I had fun yesterday, I don't know about you guys. Part of it is working off the bitterness of a frustrating defeat, just getting in some mental exercise covering the issues, trying to understand the problems and figure out how to move forward. It was a good, active first day of gnawing on the bone. Bill Simmons subjected his tens of thousands of readers to a spirited excursis that had his standard high quota of wry observations, but for me at least it was quite aggravating because it seemed to be an exercise in bad faith. It should have been called "Celtic fan cries "why?!" after Clips collapse against Cleveland."
But then the Great KA weighed in with a rather morose entry on the Clippers. (btw Russell Westbrook, 13 points on 13 shots, 3 rebounds last night; OJ Mayo 18 points on 17 shots, 5 assists; KLove 19/11 beating Mayo's Grizz.) I think the Great KA might be making the same mistake that CS made when he wrote off Dunleavy at what seemed to be the height of the MDsr-Baron wars. Perhaps the primary axiom of Clipper fandom should be: things can always get worse. A personnel problem will be followed by an injury. An injury will set the stage for a personnel conflict. When the waters seem smooth after the tide has turned, DTS might stop by with some wacky behavior.
Perhaps the season right before the Dunleavy era is worth remembering in this context. The outlook seemed bright, although there were bittersweet reflections as the enthusiastic, promising Darius Miles was shipped out to bring in ace PG and LA bon vivant Andre Miller and his sweet Honda ride. Players coach Alvin Gentry had a gentle touch on the tiller, and the great humanitarian FElton Brand was ready to lead the team to glory. This was the first time, I believe, that the Clippers ever had a truly competitive roster, with seemingly solid players at every position along with a quality bench. We all know what happened: from day one, it seems, the constant theme was that guys were unable to "gel" or win games because of the uncertainties of their contract situation. The 06-07 debacle was probably worse as far as promising seasons go, but that final Gentry year was a season-long exercise in lowering expectations and remembering that "the worst is not while yet we can say this is the worst." The hits just keep on coming.
The Great KA was at the game against Cleveland, as was Simmons. It was hard enough to take watching on TV, and being there in a full house had to be so much worse. But let's remember that apparently they both filed their stories after first being at the game, and then watching it a second time on the Tivo--Simmons certainly did, and the Great KA's standard practice is a painstaking breakdown of the tape. That had to be doubly depressing, watching a car wreck all over again in slow motion, and the KA went through it and then in his initial write up he broke it down backwards (hey now, Harold Pinter). My point here is that this seems almost masochistic--the pain must have been an excrutiating pleasure. Let's just keep picking at that wound, let's gnaw on that bone, shall we? Welcome to day two!
So, starting up, I'll note again that this game was against the Cavs and Lebron. The Clippers played great for 3 quarters. It was Kaman's first game back. Camby has fluid in his head. The goal right now is to sort things out at the tailend of a lost season. The Clips did some very good sorting against the Cavs, but it was provisional. The game was quite different from the one they played against the Pacers, although they had the same frustrating result.
The Great KA is still focused on Zbo and Dunleavy's personnel decisions. My humble Clipsnation goal for the day is break down the flaws in Simmons' specious but amusing essay, but he and the Great KA share a deep cynicism about the trade of Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley for Zach Randolph. I like the Randolph trade. I'll leave it at that for the moment, since we've discussed it before.
Here's a surprise: I'm off to go see the shrink. Not a moment too soon.