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Clippers vs. Bulls - Game Preview and Open Thread

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LA Clippers logo
vs
Bulls logo
5-3 1-6
Staples Center
Nov. 17, 2007 - 7:30 PM
Probable starters:
Brevin Knight PG Kirk Hinrich
Cuttino Mobley SG Ben Gordon
Corey Maggette SF Luol Deng
Tim Thomas PF Andres Nocioni
Chris Kaman C Ben Wallace
The Big Picture:  

For the second night in a row, the Clippers face a 2007 playoff team desperate for a win.  The Warriors finally got their first win of the season against the Clippers last night in Oakland - can the Bulls get their second win of the season (and first on the road) in LA?  This is the second game of a 6 game road trip for the Bulls (they lost in Phoenix Thursday night).  The Clippers are 3-1 at home on the young season and need to continue to defend their home court if they hope to remain in the playoff race until Elton Brand returns.  The Clippers beat the Bulls 97-91 11 days ago in Chicago.

The Antagonist:  

The Bulls are a mess.  Kelly Dwyer sent an email to TrueHoop with his take as to why that is the case.  Clearly Ben Wallace is either hurt or simply done.  Ben Gordon is shooting 37% and Kirk Hinrich is even worse at 34%.  Obviously the Bulls are a perimeter team - but if their jump shooters are cold, they aren't going to win very many games.  And that's exactly what's happening right now.  They're going to bust out at some point (just like the Warriors).  Let's hope it's not tonight.

The Subplots

  • Will Cat Mobley miss a shot?  When these two teams met earlier this season, Cat went 10 for 10 in the first half en route to 33 points.  They needed all of those points too, especially the fade away over Hinrich with 80 seconds left.

  • Will Ben Gordon make a shot?  For whatever reason, Ben Gordon never plays well against the Clippers.  In seven career games, Gordon is 28 for 100 - I'm not sure what percentage that is, but I'm pretty sure it's not good.  He's literally never had a good game against LA.  There's a first time for everything, but not tonight.  28% for his career against the Clippers and 37% for the season - those are some ugly numbers.

  • Tweaking the starting lineups.  MDsr started Brevin Knight and Mobley in the first game - he wanted Knight matched up on Gordon, and he wanted Mobley's offense in the game to counter act Knight's lack there of.  I assume he'll do the same tonight.  Meanwhile, Scott Skiles inserted Andres Nocioni into the starting lineup in Phoenix Thursday night, and has implied that further tweaks may be forthcoming.  MDsr and Skiles are two of the biggest overthinkers in the NBA.  These guys should be coaching the CalTech team.

  • Back to Back.  The Clippers were improbably successful in the second game of back to backs last season - a season in which they weren't much good in any other situation.  So far this season, they are 1-0 in such games.  My theory is that they play more loosely when their overthinker coach has less time to pile plays and tendencies and strategies on them.  We'll see.

  • Update [2007-11-17 13:44:10 by ClipperSteve]: Injury update. Maggette and Thornton are both listed as doubtful for tonight's game. Given that Mobley is still slowed (and he played 30 minutes last night), this is very bad news for a thin Clippers' roster. Patterson and Ross will have to provide more than they have been. Maggette strained a hamstring against the Warriors (which explains why he only played 10 minutes in the second half) while Thornton turned a ankle.