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Lakers 522 - Clippers 4

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So, it turns out, that's not the actual final score. See, I don't know the actual final score. The game's still going on, but the Clipper Widow is watching the Dancing With the Stars elmination show from last night on the TiVo and I'm enjoying that MUCH more than the game.

Citizen ghost_ride commented earlier today that he thought a 10 point loss would be a moral victory, and citizen MadGlove pointed out that there are no moral victories. There are, however, moral defeats, as we saw tonight.

Seriously, it's just one game, and it doesn't matter whether you lose by 1 or 40 at the end of the season. And the simple fact of the matter is that the Lakers are very, very good, and the Clippers were unlikely to beat them tonight, playing essentially their first game together. So look at it this way - we only have to play those guys three more times.

But there was very little to like about this game from a Clippers point of view. Baron had a few nice moments in the first quarter. Oh, and Steve Novak can shoot. And that's it. That's all I got.

Here's what was not good:

  • Mr. Flippy. That game from Kaman scared the crap out of me. Because while we still spoke of Mr. Flippy last season, as it happens, he NEVER played that poorly all year. Not once. His worst game statistically (other than the Dallas game where he only played 12 minutes) was 10 points and 5 rebounds against the Sixers on March 3. So, yeah, we talked about the occasional Mr. Flippy sighting last year, but in fact he was pretty consistent in 07-08. Tonight was vintage 06-07 Kaman. Indecisive and ineffective. 8 points and 5 rebounds in 30 minutes, on 3 for 9 shooting and 4 turnovers. He got stuffed by Bynum on his first touch of the game, missed a layup, lost the ball several times, and basically did nothing positive for the team.
  • The second unit. Somehow - either because Mitch Kupchak is a genius, or Phil Jackson is a genius, or maybe Jerry Buss has a pact with the Devil - whatever the reason, the Lakers have a second unit that is better than most team's starters. So many teams' backups are going to look bad by comparison. The Clippers' starters, led by Baron, hung around for the first quarter. But with the score 33-32 Clippers, and Jason Hart, Steve Novak, Brian Skinner, Ricky Davis and Tim Thomas on the floor, the Lakers went on a 17-0 run and it was all over. And watching that unit try to run a coherent set was painful. Just brutal.
  • Rebounding. Obviously a healthy Marcus Camby should help here. But the Clippers, expected to be among the best rebounding teams in the league this season, were outrebounded in this game 51-32. Kaman got 5 boards and Thornton got 3. It was remarkably bad, and it would have been much worse without Tim Thomas, which tells you just how bad it was.

I could go on and on, but what's the point? It's early, the team didn't get a chance to play together in pre-season, there are going to be some rough patches early, even in the best case scenario. But win by a point in Denver and you're 1-1, despite the -37 in points for/points against.

By the way, how good are the Lakers? Well, they just beat the Clippers by 38, and that was with Gasol (13 points) and Bryant (16) being minor factors. In fact, take out Gasol's 3 for 10 and Kobe's 5 for 12, and the rest of the Lakers were 36 for 58 with 10 threes. That's a 62% shooting percentage, and a 71% effective shooting percentage.

Oh, and Cloris Leachman has FINALLY been eliminated on DWTS. So I got some good news during the game.