The Clippers, in desperate need of a loss, pulled through in spectacular fashion tonight losing to the playoff bound Jazz by 21.
From an entertainment standpoint, this actually was a pretty good game. At the 11:32 mark in the first quarter, a missed Clippers shot clanged off the rim, and the ball bounced to the sideline in front of the Clippers bench. Chris Kaman and Deron Williams gave chase. Kaman had the angle, and Deron overran the play and ended up well out of bounds. Kaman collected the offensive rebound in the corner, retained his full balance and was nowhere close to falling out of bounds. Despite this, Kaman inexplicably decided to do his best Peter La Fleur impression and rocket the ball at poor Deron Williams, who was still standing out of bounds. Williams shrugged it off well, maybe aware that most of Kaman’s actions can not be explained by logic. 28 seconds into the game, and we’ve already been treated to a Klassic Kaman Moment. Nice.
The story of the first half is turnovers. The Clippers turn the ball over 10 times, and Utah takes full advantage, scoring 20 points off the 10 turnovers. Since the Clippers rank 27th in total rebounding this season, protecting the limited possessions they do have is absolutely vital. The Clippers didn’t do this, and as a result the Jazz headed into the break up 13.
In the third quarter, the game gets a little rowdy. While boxing out Baron Davis underneath, Matt Harpring threw a high elbow that landed flush on one of Baron’s neck rolls. Summoning his inner Z-Bo, Baron immediately clinched up his fists and threw a vicious forearm shiver into Harpring’s back as an eye for an eye type of thing. Then, making sure he got his money worth, Baron followed up by tossing Harpring to the ground. Baron immediately got hit with a technical and was showered with a chorus of boo’s the rest of the night. Harpring does have a reputation around the league as a dirty player, but it was still surprising to see Baron get into it with him. I completely expected this little squabble to motivate Baron to get to the rim and start doing some damage on the offensive end, but nothing of the sort took place. Baron finished the night a putrid 1-13 from the field for 3 points.
DeAndre Jordan looked impressive again in 29 minutes, going for 16 points and 11 rebounds with 3 steals and 3 blocks. Jordan dunks anything and everything, and he’s good for at least one backdoor screen alley-oop play a game. Take a look at DeAndre’s season game log. When he gets the playing time, he produces. So why hasn’t he consistently been getting time?
Completely unsurprisingly, the Clippers get outclassed again tonight by a superior Jazz team, and it's never really close. For those of you who sat through the beating, take some positives away from the experience. You saw DeAndre dunk on someone nicknamed “The Money Man”, which is always satisfying. You saw Eric Gordon yet again play solid, unselfish basketball. You witnessed a genuine attack on Matt Harpring and all that he stands for. You saw Mike Dunleavy wear a suit and tie combo that looks just like that couch you bought on craigslist. But best of all, you saw the Clippers not blow their chance at gaining those coveted extra lottery balls.
You’re one game closer to the merciful end of a terrible season. Cheer up a little, will ya?