Memphis 106 - Clippers 91 - So Bad, I Didn't Watch

Here's the deal.  I was in class when this game tipped off and I had to run an errand afterwards.  I turned on the radio, which I debated at the time, but which in retrospect saved me a couple hours of misery.  When I started listening to the game, the Clippers were behind by 17 late in the third quarter.  Shortly thereafter, the lead stretched to 22. 

So I haven't watched the game.  I haven't read the comments on the thread.  I have no first hand knowledge of what happened.  Maybe I'll break down and watch tomorrow; maybe I won't.  Right now, it's just not something I want to put myself through.  And frankly, I'm a little pissed off that this team has reduced me to this.  I should look forward to watching them play.  I shouldn't be miserable about it.

Looking at the box score, you will rarely find games where the possession stats are so evenly split.  Each team turned the ball over 13 times.  Each team had 38 rebounds.  The Clippers had 3 more offensive rebounds, 12 to 9.  The Clippers took one more shot.  The Grizzlies took one more free throw.  Even the three point stats were identical - both teams were 2 for 10.

(If you're wondering why the Clippers didn't have three more shots, given that they had three more offensive rebounds, bear in mind that there are a few factors that are impossible to account for in the standard box score.  End of quarter shots can have a minor impact here and there and free throws are the biggest wild card.  Are 18 free throws 9 possessions, or are they fewer?  Specifically, how many and ones are included in the total?)

At any rate, with everything else being equal, the final margin in this game came down to one thing - shooting percentages.  So while the Clippers managed to shoot an acceptable 47%, their defense allowed the Grizzlies to shoot an unacceptable 54%.  Of course it didn't help that LA missed 7 free throws. 

 

As I was listening on the radio, I did a quick calculation.  Brian Sieman told me that Baron had 22, Kaman had 18 and Al Thornton had 10 - but at the time, the Clippers were behind 82-60 with a little over a minute to go in the third and the game was completely out of reach.  Which means that beyond those three players, the rest of the team had scored 10 points through almost 35 minutes of basketball.  It's really hard to win if only three guys on your team can score.  The final stats for the rest of the team look a little better, owing to a 27 point fourth quarter after the game was already decided.  But while this game was in question, all but Baron, Kaman and Thornton were MIA.

Marcus Camby left near the end of the first quarter with a lower back injury.  I have no idea how serious it is - I know he didn't return to the game.  Rasual Butler was just ineffective - no injury excuse for him. 

The real story here is that on back to back nights, the Clippers NEVER LED against (1) a 3-8 team playing without by far their best player and (2) a 2-10 team with a minus 9 point differential coming into the game.  With more than half of that cozy November schedule gone, LA has lost 5 of 6, with all 5 losses coming against teams below .500.

If there was any truth to Marc Stein's story last week that Donald Sterling "flirted seriously with the idea of dismissing Mike Dunleavy immediately" after the first New Orleans loss, then it would seem that four more embarrassing losses in five games against decidedly mediocre competition should surely melt / shatter the ice under the coach's feet, assuming it is in fact thin.  I have my doubts.  As I wrote on Friday, the injury excuse is in play, and if Roeser and Sterling used it as cover to keep MDsr around last year, I don't see why they won't do the same thing now.  Still, if Stein's "source plugged in to Clipperland" has any credibility at all and Sterling was mad before, you have to figure that a change will be made - now.  

Something needs to change.  I'd like to be able to enjoy watching Clipper games again.

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