The Clippers led this one by 9 after one quarter, by 22 at halftime and by 33 after three quarters. At one point they led by 37, their biggest lead in a game this season.
It is my understanding that the Sonics had won four of their last six games prior to this one, but it's hard to figure how that could be. They looked a lot like a team with one elite player, and a bunch of role players around him, which is what they are. The Clippers have Quinton Ross, Cat Mobley and Shaun Livingston to throw at Ray Allen. Tonight, they held him to 15 points on 5 for 11 shooting, and there's simply no way the Sonics can overcome that. Not with Rashard Lewis hurt.
Unfortunately, I can't bring myself to get very excited about this game. I'm glad the team came out with energy, played defense and protected the ball (with the exception of four traveling calls in the second quarter when the refs seemed to be paying MDSr back for bitching about walking non-calls on the other end), but it just begs the question of what happened against Minnesota.
Nonetheless, there are a couple of things that must be said. Sam Cassell scored 21 points on 6 for 11 shooting. He was 5 for 5 on threes, and his sixth make was supposed to be a three, but his toe was on the line. So he finished the game 6 for 6 from 23 feet and beyond, 0 for 5 from 15 feet and in. Go figure. Sam is now 19 for 40 shooting the three in January with the traditional ball (© Michael Smith) after beginning the season 4 for 28. In 10 games he has raised his three point percentage from 14% to 34%. It makes a big difference. Having two and sometimes three legitimate deep threats on the floor is a significant improvement.
Chris Kaman is a rebounding machine, particularly on the defensive end, when he wants to be. The Kaveman (I don't like this particular sobriquet, but it fits tonight) had 15 rebounds in 24 minutes, 13 on the defensive end. Basically, he rebounded everything that came near him - no one else had a chance. I remember many similar games from last season, but few this season. We need more of them.
Note to MDSr and Corey Maggette: if the plan is to pad Corey's numbers with garbage time minutes, maybe we want to rethink that. Let's face it, Corey is only really effective on offense when he is taking the ball hard to the basket, and he doesn't want to (really shouldn't) do that in garbage time. Maybe it's a good time for him to work on his jump shot, but 0 for 10 in the fourth quarter is not really going to get him a lot of 6th Man Award votes.
At least we got our (8) back.