You may have noticed that I haven't posted as frequently in the last couple of weeks as I normally do. There are a number of reasons for this - I went camping with ClipperZoe and the Brownies last weekend, I did a little canyoneering this weekend, and of course with no Clippers involved in All Star Weekend, there just wasn't any Clipper news to speak of.
But it's more than that. Losing 6 of 7 prior to the break, watching Maggette commit Clipper-career-suicide in New York, the simple fact that we're over 100 days into the season and this team STILL hasn't played well... I'm mildly distraught.
Now of course I've been through tough times with the Clippers before. The 01-02 Clippers were 36-33 on March 21st before losing 10 of their final 13. The 02-03 team is the most reminiscent of this team - following up a strong season with a young talented core of players returning, only to end up being a major disappointment. Of course the 02-03 team had a couple of excuses - their top seven scorers were all in contract years, and they had major injury problems as well. (Looking at the games played I did a double take thinking it might have been some sort of strike-shortened season - one player on the roster played as many as 80 games, and only two played as many as 70.) This team doesn't really have an excuse - unless we're still talking about Moscow, and that was 4 months ago. We really need to get over that.
Of course in the past I wasn't blogging about the Clippers. Sure, I'd talk about them to anyone who would listen and spam my friends with Clipper updates; but no one cared if I stopped doing that - in fact they were all quite relieved. Invariably, at some point in the season my commentary devolved to muttering `Stupid effing Clippers' under my breath whenever I heard the word - even if it was simply the ClipperWidow looking for an implement to trim her nails. Only I didn't say effing.
But now I'm a blogger and my contract (stupid effing contract) says I have to post about the Clippers. And quite frankly, I can't remember being this depressed about the team; certainly there have not been these high expectations before. It's one thing to resign one's self to missing the playoffs when that's what happens every year. But when the team was supposed to be challenging for a decent seed... voice trailing off... barely audible sigh.
Recent events have conspired to rejuvenate my recently dormant inferiority complex. These include:
- No All Star selection for Elton Brand.
- No Clippers in Las Vegas in any capacity.
- A fresh-for-the-All-Star-game Gatorade commercial featuring DWade blowing by Livingston and posterizing Paul Davis. (This probably deserves its own post - what is Livingston's agent thinking? Why are CP3 and Tony Parker balling in the hangar with nine All Stars while Livingston is playing Washington General to Wade's Globetrotter? Wasn't Livingston supposed to be the next great young point guard?)
- Doug Christie opting for unemployment over even one more game with the Clippers. (I have literally never seen this happen before, where a player on a 10 day says `Thanks but no thanks.' After years of Clippers jokes, the team has gone from game 7 of the conference semis to punchline again. Ron Harper compared his Clipper career to doing prison time. Well, Christie would rather hawk DVD's of his bizarre marriage than play for the Clippers. Prison would be a step up.)
- 0-4 this season against the Raptors and Hawks.
- Finally, I wrote an 'All Star Break' checkpoint on the Clippers and the Lakers for about.com, which of course made me come to grips with my slogan. (It's not posted there yet, but look for it.)
The season re-commences tonight, and the Clippers are still within a half game of 8th place in the West. The Suns will probably win, but the five games after that are very winnable, so the team will undoubtedly continue to tease us by staying in the playoff picture at least for awhile. I guess the good news, if there is any, is that March and April will make or break this team. With 11 of the final 23 games against the Spurs, Rockets, Mavs, Nuggets, Jazz, Suns, Lakers and Pistons, the team will either have to start playing well, or fall completely out of the race.
But who am I kidding? Did I think life as a Clipper blogger was going to be lived in a luxury suite in the NBA Finals? They're still the Clippers, and somehow, they seem to know that. It's in the DNA. So, I'll be sitting in the 300's, hoping and praying to make the playoffs, hoping that everything comes together at the right time, even though it never does (last season notwithstanding).
I guess this is just life in ClipsNation.