What can you tell from a preseason game, really?
Well, the Suns were Pacific Division champs two years in a row, and the Clippers lost a 7 game series in the Western Conference Semis to the Suns last May. So obviously, this means that the Clippers will win the Pacific and advance to the Conference Finals, at least. Why even play the season?
Seriously... Here are the things I liked from the boxscore.
Corey Maggette continues the torrid rebounding he started in last season's playoffs. With a career average of less than 5 rebounds per game, Maggette grabbed 12 boards last night, after games of 14 and 15 against the Suns in the the playoffs. Obviously, we're talking about rebounding against the Suns, but still, leading the team in rebounding is a good sign for a guy who is not always considered a hard worker without the ball. Maggette's efforts were a big part of the Clippers 50-31 domination of the boards.
Mobley remains Dunleavy's security blanket. In a meaningless pre-season game, the 31-year-old Cat played almost 37 minutes, about 10 minutes more than anyone else on the team. The Clippers' glut of players capable of playing the wing (Mobley, Maggette, Ross, Livingston) has yet to result in a reduced workload for Cat. Dunleavy likes his defense and his maturity, and he simply tends to leave Cat on the floor.
Shaun Livingston had a nice game. 21 points on 9 shots is an offensive efficiency we have not seen from Shaun in the past. Of course, it's a meaningless game, and he's being guarded by Steve Nash, but it's nice to see. Especially with a guy who's just 21, I'll take all of the 'confidence builders' I can get, even if it's only preseason.
The bad news is that the Clippers shot 1 for 6 on threes without Tim Thomas in the lineup. (The one make was by Jawad Williams, whose not going to make the team, so it's even worse.) I'm very concerned that it's going to get very crowded inside for Brand and Kaman without more of a deep threat.
We'll be back in the Valley of the Sun two weeks from today to open the regular season. I'm guessing that Steve Nash will have fewer than 7 TOs and Amare will play more than 18 minutes in that game.