Here's what we're going to do. We're going to pretend the game lasted 41 minutes. Because after 41 minutes, the Clippers were ahead 101-92 and had played some pretty entertaining basketball to get there, like for instance shooting 40 for 74, 54%. Besides, Lawler's Law states first to 100 wins - so the game was over. Really, we get the best of both worlds this way. We get a really good feeling from the 41 minute game. And we still get the extra ping pong balls of the 'official' 48 minute game. See how brilliant my new system is?
In case you're wondering, the Clippers were 0 for 7 with 4 turnovers in the final 7 minutes. But we're ignoring that part.
What's strange about this game is that we went into it expected Zach Randolph to be out, and wondering if Eric Gordon might still be out as well. Instead, Randolph and Gordon both played - and two other starters were out instead. Baron Davis sat out with a sore hamstring, and Marcus Camby is still suffering from migraines which are apparently a byproduct of fluid in his head from his recent earache. Yikes.
I was wondering in my preview if we'd get to see much of the three rookies together in this game. Little did I know they'd all three be starting! And at times it was quite a sight to see.
Eric Gordon is of course the superstar of the group, and he was absolutely incredible considering he's missed his last four games. All he did was come out and score the Clippers' first eight points, including two three pointers, and lead the team in scoring with 35 on 12 for 18 shooting. Unfortunately he was held without a field goal in the fourth quarter, missing his only two tries including one in the final seconds that could have won the game (and could have been called a foul, but then again I'm not talking about the final 7 minutes). Oh, and he spent a lot of time running the point and handed out 6 assists to go with his 35 points. The guy is good. And he's not out of the rookie of the year race yet if he keeps playing like this.
Mike Taylor had a poor game as compared to how he had been playing, but he's still fun to watch. He only shot 3 for 12, but all three displayed his unique skill set - two floaters and a tough drive to the basket. He's also a one man last second shot - the ball didn't go down for him in either case, but he went the length of the court to get good shots for the team with very little time left at the end of the first two quarters.
One of Taylor's five assists for the game came on a lob to the third rookie, DeAndre Jordan - a lob that very few players in the NBA would have been able to reach. DJ's offense still consists of dunks and tip ins, but he's pretty good at those things. He needs to have his hands ready to receive passes, because he fumbled a few out of bounds today. But he's already a very effective rebounder and shot blocker with 11 and 4 in 26 minutes tonight. He's got to work on his free throw shooting, and develop a move or two with his back to the basket, and he can be a very good NBA center. Remember - he's only 20, and he's already a big time rebounder and shot blocker - he will get better if he works at it.
Add in second year forward Al Thornton who had an excellent game (don't forget, we're ignoring the last seven minutes) and there's certainly some reason to be optimistic about the team's future.
With Kaman planning to play against Cleveland Tuesday night, and Baron and Camby both listed as day-to-day, it's entirely possible that Ricky Davis will be the only Clipper missing for that game. Of course, any number of things could go wrong between now and then, so we'll just have to wait and see.