Two top Western Conference point guards, Baron Davis of the Clippers and Deron Williams of the Jazz, sustained pre-season injuries recently. They both went to specialists on Monday to determine the severity of the injuries. They both faced the possibility of missing the opening of the regular season.
Now, as Clipper fans, we feared the worst. Year after year, player after player, from Marques Johnson to Ron Harper to Danny Manning to Shaun Livingston to Elton Brand, the Clippers seemed to be cursed. So if you had to guess, based just on history, you'd think the news would be worse for the Clippers.
As it happens, Baron is supposed to be back on the court in a week, in time for the Clippers opener against the Lakers next Wednesday. Meanwhile, Williams will be out at least two weeks.
Now, two weeks is relatively good news for Jazz fans. Sprained ankles can be much worse than that, and if he's really back in two weeks he'll miss only a few games.
But in a strange stroke of good fortune, it just so happens that among the games he's likely to miss are a couple of matchups with the Clippers. Because in the murderer's row of early season opponents LA has the Jazz. Twice. The teams play a home and home 11/1in Salt Lake City and 11/3 in LA. That 11/3 game is exactly two weeks from today, so it's conceivable that Williams will play. But don't be surprised if the Jazz are conservative this early in the season. Now Utah will still be a tough opponent, but I for one would much rather face a team led by Brevin Knight than one led by Deron Williams.
These are the little things that can have a big impact on a season. You catch a tough opponent on an off night, on the second game of back-to-backs, or missing a key player, and you pick up a not-so-expected win. But of course it's still a win at the end of the season, and no one puts an asterisk by it. The Clippers will also face the Warriors sans Monta Ellis in game 9, so those are three gifts from the scheduling gods while the team is still getting to know each other.