Friday, January 28, 2022

Eric Bledsoe leads the Clippers to defeat the Pistons

The opening minutes of the Clippers 107–96 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday showed that one performance coach, Tyrone Liu, was eagerly waiting to witness it, and one squad he never expected.

Eric Bledsoe introduced himself again in an attack in which he became largely invisible.

Isaiah Hartenstein and Serge Ibaka then helped introduce the season’s first two-center squad.

It was only after the second possession that Clippers Bledsoe, standing in the corner, made his first three-pointer in four games. After one possession, he scored several three-pointers for the first time in six games.

Overall, Bledsoe scored 11 points in three minutes, making three threes, although he has only hit 25% of those shots this season, and triggered a disparity that persisted for most of the time. the next two hours, despite the fact that two of the Clippers’ top scorers, Paul George (12 points) and Reggie Jackson (21 points), totaled 13 of 38 shots and four of 19 three-pointers.

The Clippers (11-8) were leading with 29 points and at least 20 in all but five minutes of the second half, when the Pistons’ 21-8 forced Liu to play his starters deeper in the fourth quarter than he had. intended.

Bledsoe finished with 15 points on six-of-nine shots, three rebounds and three assists against the Pistons, averaging 3.8 points, 4.5 shots and 33% shooting accuracy in his last four games. Liu said before the tip that it was “completely on me” to put Bledsoe in better positions so he could be more aggressive, but the guard said his recent non-intervention was not the coach’s fault.

“I have to work better when I’m free, throw the ball when I’m open, be aggressive when I go to the hole, and play right,” he said.

Bledsoe lacked consistency this season, with 40% overall and 25% on 3s, well below his career averages.

“This is a long season with ups and downs,” he said. “You will have a rock [times] especially, as I said, especially coming to a team where the guys are already entrenched in their roles and so on. But I think I am very good at helping to influence the game in various ways. “

Looking for a way to get past the Clippers after losing three times in four games, Liu found a different approach. Just 19 days earlier, he couldn’t stop laughing when asked about Ibaki and Hartenstein’s potential as a center and powerful hitter, saying he hoped not to play them together. When he finished chuckling, he explained that Ibaka would need to learn how to play powerful striker in their sets while he was still re-learning how to play in the center.

However, Pistons coach Dwayne Casey, who has frequently played alongside Ibaku and Jonas Valanchunas in Toronto, said he believed there was “no limit” to using Ibaki as a strong striker in such a pair.

“I think Serge can play with anyone,” Casey said. “His skill set is expressed in four.”

Liu told his centers during the shootout around the sharing plan. The decision surprised Ibaku given that he hadn’t played ahead for four years. And yet there was little choice but acceptance.

“I just want to be on the set,” Ibaka said. “Even if I had to play in one, I would play in it. I don’t think it will be like that, but do you understand what I mean? I just want to be on the court, so I’ll do whatever it takes. I really don’t have much choice right now. ”

Ibaka, a 35% professional three-point shooter, was usually positioned behind the three-point line for distance, allowing Hartenstein to run between paint and perimeter alignment screens and roll to the rim. But in one possession, they created a memorable connection between highs and lows when Hartenstein found Ibaku throwing the ball for a pass that led to a dunk.

Ibaka played a season record of 19 minutes with nine points, two rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Hartenstein had 10 points, five rebounds and three assists

Hartenstein did nothing to justify being removed from the rotation, while Ibaka was in the G-League building his fitness. Allocating a few minutes to each of the individual squads did not help anyone: Liu described the correlation between Hartenstein’s diminished role in recent games and defenseman Luke Kennard’s less good looks.

Kennard scored eight points on seven rebounds and three assists, but made only two of 10 shots. Terence Mann posted his fifth career double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds).

“Have spoken to my coaches over the last couple of days. [and] The way Isaiah played for us was great, and giving Serge more minutes and giving him more time on the court, so I wanted to take a look at that, ”Liu said. “I thought they did a good job.”

Despite all the intrigue created by the two-center squad, he lost three points in total. Meanwhile, Ivica Zubac is further entrenched in the starting lineup with 10 points and 13 rebounds – the Clippers are now 6-0 with a double-double – and his pick-and-roll chemistry with George.

As he shot, he repeatedly caught George’s pocket passes near the free-throw line and used his eyesight to spray the passes to open up to teammates across the court. This left Detroit’s defenders in purgatory when they had to choose between shading towards the paint to stop his shots, or staying close to Clippers shooters placed in every corner.

Nation World News Desk
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