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Spurs 93 - Clippers 84

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The Spurs have now beaten the Clippers in all four of their meetings this season.  The margins of victory have been, in order, 29 points, 22 points, 14 points and 9 points.  It is a simple geometric progression that proves that the Spurs do NOT want any part of the Clippers in the playoffs.  They might win the first game, but the trend clearly indicates that the Clippers would win the next 4, take the series 4-1, and embarrass the Spurs by 25 or so in the final game.

Now they just have to get into the playoffs.

Although as Ralph said it is too late in the season for moral victories, there were at least some positive signs for the Clippers.  They executed well on offense and got good shots throughout most of the game.  They ended up shooting 49.4%, and that included numerous misses of open looks.  Elton Brand had a mini-breakout from his mini-slump, with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 blocks, and he made a few jumpshots for the first time in a couple weeks.  

The bad news is that for the second game in a row, the Clippers simply did not get to the free throw line:  I thought 17 attempts against the Pistons was anemic - they had only 7 attempts in this game .  The fact that they missed 4 of them was just adding insult to injury.  The refs aren't helping them, but neither are the Clippers helping themselves by taking the ball to the basket aggressively.  Zero free throw attempts for Elton Brand is not acceptable.

The really bad news is that Sam Cassell sat out again.  With only five weeks left in the season, it's now been almost two weeks since Sam pulled a groin muscle at the end of February.  He hasn't been close to 100% in those two weeks, and if it has taken this long, there's no telling how much longer it will take.  Jason Hart has done an admirable job considering that he's been a Clipper for all of a week now, but Jason Hart is not Sam Cassell.  It's almost unimaginable that the Clippers could make a successful push to the playoffs with neither of their top two point guards.

The team is now 29-34, tying their low water mark of the season at 5 games under .500.  And yet the remain in 8th place in the West.  Sacramento could have tied them with a win, and the Hornets could have come within a half game, but both teams lost.  Minnesota managed a win over the free-falling Indiana Pacers but even that is arguably good news for the Clippers if they want two first round picks this summer.

Golden State is the big winner on the evening, now sitting alone in the ninth position, a mere half game behind the Clippers.  With two more days off, the Warriors may well be in the 8 spot before they have to play another game.