Clippers-Hornets in Shanghai: 5 key things to look out for

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May 4, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (11) dribbles against the Houston Rockets in the second half in game one of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Los Angeles Clippers won 117 to 101. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Can Stephenson and Crawford coexist?

To continue from the matter of Stephenson’s decision making, the issue of how he and Crawford can coexist in the Clippers’ second unit is a crucial one. They both have the potential to provide serious offensive energy and can create something out of nothing, but whether or not that can ever happen with them both on the floor at the same time is the problem.

On paper, they make their roster look loaded. They’re two talented shooting guards that give the Clippers a combination of heat-check shooting, ball handling, creativity, and defense. Their various skills they provide give Doc far more depth and versatility than he’s had in L.A. before, and they shouldn’t be underrated this early on.

However, when considering the fact that have a tendency to dominate the ball on each possession, it becomes increasingly apparent that it’s going to take some time before they can comfortably play together.

In their first game against the Hornets, their performance was somewhat more efficient. They combined for 8-of-20 shooting and only two turnovers. It’s an improvement from their second preseason game together in a 93-73 loss to the Toronto Raptors, where they shot a collective 2-of-11 with eight turnovers. That contributed to the Clippers’ bench committing 18 total turnovers in the game, as they also shot too many long twos, focussed on controlling the ball rather than cutting or creating space, and generally trying to do too much.

Growing into controlled roles is the key for Stephenson and Crawford at this stage. When one is handling the ball, the other needs to focus on keeping the offense moving, rather than just crowding one side of the floor as they wait for the ball. If they can start playing off each other instead of trying to do too much the second they get the ball, then maybe they can coexist effectively in Los Angeles.

Next: Can the bench start cutting down on turnovers?