Beat writers bleak on Syracuse’s chances on Saturday against No. 18 Clemson

first_img Published on March 2, 2018 at 5:23 pm Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse (18-12, 7-10 Atlantic Coast), losers of three-straight, hosts No. 18 Clemson (22-7, 11-6) on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. On the Orange’s Senior Day, it’ll have perhaps its last chance for a resume-building win as SU looks to sneak its way off the bubble. Beat writers Sam Fortier, Tomer Langer and Matthew Gutierrez break down the matchup and make their picks.See what they think below.Matthew Gutierrez (24-6)Role ReversalClemson 68, Syracuse 59A win over No. 18 Clemson would be Syracuse’s first win against a ranked opponent all season. By many accounts, that’s a must for admission into the NCAA Tournament. But unless the SU offense erupts against an excellent Clemson team, the NIT appears to be Syracuse’s home for the second-straight year. The Tigers are as balanced as any team in the conference, and they go up against a sliding SU team that has lost four of five. Besides, head coach Jim Boeheim said Wednesday that only three players on his team can score at the moment. That’s not a recipe to beat a top-20 team. While Syracuse stunned Clemson on the gridiron, the football school should have no problem beating the basketball school on Saturday.Sam Fortier (21-9)Stick a fork in ’emClemson 59, Syracuse 51AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse has made it to the finish line on fumes and waiting there is Clemson, the 5th-ranked defensive team in the country, according to KenPom.com. If the Tigers defense packs it in and makes it difficult on the Orange to one-on-one drive as other teams have, Syracuse’s offense won’t be able to score enough to win. It’s as simple as that, because Syracuse in general has recently not received either the stellar performances from key contributors or the necessary supplemental scoring to make a difference. A win here is crucial for Syracuse to have any shot at hanging around on the bubble, but it seems improbable at least.Tomer Langer (21-9)The endClemson 72, Syracuse 67Coming into the season, there was a thought that Syracuse would struggle. Four starters from last year were gone and the Orange was relying on a lot of freshman. An 11-2 nonconference start injected some life into the Orange, despite graduate transfer Geno Thorpe leaving unexpectedly early on in the season. But the Orange — partially because of injuries, partially because of a true talent deficiency — couldn’t keep pace in the ACC. Syracuse has come out flat both against Duke and Boston College, and SU’s Tournament hopes come to a complete stop with the sixth home loss of the year. Commentslast_img read more

Chris Paul becomes Clippers’ all-time assists leader

first_img“It’s cool, definitely cool, first of all, because Randy Smith is first in everything in Clipper history books,” Paul said after the game. “Anytime your name will last after you, it’s pretty cool.”Paul, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, is almost synonymous with the statistic awarded to the player who sets up his teammate for a basket.“It’s awesome. That’s what he is,” Rivers said. “He’s a true point guard, one of the last in the league. It’s just amazing to watch him play basketball. He’s got all those assists, and I still yell at him about shooting more. But, he pretty much knows what he’s doing, and he’s been great at it.”Paul’s teammates said the recognition mirrors his impact on offense, which comes from calling the right play and then delivering the right pass.Paul is 11th all-time in the NBA with 7,730 assists. MEMPHIS >> Chris Paul found J.J. Redick on the right wing just as he curled. Redick drove into the paint off a few dribbles and scored a very important two points in the Clippers’ 99-88 win Friday night.They didn’t matter much in the outcome, but that assist put Paul’s name atop the team’s record books.With 11 assists against the Grizzlies, Paul now has 3,502 in his six seasons with the Clippers — more than anyone ever to wear a uniform in the franchise’s history. Randy Smith was the previous record holder with 3,498. His ascent to the Clippers’ all-time assist throne comes days after Blake Griffin moved into fourth on the franchise’s all-time scoring list.“It’s not our goal to come and rack up individual accolades. But, it’s cool to have a group of guys that’s been here long enough to see guys go up and be the leader of assists for the franchise and things like that,” Griffin said. “It’s not our overall goal or end all, but it’s cool.”Still rivals?Every seat wasn’t filled for the opening tip. Every Clipper introduced wasn’t mercilessly booed. Every Rivers mannerism wasn’t wildly mocked.While it didn’t look exactly like the Clippers-Grizzlies games of years past, these two teams haven’t forgotten. But, the style of play on the court? That maybe has softened.“I’m not as dramatic when it comes to this Clippers (rivalry) stuff,” Paul said.While there weren’t any shoving or even any shouting matches, the people in the stands still might be holding a grudge.During one first-half timeout, the scoreboard debuted the “Smile if you hate the Clippers cam.” Everyone the camera found smiled.Later in the first half, the Memphis Grizzlies mascot threw a chocolate cake in the face of “fan” wearing a Clippers’ shirt.“You can see it whenever we play them, it seems like there’s a little more to the game,” Rivers said. “I think that’s good. Players have memories.”Neither Rivers nor new Memphis coach David Fizdale were on the sidelines when the Clippers-Grizzlies friction was born in Paul’s first year with the team. The two teams played 13 times over consecutive postseasons, making it a bonafide rivalry.“I was aware of it long before I ever got here,” Fizdale said. “If you’re a basketball enthusiast or you watch anything in the NBA, you know that when Memphis and L.A. come together, it’s going to be a physical, tough, hard-played game. These teams have had a lot of battles in the past.”Pierce activeFor the first time this season, Paul Pierce was healthy and available to play.Pierce had been out since prior to the final preseason game, when he injured his ankle after stepping on a sideline reporter’s foot.Pierce didn’t appear in Friday’s game.With Pierce active, rookie Diamond Stone didn’t dress.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more