I just got back from the Clippers/Jazz game and it seems like a good time to share some of my thoughts with the fine folks here at Clips Nation. Though the game was a vast improvement over the debacle that was the San Antonio game, the Clippers still come out with a loss. In classic Clipper fashion, they blew what was an eleven point lead about halfway through the third quarter en route to a ten point loss.
I'll address the "class Clipper fashion" part later in the post, but this game seems to be a perfect microcosm of the Clippers as a whole. The Clippers played well through the first three quarters. They didn't play particularly good defense, but they forced enough misses to play in transition which allowed Baron Davis to take over. He made smart passes, knew when to push the tempo and when to hold back. Rasual Butler and Eric Gordon were making shots. Craig Smith and Marcus Camby were gobbling up offensive boards (and rebounds in general for that matter), a statistic the Clippers had an advantage had in the first half.
For whatever reason, the Clippers pick the fourth quarter to have it all go wrong. They got outrebounded 15-5 in the final period, in which they shot 33.3% from the floor to go along with five turnovers. Not surprisingly, the Jazz outscored the Clippers 29-15. The Clippers, who had only missed five free throws through three quarters decided to miss shots from the charity stripe (there is a reason that words like "free" and "charity" are used to describe that line). Chris Kaman, who led the team with 19 points on a rather uninspiring 5-14 night from the floor, was particularly bad. He was too deliberate in the post, often settling for the left hand hook shots all too reminiscent of Mr. Flippy along with that 17 foot jump shot. Though those shots are certainly in his arsenal, I'm concerned by the fact that he is continually settling for them. When he was doubled in the post, he forced a lot of bad passes which contributed to the team's 16 turnovers. None of this covers the abysmal defense the team played throughout the entire game, in which they failed to make proper rotations off of screens, couldn't stop drives to the basket, and failed to close out on jump shooters. As if this didn't frustrate me enough, I was forced to watch Baron Davis (our $65 million man) miss a WIDE OPEN LAY-UP with a little over a minute remaining. Though it would have been tough for the Clippers to come back had he made that, it certainly didn't ease me any that the Clippers appeared determined to hand this game to the hottest team in the NBA in the fourth quarter.
Now, I've watched tons of Clipper losses similar to this and many far worse than this, but this one has got me really frustrated. I'm really having a hard time figuring out why I root for this team. They've found new ways to lose games and blow leads year after year. They've changed arenas, coaches, and players, and none of this seems to work out. I realize that this is different than the Troy Hudson era Clippers, but the results are the same. It doesn't matter that the Clippers have supposedly better players. They still can't win. Baron Davis has been good at times. In fact, the same can be said of pretty much every Clipper player. The inconsistency is frustrating beyond belief. They've beaten the Lakers, Celtics, and Nuggets, but have also lost to the Timberwolves and Nets. Whenever they get some momentum, whether it be a 10-0 run in a game or a three game win streak, it has the tendency to get abruptly snatched from them. Nothing seems to work.
Well, there goes my stream of consciousness post. I put a lot of random, incoherent thoughts in there and I'm sure the only thing that made sense was my frustration. When all is said and done, though, I'm sure I'll find myself in front of the television tomorrow night for the Warrior game, cursing whenever Anthony Morrow knocks down a three (which will inevitably be a lot).