The Los Angeles Clippers were considered by many to be the favorites to win the NBA championship in 2020. Ultimately, they ran into a very resilient Denver Nuggets squad and couldn’t get it done. After the fact both the team’s stars and front office seemed to agree that the talent to a win a title was there, but that the pieces simply didn’t come together the way they needed to.
This year, the Clippers aren’t taking any chances. They plan to use every possible advantage at their disposal to get to the finish line – including some pretty unorthodox ones.
In a recent interview with Euro Hoops, Clippers forward Nicolas Batum admitted that he often speaks French with teammate Serge Ibaka to confuse opponents during games.
“I think it was in Phoenix, we were in a free-throw situation and we were talking in French,” Batum said.
“Jae Crowder looked at us like ‘it should be illegal to do that.’”
What started out as a joke in the preseason turned into a legitimate strategy.
“Every game,” Batum replied, when asked how often he and Ibaka did this. “Literally every game we did that.”
Apparently it’s paying real dividends for the duo on the defensive end.
“We use that as an advantage sometimes,” Batum continued.
“We can say stuff people can’t understand when we’re talking about defense. We’re still doing it for sure.”
Who could’ve predicted that having a threesome with your brother could end so poorly. https://t.co/wifkDzyL6x
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 14, 2021
Speaking a different language to confuse the opposing offense may sound unconventional, but it seems to be working out well for all parties involved. The Clippers are 8-4 on the year so far – good for second place in the Western Conference behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
Batum is currently in the midst of his best season since 2017, averaging 10.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 29 minute of action per game. Ibaka, meanwhile, is averaging 12.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and one broken face in 25 minutes of action per game.
It’s an open secret at this point that Ibaka left the Toronto Raptors due to Marc Gasol resentment, but clearly the decision has worked out pretty well for him.