PLAYA VISTA, Calif. – The first week of the Clippers’ regular season has concluded, which means plenty of noteworthy plays to sift through.
Chris Paul’s dribbling, DeAndre Jordan’s finishing, Blake Griffin’s consistently elite performances, Jamal Crawford’s crossovers and some nifty Lance Stephenson passes were all on display. But with so many plays to choose from, only a few could find their way to the regular season’s first top five.
With it being the first week of the year and a 3-0 start, an honorable mention also had to be included.
Honorable Mention) Stephenson soars up
Most of Stephenson’s noteworthy plays came via the pass in his first week with the team, but he also showed what he’s capable of along the baseline with this finish. Paul finds Stephenson in the corner, and a subtle pump fake allows enough room between Stephenson and the defender for the forward to drive baseline and rise up for the one-handed dunk.
5) Griffin does it all
With at least 26 points and eight rebounds in each of his first three games, Griffin had to find his way to the top five at some point. Here, with Raymond Felton and Dirk Nowitzki operating out of the pick-and-roll, Griffin comes out on Felton for the double team and strips the Mavericks guard. No one was going to catch Griffin down the court, as he finishes with the slam.
4) Jordan puts ribbon on win
The Kings were resilient in both of their early-season contests against the Clippers, but both times, the Clippers managed to put Sacramento away late. In the opener, this pick-and-roll between Paul and Jordan leading to a Jordan alley-oop finish with time ticking down in the fourth quarter helped lead to that positive outcome.
3) Stephenson finds Jordan in the lane
Rajon Rondo has his eyes on Chris Paul, giving Lance Stephenson room at the top of key to take Paul’s pass and drive into the lane. The second he makes a fancy pass to Jordan, Stephenson knew what the result would be.
2) Paul’s “yo-yo” dribble
It’s been called the in-and-out dribble and the “yo-yo” dribble. Call it whatever you want, but Paul’s unique move handling the ball keeps his defenders guessing. Here, it keeps Dwight Powell flat-footed, allowing Paul to drive around him into the lane for the one-handed reverse layup.
1) Hot potato
This was a clinic in ball movement against the Kings. Griffin brings the ball up the floor and finds Jordan as he starts to lose his dribble. Then Jordan gets it to J.J. Redick, who immediately finds Stephenson, who draws in three Kings defenders as he finds Jordan for the wide-open slam dunk.