You had to see this one coming. The Warriors were going to win a game some day, and the Clippers haven't played well enough lately to beat any team not coached by Isiah Thomas. Three point shooting kept them in the game for awhile, but let's face it - if the Warriors are dominating the paint against the Clippers, the final outcome is pretty much a given.
Andris Biedrins really bolstered his case for a Kaman-esque contract next year. Then again, Patrick O'Bryant played so well that they may decide Biedrins is expendable. Patdris O'Briedrins combined for 33 points and 22 rebounds (and 11 fouls, just to continue the pattern - it did take them one more than 44 minutes).
Biedrins is in many ways the anti-Kaman. The vast majority of his makes are quick release shots after receiving passes around the rim - he almost never makes a 'move' per se (although he did have one nice up and under tonight - and ironically he missed the shot). It would be nice if Kaman were able to react like that and score without thinking, but Chris tends to over think everything, and he also tends to miss shots when he reacts.
The Warriors have a lot of playmakers on their roster, even without Stephen Jackson. Baron Davis, Matt Barnes, Monta Ellis, Al Harrington - these guys can all create shots for themselves and for others. The best of the bunch tonight was Barnes. He finished with 8 assists, and five of those were for layups and dunks for Patdris O'Briedrins. Barnes played 10 minutes in the first game between these two teams - he played 42 in this one. And he made a huge difference.
For the fourth game in a row, the Clippers were killed on the boards. Minus 13 against the Knicks is bad - minus 9 against the Warriors is dismal.
Clearly MDsr was not happy with Corey Maggette's defense tonight. Maggette had 13 points in the first quarter, 17 at halftime, and finished with 22, along with 12 rebounds, 5 assists and only 1 turnover. And he only played 29 minutes (only 10 in the second half), his fewest in any game this season. Maybe I've got a blind spot, but I didn't see it. Corey's never great on D, but I saw no overwhelming reason to take the team's best offensive weapon off the floor.
Speaking of the offense, they need something other than 'pass around the perimeter until someone shoots a three' against zone defenses. I know a lot of NBA coaches don't like to play zone, but I can't imagine why you wouldn't against the Clippers, assuming you want to win. The only player on the roster who is remotely capable of penetrating is Brevin Knight, and he is such a bad shooter and finisher that you can ignore him on the perimeter and play him for the pass all the way. Why they can't get an entry pass to Kaman to try to work inside out against the zone is a mystery to me, but they can't. It's strictly passes around the perimeter until someone shoots. At least the threes were falling for three quarters - but it was taking better than 50% shooting from distance just to keep the Warriors within single digits. Once the threes stopped falling in the fourth, it rout was on.
It's a testament to how my expectations for Kaman have changed, that he can have a night of 20 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocked shots and I'm extremely disappointed. For one thing, Mr. Flippy was back missing layups. He was 5 for 16 on the game, and he would have been over 50% if he'd just made his bunnies. Besides let's face it - he was outplayed by O'Briedrins. Some of it wasn't his fault - he had to challenge the penetrator time and again, leaving his man alone near the basket. But he has to dominate the center matchup for the Generic Clippers to win games, and he did not tonight.
A few more random thoughts:
- Ruben Patterson can't dribble, and he can't shoot free throws - both of which are important skills for a basketball player, as it happens. In his defense, it's possible that his dislocated finger is affecting his ballhandling, but right now he's a trainwreck with the ball in his hands.
- Anyone else wondering why Mobley was hobbling around out there in the last two minutes, with the Warriors up 15 or more? He's clearly not yet 100%, and MDsr has him on the floor for garbage time. That was weird.
- Four point plays are pretty rare, right? There were three times in this game where a shooter made a three and was fouled - Harrington for the first bucket of the game, and then Tim Thomas and Matt Barnes on consecutive possessions in the third quarter. Barnes missed his free throw, so we only had two actual four point plays in the game.
- Al Thornton left the game in the third quarter after turning his ankle. We didn't see what happened on the broadcast, so it's hard to say how serious it is.
So now it's back to LA to face Chicago, another team desperate for a win. I suppose it's good to be meeting these playoff teams while they're slumbering - but it could be bad if they all wake up against the Clippers.