I was at dinner during the game tonight, so I did not listen on the radio or track it on the web. When I saw the final score, I was... not exactly distraught... maybe perturbed? concerned?
But there's the old standby, it's only pre-season.
Then I looked at the box score. A couple of things really jump out at you that make it a little easier to dismiss what was clearly a debacle. (1) Neither Baron Davis nor Eric Gordon played in this game. We knew that Baron would sit; resting EJ is a bit of a surprise to me, but it gave Vinny Del Negro a chance to see a little of Jon Scheyer and Stephen Dennis, so fine. (2) The Blazers made 16 of 27 three point field goals (59%).
Like I said, I didn't see the game so I don't know what that three point percentage says about the Clippers' perimeter defense (though it certainly doesn't say great things). Sometimes teams hit great from the outside because the defense is lax and they get great looks; and sometimes they just shoot the lights out for no other reason than that they shoot the lights out. Interestingly, the Blazers shot MUCH better from three (59%) than they did from two (42%). So go figure. The bottom line is the Clippers were outscored by 33 points from behind the arc, while only taking seven fewer three point attempts. That's a disaster.
The other disaster is 26 turnovers. Looking at the individual numbers, the turnover news gets a little more comprehensible - 17 of the 26 were committed by rookies, with three more each for DeAndre Jordan and Chris Kaman. The first round picks in particular seem to have gotten a proper hazing - Eric Bledsoe committed six turnovers, while Al-Farouq Aminu had four turnvers, six fouls and only one point in a mere 18 minutes. Welcome to the NBA, kids.
The other thing that really jumps out is the point guard for the Clippers. Randy Foye started and played 25 minutes; he was 1 for 9 and finished with a plus/minus of -25. Bledsoe played 30 minutes, recorded the aforementioned 6 turnovers, and finished -26. It's actually hard to imagine how they could each be so far to the negative when the Clippers only lost by 29 (only, sheesh). Without going through the box score in detail, they clearly played a lot of minutes together, and those minutes were clearly disastrous, for whatever reason.
Now it's on to Sacramento to face the Kings Thursday night. It's only pre-season, but let's hope that the results get a little more respectable.