Well that's 2 hours of my life I'm not getting back. And now I have to write about it. Keep your expectations low, I'm planning to spend as little time as possible on this game. I'm actually trying to forget it.
This was one of those games where you feel like there should be some sort of exception to the normal procedures, and both teams should be given a loss. Because really, it was that ugly. At least the right team won, as the Magic actually started making shots (finally) in the fourth quarter. Until that point, it was truly just a matter of which team was working harder to lose. Through three quarters, the best offensive strategy seemed to be to sit around and wait for the opponent to throw the ball away in hopes that you might get a layup. Because no one could make a shot or execute in the half court.
As most teams have done recently, the Magic loaded up their defense on Blake Griffin to the point where he was facing two or three defenders every time he touched the ball. You know you've arrived when the opposition is sending Dwight Freakin' Howard as the double teamer. Blake and the Clippers handled the double teams beautifully - he kicked the ball back out, and they found wide open shooters all game long. Unfortunately, they missed the wide open shots. And the more the Clippers missed, the more the Magic focused on Griffin, with total impunity.
Randy Foye was 3 for 13. Ryan Gomes was 2 for 11. And these were open looks. The defensive attention forced Blake into shooting 4 for 14. As a team, they shot under 40% for the second game in a row. Their record when they shoot under 40% is now 1-10 on the season.
The only starter who played well was Baron Davis, who finished with a season high 25 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. He would surely have had double digits in assists if any of his teammates could shoot the ball. He was +11 in his 35 minutes on the floor. Given that the Clippers lost by 16, that means that the team was -27 in the 13 minutes when Baron was not in the game. That tells you pretty much everything you need to know. Orlando was so bad, that when he was in the game, Baron could beat them pretty much by himself, but when he was out the Clippers feel completely to pieces.
Aside from Davis, the only Clipper who played well was Ike Diogu off the bench, who scored a season high 18. Take away Baron's 8 for 16 and Ike's 7 for 10 and the rest of the Clippers shot 30%. I'm still feeling a little nauseated from having watched this mess.
Looking at the Odyssey before it began, the two stops in Florida looked like the toughest games on the trip. As it happens, both Miami and Orlando were eminently beatable. Unfortunately, the Clippers came up with two of their worst games of the season back to back to lose both.
Stop four is New York, and the second night of a back to back tomorrow night. Here's hoping that Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes and Al-Farouq Aminu find their jump shots between now and tomorrow night, because I really don't think I can bear to watch another game like this one.