It's an immutable rule, one that is taught in preschool and that every person knows — if you let Randy Foye hit eight 3-pointers in 15 tries against you in an NBA game, you are going to lose that game. Well, somehow Rick Carlisle and the Dallas Mavericks forgot that golden rule on Monday night, and Foye made them pay.
The former first-round pick out of Villanova had his best game of the season, scoring 28 points on 19 shots — including an 8-of-15 mark from distance, tying a franchise record for 3-pointers set by Quentin Richardson in February 2004 — in 35 minutes to lead the Los Angeles Clippers past the defending champion Mavs in Dallas. The 94-75 road victory moved the Clips to within a game of the Los Angeles Lakers for the top spot in the Pacific Division ahead of the teams' next meeting at Staples Center on Wednesday night. The teams split their first two matchups of the season.
The win was also the Clippers' sixth in a row, marking the first time since March 1982 that the famously feckless franchise has won six straight. In honor of this historic occasion, I demand that the Clippers' game operations team only play "I Love Rock and Roll" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the No. 1 song in the country during L.A.'s last sextuple, when they take on the Lakers on Wednesday night. Seems like a pretty rocking good luck charm.
Hit the jump for more on Monday's Clips-Mavs tilt, including some context for Foye's big night and a couple of monster Blake Griffin dunks thanks to our friends at the Yahoo! Sports Minute.
Inconsistent and often punchless play at the off-guard spot has hampered the Clips at times since Chauncey Billups' season-ending injury. Even before being sidelined with a sprained left big toe, Mo Williams had tapered off in his key combo guard role after a strong first half, and Foye's struggles to produce in the final year of his contract led L.A. to swing a three-team deal at the trade deadline to import Washington Wizards guard Nick Young for an injection of offense.
Young hasn't exactly been a world-beater since the deal, though, shooting just 38.2 percent from the floor and 35.6 percent from long range in 10 games with the Clips. Vinny Del Negro's team has to get more bang for its buck at the two if it wants to be a postseason threat. On Monday night, Foye delivered.
The 8-of-15 night from beyond the arc — the most 3-pointers Foye has either taken or made in a single game in his NBA career — improved his 3-point mark for the year by a full percentage point, from 36.2 percent on Monday morning to 37.2 percent (which would be a new career high for the six-year vet) by day's end. It made him the seventh player to hit at least eight 3-pointers in a game this season, matching outings by Anthony Morrow, Deron Williams and Ryan Anderson, and coming up one shy of nine-3 nights turned in by Ben Gordon, Nicolas Batum and Jason Richardson. (Like Foye, the Portland Trail Blazers' Batum also took a season-high 15 long-range attempts, hitting nine en route to scoring 33 points in 25 minutes in a February win over the Denver Nuggets.)
Monday's game was the fifth this season in which Foye has taken at least 10 3-pointers in a game; all five have come since Valentine's Day, so dude's been feeling pretty confident in his stroke lately. He's not alone — All-Star point guard Chris Paul told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times that the rest of the Clippers have "got a lot of confidence in [Foye]," whom Paul said "has been shooting the ball great lately." Foye's connecting at a 39.7 percent clip from 3-point land over his last 10 games and has hit 40.6 percent of his triples since the All-Star break, a marked improvement from his 36.2 percent career average that, if it held, would make Foye the team's most accurate 3-point shooter.
D.J. Foster of Clipperblog noted the shift of Foye's game from mid-range to long-range — the off-guard's attempting less shots between 16 and 23 feet, and more shots from beyond the arc, than he has in his career, according to Hoopdata — as evidence of a progression in line with how the rest of the team has grown thanks to CP3's presence:
Foye is simply reaping the benefits of playing next to Paul by spotting up and getting his feet set on every jumper. He won't shoot like this every night, but the Clippers are a tough out when Foye gets hot.
Especially when, as you can see up top in the video of Foye's big night, the opponent doesn't really do much in the way of defending him.
Credit goes to Foye for taking and making shots, but as Dallas forward Shawn Marion told Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the champs didn't exactly make life difficult for the Clips' guard:
"I think when a guy goes out there and gets three or four consecutive wide-open shots in the same spot, something is wrong," Marion said of Foye. "And you don't pick up on that after the first or second shot, and he gets to the third and fourth shots something is wrong.
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle took the blame for that "something" after the game, but he did it in that "it's not you, it's me" type of way that makes it very clear that it is actually you and not me. From Stephen Hawkins of The Associated Press:
"I was waiting for somebody to knock [Foye] down, do something. We just didn't do it, and really that's on me," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "If we're not aware and if we're not going to be physical with a guy that gets it's going like that then it's on the head coach."
Whether the blame falls on Carlisle or his players, finding a solution to that sort of dodgy play is critical for the Mavs, who have played sub-.500 ball since the All-Star break, now find themselves in sixth place in the scrap-and-claw Western Conference playoff picture, and face the league's seventh-toughest schedule down the stretch.
One pro tip: Don't let guys like Randy Foye hit eight 3-pointers in 15 tries against you anymore. That'll help the Mavs' chances of winning considerably.
Video courtesy of our friends at the National Basketball Association.
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