Preseason Win #2

Killaclip had a good breakdown of the basics of this game on the "Am I the only one who cares..." thread, but we might as well have a real post up for discussion.

Yes, the game was on an internet thread, off the ESPN Clippers Board.  It had the "Thunder" announcers, but it was pretty easy to watch.  I saw the 2nd half of the 3rd quarter and the first half of the 4th, and then listened to Milph on the radio while driving home.

Gameball apparently goes to Mike Taylor, although Al Thornton made a strong case.  There is probably a YouTube coming up at some point of the dunk that Taylor made, going past Westbrook and giving the Clips the lead.  It sounded pretty spectacular and shocking, coming at a critical juncture.

It's worth noting that the Clips had a comfortable lead for most of the game and did very well--without Baron Davis.  If you saw the first game, you know that the Clippers are a completely different team, about 1000% better, when Davis is out on the floor.  So that makes the accomplishment here, on the road at a new team's home debut, somewhat impressive.  But as always, it's just preseason.

Taylor is still the story.  He is very quick, creates pressure and gets steals without getting fouls, and he's also making plays on offense.  He's a very solid third string option, showing a lot more fire and PG energy and skill than Daniel Ewing or Lionel Chalmers--though that's not setting the bar very high.  He played virtually the entire time I was watching and down the stretch, and he was a big part of the story.  We'll see where it goes from here, but the current status is that he'll definitely be on the team and if he keeps producing he will might give Hart a run for the backup spot. 

But let's not forget about Al Thornton, who combined with Taylor to win the game for the Clippers.  And Thornton was going up against his fellow sophomore Kevin Durant, and he was arguably more productive.  It was a good matchup, to say the least.  Thornton created some points in isolation, and he's going to be a big beneficiary of playing with BDavis.  He was solid, but has lots of room for improvement, and with some other options out there he'll need to keep the ball moving. 

The Thunder played former Bruin RWestbrook at SG for most of the time I was watching, with Earl Watson or John Lucas at PG.  This is interesting because Westbrook didn't shoot well, but he got to the line and created a lot of activity, he looked pretty good, but more importantly if they go with this lineup then Durant moves up to SF.  And that set up the matchup with Thornton, where Thornton was pretty comfortable taking it to him.

Kaman and Mobley were struggling.  Kaman is funky, but let's wait it out and see what happens with Camby and BDavis are out on the court.  Mobley is simply not as sharp as he was at the beginning of last season.  He did hit a big 3 pt shot down the stretch. 

Eric Gordon's debut was mixed and somewhat brief.  I only saw him on a few plays.  He still rushing a bit, not settling in, but like Westbrook he makes things happen and can get to the line.  He needs more time too. 

Ricky Davis scores points at very opportune moments.  Without BDavis around, he seemed like he might be slightly volatile, but he's talented and creates problems for the opponent.  Out of the three options, Mobley, RDavis, and EGordon, one of them has to step up and be a bit more effective and consistent.  RDavis is doing the best of the three, and he seems like a really good guy to come off the bench.

Skinner gets his rebounds, but his shot wasn't falling at all.  Davis3 played well in brief minutes, apparently, but I didn't see him at all.  Novak missed his first two 3s, but hit his 3rd try at a nice moment.  Seems like Novak took Davis3's 2nd half minutes.

Raises a Dunleavy question:  for all the talk of Jordan's good camp effort, he didn't play on a night when both Camby and Tim Thomas were out, and Kaman was going limited minutes.  That meant a starting role for Skinner, and lots of minutes for him.  It seems like it would have been a very good time to see more Davis3 and at least something for DJordan.  But I think Dunleavy was happy to watch Mike Taylor do his thing.  And he was playing to win, to get some experience for Taylor and Thornton down the stretch.

So Taylor is very encouraging news, and Gordon is out on the court and getting started.  Those are the primary takeaways, in a game without Baron Davis, and while we're still waiting to see Marcus Camby. 

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