2. Running the floor for more: Jared Dudley is known as the kind of player who does the little things. He showed why in his first game with the Clippers. On this play he makes a steal, goes to the seat of his pants to find Green. He quickly turns up court and lobs ahead to Jordan for a two-handed dunk. Of Jordan’s three alley-oops on the night, including passes from Paul and Griffin, the one from Green was the best.
1. In over your head: Dudley played a secondary role in play No. 2, but made an unbelievable pass in play No. 1. With his second steal of the Clippers’ 35-point second quarter, he tips away Robinson’s pass to Nicolas Batum and has his back to the Clippers’ basket when winds up with the ball. He flings the ball over his head, blindly, to Griffin, who is probably the best possible target to find on a breakaway. Griffin tracks down the pass and does the rest, finishing with a right-handed dunk.