You had to know the Clippers were in trouble when they shot 58% in the first half, and led by one.
Points in the paint - 54-34 Utah.
Offensive rebounds - 11-3 Utah.
And most disconcerting of all - center comparison and power forward comparison.
Okur - 27 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
Boozer - 16 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists
Kaman - 3 points, 3 rebounds, 6 fouls
Brand - 16 points, 6 rebounds, 0 assists
There aren't many teams that should outplay the Clippers bigs. Utah may be one of them. But they should not be able to DOMINATE them! Kaman was awful... just awful. Not once but twice he was whistled for elbowing Okur fighting for position, and both times he was explaining away to the refs and Dunleavy after the call. Apparently Okur was doing some sort of tricky Turkish thing to enduce Kaman to throw an elbow in plain view of everyone in the Delta Center.
After leading 68-63 late in the third, the Clippers were outscored 35-10 to fall behind by 20 midway through the fourth. Nothing was working.
As for the Jazz, how many times do you watch an NBA team and come away saying, "Man, they're well-coached"? But they are. They run their sets to perfection, they can all pass, they move without the ball... they've got a lot of talent, but as I watched that game, it was their team play that struck me, not their talent.
No Kirilenko, no problem. They brought rookie Paul Millsap (a power forward from La. Tech playing for the Jazz, that sounds familiar) off the bench and he was terrific. They didn't need points from him, but he got 6 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 blocks in 22 minutes. As if they need another quality big.
They're now 7-1, and they are for real. No playoffs for Denver this year.