Look, I'm happy when the Clippers beat the Lakers anytime. Pre-season. Summer league. If the U10 NJB Long Beach Clippers are playing the U10 NJB Long Beach Lakers, I want the Clippers to win. If the little Lakers are crying afterwards, that's just gravy.
But other than the final score, there was very little to be happy about in this game.
- 38.9% shooting, 28 field goals made, 32 fouls committed and 23 turnovers for the Clippers. When your fouls plus your turnovers is DOUBLE your field goals, it's not good.
- Add the missed shots (44) and the turnovers (23), and 67 Clipper possessions ended badly. About 17 more ended at the line, which is OK for the team, but not so great for the viewer. This is out of 120 or so possessions. Put it this way - I added 15 minutes to TNT's time on the TiVo, still missed the end of the game, and was HAPPY.
- The Lakers (if you can call them that) were worse. With Kobe, 2 other starters and fully half of their regular rotation sitting out, they didn't look appreciably different than the Summer Pro League team I watched at the Pyramid in July. Bynum and Farmar were their best players - just like SPL. J.R. Pinnock missed bunnies - just like SPL.
- The Lakers committed 22 turnovers and 27 fouls compared to their 28 makes. Ugly, ugly basketball.
What else to say?
- The NBA's new zero tolerance policy seems to have been mis-calibrated to about minus 2 tolerance. The one they called on Cat was particularly baffling. Maybe he said something that the camera didn't pick up, but in three camera angles, I never saw they guy's lips move. You look at a ref from 20 feet away, say nothing, don't even move your arms, and that's a technical foul? Looking at a ref is showing him up? How would the crowd even have known anything was happening if the ref hadn't teed him up? Truly, truly bizarre. Apparently, it's not enough to be quiet and non-demonstrative. You have to be visibly happy about every call under the new policy. Not happy enough? That's showing up the ref.
- James Singleton was a non-factor, which I found surprising. When he got time last season, you always noticed him. Last night, he was invisible in 13 minutes.
- 2-for-11 from three point range is terrible, and continues to be an area I am worried about. Obviously Tim Thomas is going to shoot better than 1-for-11 (it was his first game since Russia and he hasn't been practicing) but the Clippers just have NO ONE other than Thomas who appears capable of making one, or willing to try for that matter.
- Brand looked good. Nobody the Lakers had could guard him, but that's not really news.
- Livingston looked good. Bill Plaschke of the Times and Matt Hurst of the Riverside Press-Enterprise both wrote "This is his season" columns this week. It's great to hear about all the time Shaun spent hitting the weights and shooting jumpers this summer. You have to work hard to improve to become that transcendant player in this league, and the Clippers appear to be blessed with two such hard workers.
- Cat Mobley looked good, and played 40 minutes in a pre-season game (after play 36 minutes on Tuesday). Now Cassell and Ross didn't play, and Maggette was in foul trouble, so maybe it's an isolated incident. But for all the talk of Shaun needing more minutes, and how those minutes may come someone other than Sam, it sure doesn't look like Dunleavy is going to take them away from Cat. It just seems like he wants Cat on the floor.
Two more games in two more nights. Let's hope they look a little sharper. 12 days to the first game.