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Clippers 112 - Grizzlies 91

OK, so I'm sorry this game recap is so late.  I was canyoneering with ClipperMax and ClipperZoe in the San Gabriels today.  ClipperZoe is 7, and this is the first time she's gotten to go.  Just so you know, you haven't really lived until you've seen your 7 year old daughter hanging from a rope on a 50 foot cliff with a huge smile on her face.  I'm getting a little choked up just thinking about it.

So, anyway, I have a good excuse.  But where have the rest of you been?  I come home, stay away from the interwebs so as not to see the result of the game, fire up the TiVo, and watch the Clippers play their best basketball in a LONG time.  Then when I come here to post a recap, I find that my readership has all died.  You're telling me none of you could be bothered to put a comment on the preview thread?  I know it's a day game, I know it's a weekend.  But c'mon people.  There's no i in 'online community'.  OK, well, as it happens, there are 2 i's in 'online community' but there's no 'a'.  You can't argue with that.

The Clippers won this game in the second quarter.  In fact, Memphis outscored or tied LA in each of the other 3 quarters, but the Clippers won the second by 27, 39 to 12.  That was the game.  The Clippers shot 16 for 24 in the period, committed a single turnover, and grabbed 3 offensive rebounds.  So 5 defensive rebounds for the Grizz and 1 turnover adds up to 6 empty trips the entire quarter for the Clippers.  No wonder they scored 39 points.  For good measure, they were also 7 for 7 from the line in the quarter, which included three and-one's in a span of 5 possessions.

Some other random thoughts on this game:

  • Listening to Sam bark out orders during the game really provides a sharp contrast to Shaun Livingston.  I mean, during the telecast, you can hear Sam's voice on pretty much every play.  He must get hoarse yelling 'Horse'.  But have you ever heard Livingston on a basketball court?  Of course he's young, and not everyone has to be a vocal leader.  And Sam probably gets really annoying after awhile, which may explain why he never stays on a team very long.  But it's an astounding contrast in styles.
  • I said that someone other than Brand would have to have a big game, and Cassell stepped up with 21 points and 14 assists (after 13 assists on Wednesday, the two highest assist totals for the team this season).  No one else scored more than 12, but then again, Elton went for a season-high 34.  
  • Brand was unstoppable.  And he told Alexander Johnson as much, running down the floor early in the fourth quarter.  EB got a well-deserved T for the trash talk, but it was great to see him playing with that kind of passion.  Let's face it - if they guy were a little meaner, he could dominate the league.
  • I thought Corey Maggette played a nice game, despite very un-Corey offensive numbers (11 points on 4 for 11 shooting, 3 for 6 from the line).  Still, he rebounded well (9 in 32 minutes), he played good defense, and he only turned the ball over once.  The fact that he was called for carrying the ball, meaning that he did not have a single charge or errant pass on the game, is a victory in itself.  It should also be noted that Corey's defense has been pretty good in the last three games.  Not only has he made some spectacular blocks and steals, but he's also been more solid both on and off the ball.
  • Paul Davis looked better than he has this season.  He wasn't hitting his jumper (1 for 4), but he grabbed 6 rebounds (2 on the offensive galss) in 16 minutes, and made some really nice passes from the high post.  Having a center who can pass is underrated in this league.  I hadn't seen it before, so it may have been a fluke.  But I'm hoping he's just feeling more comfortable out there, which gave us a chance to see some more of his skills.
  • The team assist numbers of the last two games have been terrific (37 Wednesday against the Warriors and 33 against the Grizz).  Obviously, these are not good defensive teams, and teams are going to get more assists when the score more points.  And against the Warriors zone, you need to have more assists, since it's difficult to impossible to play one-on-one against a zone.  But 33 assists on 46 field goals against the Grizz is excellent.  It's Jazz-y.  It's triangular.  It means the Clippers are playing better team basketball.  (And it also means the Sam-Elton pick-and-roll is back, at least today.)

So that's 2-0 on the homestand so far with three to go.  The competition hasn't exactly been the elite of the NBA, but fortunately it doesn't get that much tougher, with the Bucks, Nets and T-Wolves coming to town.