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Clippers 97 - Kings 87

Obviously a much-needed win for the Clippers, snapping a seven game losing streak.  The second half was reminiscent of the good old days, back 30 days ago when the Clippers were 4-0.  After trailing by 9 at halftime, the Clippers outscored the Kings 56-35 in the second half.  

Coming in Sacramento, where the Clippers had lost 17 in a row before finally breaking through in their last trip to the capital, it's even sweeter.  

Prime Ticket showed a graphic in the first quarter contrasting the Clippers during their 4-0 start and since.  During the first 4 games of the season, they were scoring points, shooting a decent percentage, and outrebounding teams.  Well, tonight's 47.9% from the field is the best they've shot since the first game, and they won the battle of the boards 47-40 (though they did give up 7 offensive rebounds to their old pal Mikki Moore).  

I mused in the preview that Kaman might have a pretty good game - let's see how that turned out.  A career high 26 on 9 for 12 shooting, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks.  Yeah, that's a pretty good game.  He turned into the lane with his left hand more tonight than I've ever seen him do that.  He really has an astounding array of moves for a guy that size.  We've seen the promise, and it's nice to see it coming to fruition.  He's doing a much better job of handling double teams, he's making good passes, and the 15 footer looks great.  At the beginning of the season we were wondering if he would be able to command an occasional double team.  At this point, no one would dare play single coverage on this guy.  The only question is when and how you double him.  If anything, he may be too unselfish at this point.  I'm not sure I want him passing out to Brevin Knight, no matter how open the guy is.  I'll take my chances with Kaman against two guys.  Let's see if we can get him more than 12 shots.

There was other good news in this game as well.  Ruben Patterson was a solid contributor in the Clippers' first two wins this season, but he's been a non-factor or worse for the most part since then.  Tonight, in a game where the Clippers needed him to body up on Ron Artest some, we saw the high energy Patterson and he provided a major boost.  His 4 steals resulted in easy buckets, and he also had 5 rebounds in 22 minutes.  I still don't think I can take him in large doses, but if he plays like he did tonight he can help this team.

Cat Mobley missed his only two shots of the first half, and I thought to myself, "Here we go again."  Then he came out and went 5 for 5 in the second half.  What a difference when for the team when guys are making shots!  During the broadcast Ralph said that before the game Cat told him he's finally starting to feel good.  It's anecdotal, but let's hope it's true, and we can see some more stretches of 5 straight makes.  I pointed out last week that in November the Clippers were 6-0 in games where Cat shot over 43% (his career percentage) and 0-8 when he shot under.  Well, 4 games into December the pattern is still holding.  7-0 when he's over 43%, 0-11 when he's under.  

There are a still a handful of sub-.500 opponents coming up before the schedule turns nasty towards the end of the month.  As the walking wounded begin to inch closer to 100% (Mobley, Patterson, Maggette, Knight, Thornton and Dickau have all been playing hurt) it will be interesting to see if the Clippers can sustain the form of the second half, the form of the first 4 games.