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Kings 105, Clippers 100

I'm not going to lead with the "it's over" thing.  Everyone was saying it was over when the Clippers lost to the Hornets last week, and of course it wasn't over.  And sure, we need help now, but the Lakers may be just bad enough to provide that help, or the Mavs may play hard against the former coach and provide some help.  So it's not over.  Not yet.  But it should be.  It deserves to be.

After that Hornets loss, there was a discussion of the worst Clipper losses season.  Given that we will miss the playoffs by at most three games and likely fewer, it seems relevant.  (Bear in mind also that every team suffers bad and embarrassing losses every year - still, it's fun to wallow.)  Losing a 9 point lead in the final 5 minutes in Minnesota was bad.  Losing to Toronto without Chris Bosh at home was bad.  Losing to Atlanta at any time anywhere was bad.  

But the really bad losses are the ones when you know you need it.  Look, the NBA season is LOOOONNNGGGGG.  Way too long.  RedSilvia's plan for a 29 game season where every team plays every other team exactly once has yet to receive official approval from the league office.  So it's inevitable that a team is just going to come out flat in some games.  It's why San Antonio can lose to Charlotte in San Antonio in November.  But it's one thing to lose in November, and quite another to lose on April 15 when a loss likely means you're out of the playoffs.

This team has had an astounding lack of urgency about it all season.  Like I said, the season is long, but sometimes you know that games are big.  Way back on January 27, the Clippers played the Wolves in a game that was clearly big.  Ignoring the fact that the Wolves have since faded, at the time they appeared to be a legitimate contender for the playoffs, and the Clippers needed that game not just for the win, but also to win the season series with Minny.  Now, it would be one thing if no one realized it at the time - but they knew it.  MDsr said it before the game.  The team proceeded to come out and play a completely lifeless game and lost.  It's happened repeatedly - the team just doesn't show up for big games way to frequently.

Like today for instance.

How can you play in such an uninspired manner with three games left in the season and your playoff aspirations in the balance?  How can you let a long rebound hit the floor and result in three points for the opposition?  Without going after the ball?  TWICE?  How can you leave players unguarded under the basket time and again?  How can you allow the opposition, playing for nothing but pride, to get every loose ball?  It's all disconcerting in the extreme.

The Clippers lost to Francisco Garcia and Quincy Douby and John Salmons and Justin Williams.  Seriously, who the FUCK is Justin Williams?  Bio says he went to Wyoming.  So there's that.

There are so many things I could rant about.

  • Corey's 7 turnovers - most of them of the just plain careless variety.  

  • Chris Kaman's blown layups.  The guy goes 3 for 8, and I clearly remember three misses that were absolute layups.  People think his shooting percentage from last season was an anomaly, but if he made HALF of his layups, he'd be shooting that this year.  And by the way, a blown layup is more than a blown layup - it affects the whole team when they run a play well and some lummox can't finish.

  • The refs - can someone explain to me how it is possible to commit an offensive foul with your arm when both hands are on the ball and you're in your shooting motion?  And how is it possible that three touch fouls get called on consecutive possessions in the final two minutes?  I thought the refs let the players decide the game at the end.

But what's the point?  The team's total lack of energy in the first half was the reason they lost.  Sure, it might have been different in the end if Garcia doesn't make 4 threes - but if you let a team build a 20+ point lead, then you put them in a position to win the game on a couple of decent possessions down the stretch.  Garcia's three over Brand at 4:58 was unlikely in the extreme, but it only takes a couple such shots to secure the victory when you've built a big lead on the back of your opponent's apathy.

I came back from my vacation for this?