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Clippers 96 - Nuggets 95

Well, there are two ways to look at this one...  Above all, it's important to get the W of course, but man, it should NOT have been that tough against Denver without Carmelo.

It's good to win a game when Elton goes 4 for 9, 8 points, 6 rebounds, 0 free throws.

It's good to win a game when you're out-rebounded 56-38.

It's good to win a game when you're break-out talent, point guard of the future has 0 points and 4 turnovers (all 4 turnovers and two fouls were in the first quarter, by the way).

The question looming over all of this, is how did these things happen?  How did Elton Brand get 9 shots and 0 free throws?  How did the Clippers get out-rebounded by 18?  Nobody should ou-rebound the Clippers that way.

Sam Cassell and Tim Thomas, the old Milwaukee duo, saved the Clippers' bacon .  Why the Nuggets couldn't stay home on Thomas, when the Clippers had almost nothing good happening on offense, is a total mystery to me, as I'm sure it is to George Karl.  I mean, 3 clean looks in the final 3 minutes.  That's hard to figure.  

By the way, I guess this means that Kevin at Clipperblog is going to have to take back his "TT's not one of us" comments from the Suns game.  He's one of us now.  He was brought here to make big threes, and he delivered tonight.

A few more random thoughts...

  • When Cassell does his flailing, get the ref's attention thing, I often think to myself, "Man, he's risking a turnover there if he doesn't get the call."  Guess what?  He didn't get the call at the end, and it almost cost the game.  That was a stupid play.  He should have just gotten the ball into the front court and dribbled out the clock.  Denver would have fouled intentionally to stop the clock once he was in the front court.
  • J.R. Smith scored 21 points in his Nuggets debut, led the team in scoring, scored 5 huge points done the stretch and looked just AWFUL!  It was painfully obvious why Byron Scott hated this guy.  His defense was about as bad as I've seen in the NBA.
  • Former Pepperdine Wave Yakhouba Diawara played 22 minutes and played solid defense.  Unfortunately, he was 0-4, and the Clippers simply dared him to take those 4 shots.  Basically, Karl has one shooting guard who's all offense and no defense and one who's all defense and no offense.  Too bad it's not the NFL.
  • Marcus Camby is a monster:  16 points, 18 rebounds, 4 blocks.  I've said it before - this guy is Ben Wallace with a jump shot, and a different rep (for some reason).
  • Denver paid Nene $60M this summer, and then played him 15 minutes.  He had 10 points and 7 rebounds in those 15 minutes.  He looked really good.  Why would you not play him more than 15 minutes?  I mean, I know he's coming off a knee injury, but if he can play 15 minutes, he can play 24, right?
  • In an unusual development, Cat Mobley played fewer minutes (28) than Cassell (36), Thomas (31) or Maggette (29).  Maybe I'll have to stop calling him Blanket.
  • Corey looked good.  The jump shot isn't really clicking, but he's attacking the basket and getting to the line.  13 points on 6 shots.  He also had 7 rebounds.  Nice game.
  • Q hit 2 HUGE fourth quarter jumpers, his only 2 makes of the game.

Two games.  The team has not looked good yet, although some individuals have played well (Brand in Phoenix, Cassell and Thomas in LA).  It would be really nice to come out Saturday and actually play a decent game.