The Utah Jazz have the best record in the NBA, a sizzling 16-5. When these two team played on November 14 in Salt Lake City, Utah took over a close game in the third quarter and embarrassed the Clippers.
As if that weren't enough, for the rematch, the Clippers may be without 4 of their top 8 players. Corey Maggette is listed as out, while Tim Thomas, Sam Cassell and Chris Kaman are all listed as questionable. According to Art Thompson III in the OCR:
So, those of you who have been longing to see Jumpin' James Singleton, Daniel Ewing and Paul Davis get more burn may get your wish tonight. Heck, there may even be a Y8K sighting.
As for Maggette's injury, the progression is interesting. He banged his knee on the 9th in the first half against Memphis. He returned to play the entire 4th quarter of that game, showing no ill-effects. The next day, he was listed as day-to-day for the Spurs game on the 11th. Now, he is listed as out, and Achilles tendinitis has been added to his catalogue of woes. Other than his changing injury status, there has been no news on the injury itself. What did he do to his knee? What caused the Achilles to flare up, if he hasn't played or practice since the 11th?
Back in the days of the injured list, when players could only be de-activated because of injuries, teams were forced to invent ailments for otherwise healthy guys at the end of the bench who were not in uniform. My personal favorite was Moochie Norris, who was put on the IL with 'Insomnia.' But by FAR the most popular non-injury is tendinitis. Everyone has it to one degree or another. Need a reason to miss a game? It's tendinitis! Most people go with the knees. I'll give Corey and the Clippers style points for choosing the Achilles.
The thing that HAS happened since the 11th is trade talk. Lots and lots of trade talk. Iverson went public with his trade demand, and presumably agent Rob Pelinka asked the Clippers to trade Maggette about the same time. It sure feels like we've seen the last of Corey in Clippers red-white-and-blue. He hasn't cleaned out his locker; they haven't removed him from the highlight reels (of course, they haven't removed Waltah McCarty from the highlight reels). But I don't expect him to play for the Clippers again.
Back to the Utah game. We'll find out tonight a little bit about MDSr. The Clippers have been humiliated in 2 of their last 3 games, including at home on Monday. They were humiliated by this Jazz team in November. If he can't motivate them for this game, he may have lost them. They need to show up for this one. They may be out-manned, and they may lose, but they have got to give the effort. In particular, if Carlos Boozer outplays Elton Brand again, I may weep. I would never have believed it, and I'm sure Coach K feels the same way. Boozer is a nice player. But there's NO WAY he should be better than Elton.