In front of an enthusiastic crowd at Staples center, the Clippers put forth one of their most satisfying victories of the year tonight, snapping their 12 game losing streak against a solid Bucks team that easily handled them 12 games ago in Milwaukee.
The Clippers didn't feature a go to scorer or a high volume shooter tonight, but had 6 players score between 12 and 18 points, with the bench chipping in for a robust 26. That's pretty balanced scoring to say the least. Everyone who played helped the cause with the exception of Fred Jones, who managed 4 turnovers and a missed shot (block against) in just under 10 minutes. Just a brutal game for him.
Camby had one of his most complete offensive performances as a Clipper, aggressively and efficiently attacking the rim and making his outside shots to go 9 for 13 from the field. His front court counter-part, Brian Skinner was shockingly productive as well, putting forth his highest offensive output (18 pts on 8/12 shooting) since April of 2004. Solid rebounding (8) and interior defense (4 blocks) made his performance all the more impressive...So is this why we keep the guy around?
If Skinner's play came out of left field, it was Al Thornton's team oriented line that brought the house down.
13 pts (5/9 FG's in 39 minutes)
5 assists (ties a career high)
4 blocks (ties a career high)
Yes, Al Thornton. The efficient, low volume shooter, who shares the basketball, rebounds, and makes big defensive plays w/out turning the ball over? Well, for one night anyway. Thank god we won the game, which hopefully gives him some positive reinforcement in how to help the team win without having to score. Side note: His total of 9 (assists + blocks) was 50% more than his previous career high of 6.
Ricky Davis played more or less the way we expected him to play based on last years stats. It was not without a lucky bank shot, and some major contributions to poor ball movement, but he made some big shots when the team needed them and that's what the team has needed.
Gordon continued to struggle a bit from the field but hit a couple big threes and created a wide open 3 for Ricky Davis that was one of the most important plays of the game. His defense continued to be eye popping...fighting through screens and closing out at the 3 pt. line (take good notes Thornton). He finished w/ 4 steals & a block.
Mardy Collins seems to have locked up the back up point guard spot...now who saw this coming? He needs to work on his free throw shooting and show an ability to bring the ball up a little quicker, but other than that he's showing rock-like reliability.
Of course the biggest news of the night was Marcus Camby's injury in the 2nd half. As he slowly walked off the court, it gave the Clipper faithful a chance to show their appreciation for the player who has taken over the teams "lead by example" leadership role left vacant by Elton Brand's departure. Minutes after heading to the locker room, he came back to the bench and received another rousing ovation from the crowd. His coming back to the bench was obviously a great sign going forward, and a huge lift for everyone.
Afterwards, it seemed that the team needed this win just to stay sane. The guys who've been forced to step up due to all the injuries finally proved they could win a game, and also look pretty good while doing it.