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Clippers 103 - Suns 99

The Clippers got their biggest win of the year in the biggest game of the year, and all I can think about is Jose Juan Barea.

Avery Johnson will definitely NOT be receiving a Christmas card from ClipsNation this year.  You know, I have seen teams intentionally try to avoid winning when it directly benefited them, as with the Clipper/Grizzlie tank-fest last season.  I've seen teams rest their stars in games where the outcome did not matter to anyone in the league.  But I can't recall a more egregious example of a team losing a game where the outcome so directly affected a third team.  I mean, don't you have an obligation to the league as a whole to make SOME effort?

Karma, of course, is a bitch.  And so, evidently, is Avery Johnson.  At any rate, Dallas' disrespectful actions may come back to bite them in the playoffs.  If the Warriors get past Portland tomorrow night, they absolutely deserve to lose to the Dubs in the first round - the fact that they've now lost 5 straight to the Warriors indicates that karma will have the weapons it needs.

Maurice Ager this.

As for the Clippers-Suns, we remember these kinds of games.  We saw a bunch of them last season.  Clippers win the battle of the boards 49-37 (including 20 offensive rebounds), Clippers win the game.  It's pretty much that simple.

The Suns missed some shots - they're only beatable when they do.  The Clippers played good enough defense and hustled, but still, the Suns are capable of making a lot of the shots they missed tonight.  They're too good on offense, with lots of weapons and imaginative schemes - they're always going to get looks.  If they make them, they win.  If they miss some, you have a chance.

It's interesting to note that the Clippers managed the victory without anyone having a monster game.  Tim Thomas hit 4 threes, which helped, and Brand had a nice enough night on offense with 21 points.  But this was a group effort - the seven who played real minutes scored between 9 and 21 points.  That's good balance.

I sure do like it better when Ross plays 44 minutes than when he plays 15.  The fact that he also makes shots is just a bonus.  Now, I know that I'm the guy behind the Play Corey campaign, and many people think those two guys are mutually exclusive.  But I've long said that Cat Mobley's minutes should be reduced in favor of more minutes for Maggette (first half of the season) and Ross (second half of the season).  MDsr is hesitant to be without his blanket, but not having him on the floor didn't keep the Clippers from winning tonight.  (I'm not really Cat-bashing.  I like the guy fine.  But I've never understood the whole 37 minutes a game thing while Corey is getting 30.  It just doesn't make sense.)

So because of Avery Johnson bitchosity, the Clippers must now hope and pray that Brandon Roy and the Trailblazers can have the game of their lives tomorrow night and come up with an upset.  And of course they'll also have to beat the Hornets.