When I wrote the preview for this game, I said that the Clippers had no chance if Eric Gordon was unable to play. Well, Eric Gordon didn't play AND Chris Kaman sprained his ankle 7 minutes in AND Blake Griffin had his worst game as a pro AND Baron Davis was limited to 10 minutes coming back from injury. So the outcome of the game was a foregone conclusion.
The Clippers actually managed to hang around for almost three quarters, despite playing with a makeshift lineup, and playing pretty poorly on top of that. That tells you something. Like maybe that it wasn't a very well played game.
The Clippers turned the ball over 25 times, which is a dreadful number, but perhaps not too surprising considering that they had 105 minutes worth of rookies on the floor. In addition to Griffin playing poorly, Eric Bledsoe had his worst outing as a starter, but still there was something for Club D to watch - Al-Farouq Aminu had a terrific game, scoring 20 points (obviously a career high) and grabbing 8 rebounds to lead the team in both categories. Other than Aminu, there was nothing good happening. I don't think that anyone else on the team could be said to have had a good, or even an OK game. The next leading scorer after AGA was Ryan Gomes with 11.
It wasn't even the usual suspects who beat the Clippers. Chris Paul had a relatively uneventful 13 points and 8 assists. David West scored 6 points on 11 shots. But Willie Green and Jerryd Bayless ran away with the game in the fourth quarter. That's correct, Willie Green and Jerryd Bayless.
Not much more to say about this game other than a couple random asides:
- Perhaps even more frustrating than the NBA's laxness towards calling traveling is that every once in a while they'll call a walk that didn't happen. It's one thing to miss what happened - but how do you see something that didn't happen? And how do you constantly allow players three steps, and then call a walk on two steps. Early in this game, Kaman took a pass from Griffin took two steps and scored. Now, the NBA generally allows two steps on the catch, and ALWAYS allows two steps before a shot. There is no way that was a walk, and truthfully, it wasn't even particularly close. Later in the quarter, Marco Belinelli made a catch on the wing and took five steps before he dribbled. I'm not exaggerating. I played it back on the DVR in slow motion. Five steps from catch to dribble - and that happens alot. So how do you let that stuff go, and then call a phantom walk? It makes me nuts.
- Has there ever been a more highly paid player who was on the inactive list while healthy than Peja Stojakovic? Plenty of players are unwanted by the final year of a big contract, and anyone who was paying attention knew that Peja would soon enough fall into that category the day the Hornets signed him to a 5/$64M deal in 2006. But usually they at least continue to play. I guess Allen Iverson meets the criteria - both in Philadelphia and in Detroit, though they made up an injury for him in Detroit. Tracy McGrady last season said he was healthy enough to play, but Houston said he wasn't so that was a little different. And of course Raef Lafrentz was nothing but a contract by the end of his time in Portland. So, yeah, it's a little too common for people to be making 8 figures while sitting on the bench in street clothes. But still, $14M is a lot of money to pay a guy to be on the inactive list.
On to San Antonio, where the Clippers haven't won since 2002. Without Kaman - he's probably out a few weeks. Probably without Gordon. With limited minutes from Baron if any.
For the Hornets perspective on the game such as it was, stop by At the Hive.