Over the past two seasons, the Clippers have made great use of Blake Griffin’s underrated passing skills. (Last year he averaged a career high 5.4 apg). Keep the floor spread by leveraging their wings’ shooting ability from three. Chris Paul’s gift with the basketball in pick-and-rolls. Add DeAndre Jordan’s athleticism to the mix and this creates quite possibly the hardest High-Low action to stop.
High-Low action is when the ball the is moved from the high post position, the area from the top of the key to the free throw line to a player in the low post, the area just around the rim. This action is usually the best way to get a post player in a scoring position.
The key to the action is being able to spread the floor. Having excellent shooters on the floor makes it difficult for defenses to clog passing and driving lanes. In addition this makes it very challenging to double team a low post player.
The Clippers typically get into this action through pick-and-rolls. The combination of Paul commanding the attention of at least 2 defenders in the pick-and-roll, the floor spread with deadly shooters making it difficult to help off of them, Griffin’s talent to stop on a dime to make a great pass and of course Jordan’s limitless vertical has given the Clippers a very hard to stop High-Low action that every team will have to work on to stop. Here is a great example of this action ran to perfection.
The Clippers do a great job of keeping the floor spaced with deadly shooters like Redick and Barnes. As Griffin sets the high pick, Barnes is already moving to the free throw line extended on the strong side (the side the ball is coming to). This forces his defender, in this case Westbrook to come up with him and taking him out of help position. At the same time Redick runs the baseline to the weakside corner (the corner farthest away from the ball), which spreads the floor even more.
In addition to their sharp shooting, Griffin’s jumper has improved to the point that defenders either have to step up to close out on his shot or take the driving lane away. As the defender takes that lane away, it leaves Jordan wide open for the dunk.
As Paul comes off the pick-and-roll, Griffin’s defender has to step up and stop the ball until his teammate gets back in front of the ball again. Griffin commits to a short roll to the free throw line and gets a pocket pass that only the great ones like Paul can throw.
Once Griffin catches the pass, he has two reads to make very quickly. First he reads what Jordan’s defender intends to do. If he doesn’t step up, Griffin has an easy jumper at the free throw line maybe even a straight line drive to the rim.
Griffin’s second read is Durant, watching to see if he follows Redick into the corner or pinches in on Jordan. In this case Durant is stuck in no man’s land as he doesn’t follow Redick into the corner and doesn’t put a body on Jordan. Griffin can either pass to Redick in the corner for a wide-open 3 or throw the lob. Easy choice for Griffin, they are called Lob City for a reason.
The next video shows the Clippers getting into the action vs. the Rockets. This time the pick comes from the sideline that opens the floor for Griffin to drive the lane and draw Howard away from Jordan, easy two points again.
With Redick lifted to the free throw line extended on the weakside, his defender has only two choices to either leave Redick a career 40% three-point shooter open to crack down on Jordan or stay with Redick and leave Howard on an island.
For the Clippers their spacing allows this action to lead to highlight dunks for Jordan but as teams start to take that away, it will create open shots for their deadeye shooters. As long as they continue to maintain this kind of spacing, the Clippers High-Low action is going to be nearly unstoppable.