In the wake of last night's debacle, coming as it did on the heels of MDSr's contract extension, there are a couple of things I have to ask about the coach.
Obviously, he can't go out there and shoot the ball for them. There's no one to blame for this loss other than the 'gang that couldn't shoot straight'. But still there are two things that make no sense to me.
1) What does this guy have against Corey Maggette? In the past, I've probably been one of the most supportive Clipper fans around as regards this issue. I've always maintained that the 'Sixth Man Feud' was more a creation of the media than anything else, that MDSr would give Corey a chance to win back the starting job in camp, that Corey would get plenty of minutes whether he was a starter or a reserve, etc. etc. And again, Corey was 0 for 9 last night, so he didn't really earn a lot of minutes in that game. BUT....
- you sit Cat Mobley and you start Tim Thomas instead?
- Cassell and Kaman are out and Corey remains the EIGHTH man?
- Ross and Williams and Singleton all pick up two fouls before Corey gets in the game, in the final minute of the first? If those guys don't pick up fouls, does Corey ever get in?
And why? Because Tim Thomas and James Singleton are doing a better defensive job on Ron Artest? Please. Artest is a tough cover for anybody, Corey included, but Corey ought to be about the best equipped Clipper to guard him.
Eight different Clippers have been in the starting lineup 2 or more times this year. Corey has not started a single game. It's like when Woody Allen wanted to make serious films. September was so serious that it was artificially serious. It was so not funny that it was less funny than life actually is. MDSr is bringing Corey off the bench, not only when everyone is healthy and the team is playing well, but even when it would be perfectly reasonable and logical to start him, when the team is struggling offensively and players are injured. I'm not generally a Maggette apologist, but obviously he noticed that Thomas got the start, that Mobley got the first call, that Singleton got the second call. I don't think it's unreasonable to think that Corey was pressing a tad when he finally got in the game.
2) Why does he have a choke chain on Shaun Livingston? Two minutes into the game, on a routine play after a Kings miss, Livingston pushed the ball quickly up court, beat two guys in transition, and made a no-look pass to Tim Thomas for an easy bucket. It was the last time the Clippers ran in the game, and if you were watching, you know that they could have used some easy buckets. When the Clippers were behind by 7, shooting barely over 30% with 5 minutes to go, why wouldn't you cut the guy loose? What's the worst that could happen? If the team turned the ball over or took a bad shot, at least they would do it quickly. Running 20 seconds off the shot clock before missing yet again certainly wasn't working. I'm as disappointed as the next guy that, last night notwithstanding, Livingston hasn't become a great half-court point guard. But that's not what he should be anyway. He's a unique talent and he is most effective in the open court. I know it's not MDSr's style, but maybe he should think about adapting his style to the personnel he has rather than trading (Wilcox), benching (Maggette) or neutering (Livingston) his personnel to fit his style.