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The Clippers returned to Staples Center for the first time since January 2nd Saturday night coming off a victory over the Wolves on Wednesday. The home court advantage, and rare road win on Wednesday didn’t produce enough momentum for the Clips tonight, as they fell to the Cavaliers 104-92. The crowd was silenced in the third quarter when the wheels fell off the metaphorical wagon for the Clips after a series of turnovers, and detrimental fouls. The Cavaliers scored a whopping 22 points off 14 Clipper turnovers and shot 69% from the free throw line.
Chris Kaman returned tonight after having to leave Wednesday night’s contest early due to a sprained ankle, and in a shocking turn of events actually looked impressive for the second night in a row. He scored 20 points and pulled down 9 rebounds in addition to Elton Brand’s 16 points and 10 boards. Don’t call me a Kave-Maniac just yet folks, he’s fooled me before with brief spurts of decency.
Corey Maggette was the leading scorer for the Clips with 22, and he continues to make the verdict on his trade status harder for the Clipper Nation to agree on. Coach Mike Dunleavy has been criticized by the media, fans, and Corey himself for not only his coaching style in general, but his use of Maggette off the bench. To Coach Dunleavy’s credit there may be a method to his madness in having Maggette come off the bench. Over the past 5 seasons, on average Corey is injured for approximately 30 games, of the NBA’s 82 game season, and despite a few minor glitches, Corey has remained healthy. His decreased minutes haven’t stopped him from being a consistent contributor though with a scoring average of 15 points. I think the Clipper Nation’s only concern at this point should be whether or not Corey’s recent intensity is genuine. Is he fighting for his starting spot, and trying to help his struggling ball club be successful? Or is he show casing his talent in hopes of being recruited by another team since he knows the trade deadline is approaching quickly? Corey is a classy guy, but when it comes down to it, business is business.
The Clippers meet the Warriors on Monday in Oakland, and then again on Wednesday at Staples. The Warriors are currently in a 3 game slump, and have lost 4 of their past 5. Due to the holiday Monday’s game will be broadcast at 1:00 pm pacific.
The Clippers made the final stop of their 10 day excursion in Minnesota on Wednesday night, to hand the Timberwolves their first loss of the year 2007, in addition to ending their 4 game winning streak. Sam Cassell and Shaun Livingston both started the game at the Guard positions, and Sam-I-Am showed Shaun that he wasn’t quite ready to give up his spot on the starting line up by dropping 18 points and 5 assists, as opposed to Livingston’s 4 points and 6 assists on the night. This win is held in a higher regard around the Clipper Nation, because tonight the Clips displayed that they can go on the road and compete with a competent and healthy team.
Ricky Davis torched the Clips as usual, and finished with 24 points and 7 assists, to compliment Garnett’s 19 points and 17 rebounds. Sudden super star Mark Blount added 21 points and 6 rebounds, and looked to be the most impressive Timberwolve of the contest.
Marco Jaric, who was traded to the Timberwolves for Sam Cassell two seasons ago had to leave the contest early in the first half after he injured his thumb.
The match was neck and neck through out most of the 4th quarter, but Trent Hassell, who had only taken 5 shots the entire game, hit a jumper with 25 seconds left, to give Minnesota a 91-90 lead.In the Clippers final possession Elton Brand recovered a Cuttino Mobley miss, and delivered the ball to Corey Maggette, who calmly drained the game winning jump shot with 4 seconds left on the clock. This left the Timberwolves with one last shot for the win but K.G. missed a 16 foot jumper as time expired, to give the Clips the victory.
Elton Brand got a rare technical foul in the 3rd quarter after not receiving a call when Garnett tapped his arm in mid jump shot. Elton immediately fouled K.G. upon receipt of the ball and engaged in some colorful conversation with the official, in addition to K.G. who was also awarded a technical for his part in the verbal exchange.
Chris Kaman looked uncharacteristically solid tonight, scoring the Clippers first 7 points of the ball game, and finishing with 12 points and 6 rebounds before having to leave in the 3rd quarter with a sprained ankle. Kaman briefly had trouble with his left ankle early in the season, and sprained his right ankle tonight. No word on his availability yet for Saturday’s game against Cleveland at Staples.
Maggette continues to make it harder to trade him, making big shots and attacking the rim, but is it a bid to stay in L.A. or is he trying to appeal to teams across the NBA so he gets picked up by a contender? Do Maggette’s pro’s out weigh his con’s? Should we sacrifice the 30 games a season that he misses on average due to injury for his intensity and consistency? Let me know what you think.
After an embarrassing 86-74 loss to Atlanta on Saturday, the Clippers showed up ready to play Monday night against the Hornets. After missing 8 straight games, Sam Cassell returned to action Monday night and recorded 31 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in 35 minutes off the bench in the clippers 100-90 win over New Orleans.
Sporadic tough guy Tim Thomas got T’d up for allegedly cussing at an official during the 2nd quarter, after racking up 3 quick fouls. Perhaps this means in the future that he’ll wipe the smile off his face and start giving the Clippers a darker quality to counter act with all Clips “nice guy” antics.
The Clippers have only recorded 4 road wins thus far this season, bet if you take a closer look there is a pattern amongst their road wins:
Hopefully with the return of Sam-I-Am the wins will start rolling in again whether at home or abroad.
Corey Maggette Sat out his second game in a row Monday night with a sore foot, and I would assume he’ll be used sparingly between now and the trade deadline in late February to protect his trade value.
The Clips make the final stop of their 6 game road trip in Minnesota Wednesday to take on the Timberwolves who have yet to lose a game in 2007. The T’wolves have won 4 straight since the start of January, which is open for interpretation since that’s the day the NBA switched back to good ol’ leather balls rather than the composite fiber balls they had been using previously. The Clips will need a win Wednesday night if they want to finish their road tour at .500 with 3 wins and 3 losses.
Monday nights win helped the Clips claw their way out of the last place spot in the Pacific Division, and in to the 4th spot with a record of 16-19, which knocked the Kings to the final spot with a record of 14-18
The Clippers made a stop in Miami Wednesday night to beat up on a weak adaptation of the defending NBA champs, Miami Heat, who played with out the scoring expertise of Dwayne Wade or Shaq. The 110-95 victory made the Clips 2-0 against the Heat this season.
Dunleavy and the Clippers had a day to practice and prepare for their match up with the Washington Wizards who have been red hot lately, but apparently one day wasn’t enough. Gilbert Arenas dropped 35 points, and a season high 12 assists in the Wizards routing of the Clips 105-116. Elton Brand recorded a double double with 29 points and 13 boards, and Livingston posted an impressive 19 points, 8 assists, and 5 steals.
Fox Sports reported that there is a new “one dribble rule” instated for Chris Kaman, who has a tendency to get lost on his way to the basket. The one dribble embargo could help prevent the slop that we see so often from Kaman, making it so he either turns and shoots/goes straight to the bucket with out putting the ball on the floor, and doesn’t get any wild ideas about posting up from the top of the key or other wise. It really looks like management is cracking down on Chris Kaman, first with the head band that was imposed by coach’s orders, which probly lead to the cutting of his hair, now there is a one dribble guide line, what’s next? Push ups every time he fails to box out adequately? No dessert when he fumbles the ball out of bounds?
Maggette has been linked to trade talks with over 10 teams in the past month, so it’s not surprising that it has been alleged that the Nets are looking at a possible Maggette/Mobley for Vince Carter deal. New Jersey appears to be in the same position as the Clips, and are looking to make adjustments in order to kick start their season. Although this is the first potential trade that I think would be a good value for the Clip Show, I think this report goes beyond the rumor category, and in to fantasy unfortunately.
Injuries: Cassell has missed 7 straight games due to his plantar fasciitis and hopes to return next week. It will be interesting to see how play time gets divided between Sam and Shaun. Mobley was unable to play Wednesday night against the Heat due to a hyper extended elbow suffered in Orlando on Monday. He returned Friday night against Washington but hit just 1 of 8 field goals in 20 minutes.
The trade talks between the Clips and Sacramento must have dwindled, because it was most recently reported that the Clippers may have interest in the Spurs guard, Brent Barry who has been on fire as of late.
Maggette suffered a mild ankle sprain in the first quarter against the Magic last night, but later returned in the second half. The Clips held a commanding lead going in to half time, before letting the wheels come off in the second half to lose 91-86.
After sweeping a 3 game home stand, the Clippers head off for a 6 game road trip that is pivotal at this point in their season. Five games are left on their tour of the Eastern Conference before they return to L.A. on January 13th to play Lebron and the Cavs. The Clip Show will visit Miami tonight, and lucky for them it is unclear wether or not Dwayne Wade will be returning to action tonight after being inactive the past 3 games with a sprained wrist, and Shaquille O‘neal is still out recovering from knee surgery. As if that weren’t enough, Pat Riley announced today due to pain in his own knee/hip he will be taking an indefinite leave of absence, and he deactivated Antoine Walker, and James Posey for tonight’s game due to failure to meet a conditioning dead line. The Clips should smell blood, and strike accordingly.
The Clippers still sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division with a 14-17 record.
After another loss in Salt Lake City it is apparent that adjustments need to be made to the Clippers ball club. We saw another performance where the Clips just went through the motions for the first 3 quarters and then tried to kick it up a notch in the 4th quarter to no avail. The Clippers have yet to beat the Jazz this season out of 3 meetings, and have not beat them in Utah since the 80’s. The Clippers are 3-13 for the month of December, and have fallen to last place in the Pacific Division with a record of 11-16. A Clippers insider has reported that there have been talks regarding 2 of California’s most disgruntled small forwards. Both Corey Maggette and Ron Artest are allegedly dissatisfied with their current playing conditions in L.A. and Sacramento. It’s rumored that Artest isn’t happy with the lack of chemistry that he has with King’s guard Mike Bibby, and it’s reported that Corey Magette is disenchanted with Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy, regarding his role coming off the bench, so much so that the two are allegedly no longer on speaking terms. Artest has sat out the past 2 games for the Kings, complaining of “sore knees” and released a statement saying that the trade rumors are false, and that he’s happy in Sacramento, and has not asked for a trade. Maggette on the other hand, has publicly commented on his discontent with the Clippers:
“Coach doesn’t respect what I do. If that’s the case, it might be time for me to go, move on and have a new beginning. It’s better for me to go.”
Like with all trades, this one provides a significant controversy among Clipper enthusiasts because of Maggette’s true value, who he should be traded for, or if he should be traded at all. Maggette averages an impressive 15 points a game through out his career, but is notorious for being frequently injured. In the past 5 seasons out of an approximate 400 possible games, Maggette has been active for only 259, leaving 141 games where he was either injured or inactive, which comes out to about 28 games a season that the Clips play sans Maggette. With the mid point of the season approaching, it seems inevitable that another Maggette injury will occur, which could possibly be the reason Dunleavy has used him sparingly, to retain his trade value, and prevent him from injury. I think most of us would agree that changes need to be made within the Clipper organization if we want to become a true contender again in the Western Conference, and significant trades must occur in order for this to happen, but I can’t imagine a Maggette for Artest deal being lucrative for the delicate equilibrium of the Clips’ locker room. No question about it, Artest is one of the best small forwards in the league, who can score at will, and can put up remarkable numbers consistently, but I don’t believe that the Clippers can take a chance, and hope that the disgruntled star can keep his spurs from jingling and jangling like they are right now in Sacramento, and like they did in Indiana before that. Artest who is partially responsible for the NBA’s biggest blemish to date, has qualities though that I would like to see come to the Clip Show. Those being: intensity, attitude, and anger. These are 3 qualities we thought we would see out of Tim Thomas, after his cold blooded performance in the play offs last year, like when he single handedly ended the Lakers season, and in the next round attempted to provoke Dallas Maverick’s Dirty Dirk by blowing him a kiss and jawing at him. What happened to that guy, who was a force to be reckoned with, inside the paint, and out? Who knocked down high pressure 3’s like they were free throws and didn’t take flack from an NBA super star like Dirk? So if we’re not trading for Artest who are we trading for? An out side shooter to take pressure off Elton of course. but then would there be any Clippers left who can get to the rim like Maggette? With Cassell’s minutes dwindling due to his plantar fasciitis and age will a new guy be able to take pressure off newly instated starter Shaun Livingston who has struggled as of late? The Clippers may need to reevaluate how much weight they’re putting on this trade and if Maggette is still the only one on the trading block. Although Artest denies that trade talks are afoot, the rumor mill continues to swirl, and sources say the deal could go down before this Friday when the Clippers play the Kings. The Clippers play the Celtics tonight at the Staples Center, and will once again play a team who is with out their leading scorer.
Tim Thomas and the Clippers strolled in to Houston to snap not only a 6 game losing streak, but the bone underneath Yao Ming’s right knee as well on Saturday night. The Clippers who hadn’t won a game since December 9th, finally picked up their second road win of the year, against an injury plagued Rockets squad. The Rockets had already been playing with out the services of their All-Star guard Tracy McGradyfor the previous 7 games due to back spasms, and in the opening 6 minutes of the first quarter, they lost another key component to their team when Yao landed on Tim Thomas after fighting for position, fracturing the bone under his right knee. Last season the Rockets were 13-38 when playing with out Yao, T-Mac, or both, and it is reported that Yao’s fracture will remove him from action for a minimum of 6 weeks. Tim Thomas finally showed us why the Clips acquired him in the off season, by hitting 4 beyond the arch and racking a season high 21 points. The Clips have a break for Christmas before they return to Salt Lake City on Tuesday, to battle the Jazz for the 3rd time this season. The Jazz who sit on top of the North Western Division with a 20-8 record, have convincingly defeated the Clippers twice this season so far, and will look to extend their impressive home record.
Wednesday night the red hot Toronto Raptors who have won 4 of their past 5 games, cruised in to L.A. to hand the Clippers their 5th consecutive loss. The Clips displayed once again tonight that they not only can’t effectively shoot from behind the arch, but also that they can’t defend against teams who effectively shoot from behind the arch. It looked like Shaun Livingston was trying to remind us why we didn’t trade him for Iverson this week, by showing a few flashes of brilliance with his passing, and poise as he hit 2 big free throws in the 4th quarter. Unfortunately it was not enough to stop Toronto’s T.J. Ford from getting the ball with 19 seconds left and dropping a Kobe-Style game winner from the free throw line as time expired. I wish I could say it was a hard fought battle, and a heart breaker for the Clippers, but the truth is, they only showed up to play the 4th quarter. They played like they had some thing to prove and they played with a hunger that we hadn’t seen since May of last season in the play offs, when times were good. The Clips trailed by 9 going into the beginning of the 4th , and rallied to tie it up with the aforementioned 2 free throws from Livingston with 51.9 seconds left in the ball game. For the first 3 quarters it appeared that the motor was running for the Clippers but no one was behind the wheel, as they let the Raptors stomp all over their home court. Maggette started tonight for just the second time this season, and had 20 points in 36 minutes. Despite Cassell’s plantar fasciitis/sore ankle he seemed to be pretty light on his feet, putting up 17 points, and making 8 of 16 from the field off the bench. It was reported that Kaman’s new head band is not just a fashion statement, but a direct order from Coach Mike Dunleavy, intended to prevent Kaman from constantly playing with his stringy hair while on the court. Well kudos to Mike for solving that conundrum, now if you can just figure out a way to stop him from hucking up the ball every time he touches it we’ll be in business. Tim Thomas sat again tonight with a bruised elbow, and Q. Ross returned to action after having to leave Sundays contest against the Rockets early due to back spasms. We saw a rare appearance from rookie Paul Davis tonight, due to unavailability from Aaron Williams, and he did about as well as one should expect from a rook. The Clippers have a couple of tough games on the road versus the Mav’s on Friday, a rematch with the Rockets on Saturday, and then a stop in Utah next Tuesday before they return home to face the Celtics on Wednesday. If they continue to play like they did tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised if their 5 game skid turned in to 8, but I trust that Dunleavy will try to troubleshoot what ever it is that is wrong with our beloved Clip Show.