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Nuggets 123 - Clippers 107

I don't really have a lot to say about this game.  I don't like the Nuggets, but Allen Iverson and Carmelo Antony can score the ball.  Then, if JR Smith makes his first 5 threes (and Yakhouba Diawara makes 2 for 2 and Eduardo Najera makes one to end the first quarter, etc. etc.) they're going to be pretty tough to beat.  Still, the Clippers did not go about it the right way.

  • Chris Kaman was limited to 34 minutes by foul trouble, but still, he certainly needs more than 7 shots.  In fact, three of those shots (and half of Kaman's 16 points) came in the final 5 minutes, after the Clippers were behind by 20, after the game was decided.  He got 4 shots while the outcome was in doubt.  While being guarded by 6'8" guys.
  • Games can turn on small things.  The foul called on Kaman with 26 seconds left in the first quarter had a huge impact on this one.  The Clippers were down 3 with the ball, and Kaman was whistled for an offensive foul while wrestling with Najera for position (a dubious call to say the least).  Kaman sits, Najera makes a three to close the first, Smith makes a three to open the second (6 points in 20 seconds) and the Clippers are down 9.  Kaman spends the rest of the game in foul trouble, and the Clippers never get closer than 5.
  • Not to belabor the point, but that second foul was pretty significant.  If he finishes the first quarter with one personal foul (and all other things being equal, which I know is crap, but bear with me) then the rest of the game he is never in foul trouble.  He doesn't pick up his third in the second quarter, he doesn't pick up his fourth in the third quarter, and MDsr rests him when he chooses, not when he has to.  When Kaman went to the bench in the third, the Clippers were down 14.  The Williams-Thomas-Maggette-Mobley-Knight unit subsequently on the floor went almost three minutes without a bucket - without anything close to a bucket really.  They missed 4 jumpers and turned the ball over twice on their next 6 possessions.  They were lucky to only fall behind 20 at that point.

  • Cat Mobley is hurt.  Please, FSM, tell me that Cat Mobley is hurt.  Because if he's this bad, he really needs to be hurt.  In that brutal third quarter, the Clippers went to Mobley six times in a span of 5 minutes - about every other possession.  He responded with 1 make, 4 misses and a turnover.  That's fine, guys have off nights and bad stretches.  You just never know.  Except for that we did know.  He was 1 for 5 with 2 turnovers in the first half.  He was 2 for 7 the game before that.  He was 5 for 15 the game before that.  He was 1 for 5 the game before that.  He's hurt.  He can't shoot.  Why go to him over and over and over?  Plus/minus is a deceptive statistic, but Mobley's rings true tonight - minus 18 in 28 minutes.

  • A corollary; Quinton Ross played 18 minutes in this game - 12 of them in the fourth quarter, which the Clippers entered trailing by 18.  I realize that the team has severely limited options on offense, thus forcing them to go to Mobley.  But wouldn't it be better to have Ross out there some more in the case where Mobley is so clearly less than 100%?  I mean, at least Ross isn't going to burn so many possessions.  (Let's face it - these are lose-lose choices.  With Cassell out, Mobley ineffective and Kaman on the bench, you're left with Maggette trying to create and everyone else hoisting jump shots.)

  • Maggette's shot chart is not at all what you would expect.  He had 26 points to lead the Clippers, on 10 for 20 shooting.  But he only shot 6 free throws, and he scored mostly on jump shots.  It was pretty clear he wasn't going to get many calls from the first quarter.  If he had, the way his jumper was going, he might have gone for 40.

  • Al Thornton looked good in his 12 minutes, scoring 11 points.  He looked much more comfortable, and much more aggressive on offense.  He had a beautiful move and dunk wiped away in the fourth quarter by an offensive foul (the right call, it was a blatant hook).  Unfortunately, MDsr would not allow Maggette or Thornton to defend against Carmelo, which meant the two of them could not play together.  It sure seems like Thornton could have tried his hand at the four tonight.

That's about all I have the stamina for right now.  Hopefully I'll have some thoughts on the Clippers 6-8 month of November prior to the Pacers game.  6-8 is better than expected in the big picture.  But 2-8 in the last 10 is a different story.