Clippers 91 - Wolves 82 Happy(?) New Year

Well I had one recap all written in my head.  It was indeed profanity-laden as promised and a story of complete ineptitude.  Instead the Clippers managed to defeat the worst team in the NBA.  Yay.

For about 37 minutes last night the Timberwolves were the better team.  After an initial spark to start the game, the Clippers went into a deep slumber until the start of the 4th quarter.  Entering the frame trailing by 11, they began the 4th on a 15-0 run ended, naturally, by Clipper Darryl starting the wave.  After a bit of a stumble, the Clippers put together another 8-2 bit and Minnesota subbed in Antoine Walker in the traditional indication of surrender.

The Good:

  • Chris Kaman not only put up 16 and 16, but he was massively efficient in doing so.  Taking only seven shots, due to a defense totally keyed on stopping him using a defender on his back and a second fronting at times and a stifling zone at others, he fought off the double and triple teams to have as many assists as turnovers (two) and threw in five blocks while defending the oppositions best player.  Why not?  Not in the box score: Telfair on a mini-break isolated on Chris tries to attack the basket only to get called for a classic carry.  The difference in the game may have been Kaman being in a place to play 45 minutes versus Jefferson's 38.
  • Corey Maggette's first and fourth quarters.  Ignoring his total disappearing act in the middle of the match (0-3 1STL 1 TO in 9 minutes so ineffective he had to be subbed out to try Josh Powell), lets pretend he went 4-6 for 17 points.  Most importantly he was very aggressive and effective on the break to lead the charge to start the 4th.  No pull-ups.  The rim or bust.
  • Brevin Knight's jumper.  Still going in, against all odds.  It looks like it has definitively pushed Dickau to the end of the PG rotation.  He also led them down the stretch.  I don't want to hear any whining from Sam about it either.  He was whooping it up all the way home.
  • In fact all the Clippers shot well (56%) if we allow ourselves to ignore...

The Ugly:

  • The 3 ball eludes them.  0-14 last night.  Mobley and Frahm combined to miss 10.  For much of the game the Wolves did the obvious thing and sagged down into a zone and there was nothing the Clippers could do.  To start the second they went with a lineup that left Mobley playing the 4.  And they never really did solve it.  They couldn't get the ball to Kaman at all and he is only credited with two second half shots.  The corner turned on steals leading to fast break buckets and fouls and the refs deciding to finally call Doleac for his crap hacks on Kaman.

They never did decide to call Jefferson or Smith for the numerous defensive three second violations they were guilty of.  But I digress...

No, I'm digressing.  The officiating was pretty terrible.  Twice in the 4th quarter they ordered the Clippers ball out of bounds when the Wolves were clearly in the penalty.  Now I get how that could happen once.  But twice?  Not to mention the massive difference in what is a foul on Kaman versus what is a foul on anyone else.  Dude takes more hits this side of Shaq circa 2001.  But worst of all was a v-e-r-y slow whistle on a Jaric layup attempt.  He missed the shot, the Clippers had the rebound and were literally halfway back up the court before the call.  Now a foul was the right call, but what could he have been thinking about?  Pretty much just awful.

The rest:

  • Sam and Cat did what they do.  Frahm had a terrible shooting night but he had the highest plus/minus. Al looked pretty bad out there, but still better than Corey Spaz Brewer.  Powell looked sharper and Q hit 50% with 6REB and 3AST.

Should I say something else nice about Al Jefferson?  I suppose I should.  He led the Wolves with 23 and 15, but it took him 19 shots to get there.  He looked dominant offensively at times, but I remember at least four jumpers he hit, so really he couldn't have had more than five makes in the paint, as flashy as some of them were.  I think you take that.  He also didn't guard Kaman often, and never alone while Kaman had all of Jefferson as well has his normal help responsibilities.  I thought Kaman was the better player, Jefferson just had many more chances.  And it was Kaman's rebounding in the 4th that kept the runs alive.

Let's get in one more dig at Walker before we go.  He almost put up eight million and three, but he grabbed one rebound.

                       Min FG FG3  FT Reb Ast Blk Stl TO PF Pts
Antoine Walker 7.9 0-3 0-3 0-0 0-1   0   0   0    0    3  0  

Who needs Garnett?  Am I right?

Overall, a barely acceptable win to kick off the new year.  The Clippers are 10-19 for .345 ending 2007.  That puts them on pace to win 28 games.

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