The Clippers shot 31% in this game - their worst shooting night of the season, and we're talking about the 28th team in the NBA in shooting percentage. And still they had a chance to take the lead in the final seconds. Which doesn't make sense.
The Clippers got 1 point from 48 minutes of point guard play. If the post-Cassell era has indeed begun, this does not bode well.
In the first half, three Clipper starters were scoreless, and top reserve Al Thornton had 2 points. The first half was just a brutal, brutal 24 minutes of basketball. From 4:43 in the first until 5:37 of the second (over 11 minutes) the Clippers did not make a field goal, missing 17 in a row. And although the offense looked terrible against the zone, they still managed to get some very good shots, that they simply bricked. Josh Powell airballed a fast break layup. They missed four or five two footers. And at least three wide open jumpers were left so short that they barely grazed the rim. Sitting in Staples, I knew it was bad; but I didn't quite comprehend how bad. When I checked the field goals made and attempted on the score board, I was shocked. They were 8 for 34 (23.5%)! And that was after three straight makes! Before that they were 5 for 31 (16%).
Cuttino Mobley finished the game with 5, for a team playing without four of their best players. Basically, he was one of two regulars on the floor, and he might as well not have been there.
And still, the Blazers were able to match their ineptitude. It took the Clippers all of 7:32 of barely acceptable basketball to tie the game in the second half.
Corey Maggette scored 28 of the Clippers first 55 points. 15 of those points had come on 18 free throws, the last 12 of them consecutive makes. But he only scored 4 points in the 4th, making the only 2 shots he got from the offense prior to the closing seconds (he also missed a tip in on an offensive rebound).
For the Blazers the story was Jarrett Jack. He scored 13 of their 24 points in the fourth quarter, including the crucial jumper with 18 seconds in the game and 3 on the shot clock. Watching Dan Dickau, all 180 pounds of him, trying to 'fight' over the top of screens is just sad. It's not fair. He bounces around like Raggedy Andy in a dryer. It's not his fault really. You know how your dad tells you about the screens Wes Unseld used to set? How big and forceful and wide those screens were? Every screen looks like that when you're Dan Dickau. Channing Frye looks like Wes Unseld when you're Dan Dickau.
I like Dickau. He was one of the best college players I've even seen. But his body doesn't match his game, and he's just at an incredible disadvantage. Obviously the coaches want him to fight over the top of that screen, or he wouldn't try it over and over and over again. But he can't do it. He just can't.
I haven't watched any replays on the TiVo yet. I have no opinion of whether Thornton should have gotten three free throws (although my general bias against Joey Crawford tells me he should have - the more demonstrative and forceful Joey is with his call, the more likely it is that he's wrong); I have no opinion on whether Maggette was fouled with 5 seconds left.
Not that any of it matters. Losses are not a bad thing right now.
Hard to call this a quality loss though. There was very little of quality in this game.