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From the Archives - Jazz 87, Clippers 86 (2/28/05)

Before I had a blog, I just had email.  I would send lengthy, unsolicited emails to friends (well, former friends technically) about my beloved Clippers.  We all know the Clippers record in Salt Lake City.  Back in the 04-05 season, the Clippers lost two games by 3 points combined.  Here is the email I sent to TimmyT after the second of those losses.  Oh, the email was entitled 'Stupid F***ing Clippers!'

Did you hear about Clippers-Jazz last night?  This one may be a new level of futility.....

If you saw SportsCenter, you know that Bobby Simmons missed an absolute lay up (not a driving layup, not a difficult layup, not an 'oh sh!t there's Kirilenko, he might block this, I better put it high' layup, an all by yourself make this and win the game layup) at the buzzer.  But there's just so much more to this story....

Let's start in the 3rd quarter.  The Jazz made 8 of there first 10 shots in the 3rd, and the Clippers 3 point half time lead had turned into a 5 point deficit.  But as often happens, the shooting evened out, and the Jazz missed their next 6.  The Clippers regained their 3 point lead with 8 straight.  

So, with a minute to go in the 3rd, on an 8-0 run, against a team that has missed 6 straight FG attempts, Rebraca fouls Keith McLeod 30 FEET FROM THE BASKET defending the pick and roll. Next Clipper possession, scramble for the rebound on the Clipper end, ball is loose on the floor, and instead of getting the ball or a jump ball, THEY FOULED MCLEOD 80 FEET FROM THE JAZZ BASKET.  So in the final minute of the quarter, they gave the lead back to an ice cold team that never got within 30 feet of their own basket.  Nice.

Fourth quarter, the first 6 Clipper points are scored by Quintin Ross and the next 4 are scored by Lionel Chalmers.  Now, you may be asking yourself any number of the following questions:

  1.  Who?
  2.  Huh?
  3.  WTF?
  4.  Why, in the 4th quarter of a close road game, with a chance to pull within 3 games of the final playoff spot, is your backcourt comprised of an undrafted rookie who played in Belgium last year, and a 2nd round draft pick rookie?  For fully 6 minutes of the 4th quarter!!!! This is the backcourt.  Again, one asks oneself, who, huh, WTF?
All of these are good questions.  I guess you just have to be thankful that they were there and scored those 10 points.  

After Ross and Chalmers stopped scoring, it got ugly.  

Next possession - shot clock violation - no shot.

Next possession, Kaman made a nice move for a layup.  The one bright spot in the quarter.

Next possession, Kaman dropped the ball off his foot out of bounds.

Next possession, Simmons made a desperation 23 foot 2 pointer with 1 second on the shot clock and Kirilenko in his face.  Total bailout, but they got 2 points.

Next possession, they got 3 great shots.  Kaman missed, Brand rebounded and Simmons missed, and Kaman had an easy rebound and put back.  For some reason, instead of grabbing the ball, and then going back up and dunking it, he decided to go with a one handed tip in, and missed.  He was all alone.  All he had to do was grab it and go back up and dunk it.  

Next possession, Brand missed.

OK, now there's 1:20 left, Jazz ball, one point lead.  Somehow, the Clippers have stayed within a point, despite their total offensive futility.  The Jazz are also pretty useless on offense (or I suppose you could attribute all of this to stellar defense - just kidding.)  With 4 on the shot clock, they miss - and get an offensive rebound.  New clock.  With 4 on the clock, they miss, and get an offensive rebound.  New clock.  With 4 on the clock, Okur is fouled in the act of shooting, the shot bounces around and goes in, he makes the free throw.  (Which makes them 21 for 21 from the line for the game, btw.)  So, from 1 down with 1:20 to go, they are now 4 down with 20 seconds to go the next time they get the ball.  I believe the word I am looking for is ouch.

Next possession, Maggette makes a jumper with his FOOT ON THE THREE POINT ARC.  (Down 4, if you're going to take a long jumper, wouldn't you want to actually be behind the line?)

Foul, McLeod makes both free throws (23-23 as a team), 4 point lead.

Next possession, LA calls it's last timeout, and then Simmons makes a 3 with Kirilenko in his grill.  1 point game.  

6.5 seconds left, foul, McLeod MISSES BOTH FREE THROWS.  After making 23 straight, they miss 2.  What, in fact, are the odds?

Clippers get the rebound, no timeouts, Brunson goes the length of the court, almost loses control of the ball, regains it, feeds Simmons under the basket.  Bunny.  Miss.  Ballgame.

Here's the 4th quarter scoring recap for the Clippers....

Ross - 6
Chalmers - 4
Kaman - 2
Maggette - 2 (desperation 2 that should have been a 3 with 12 seconds left)
Simmons - 5 (desperation 2 with shot clock winding down, desperation 3 with 7 seconds left in the game)
Brand - 0 (0 for 2 shooting)

They didn't deserve to win this one.  No way.  And yet they should have, at least at the end.  

You have to have a 'go to' guy (or guys) in close games.  The Clippers 3 leading scorers scored a total of 7 points, all on bad shots, in the fourth quarter.