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Clippers at Jazz - Game Preview and Open Thread

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LA Clippers logo
vs.
Jazz logo
0-2 1-0
Energy Solutions Arena
November 1, 2008 - 6:00 PM
TV: Prime Ticket
Probable starters:
Baron Davis PG Ronnie Price
Cuttino Mobley SG Ronnie Brewer
Al Thornton SF C.J. Miles
Tim Thomas PF Carlos Boozer
Chris Kaman C Mehmut Okur

The Big Picture:

And so it begins. The Baron Davis era has begun for the Clippers, not with a bang but a thud. The thud of him landing hard on his hip under the basket against Denver. So exactly 41 minutes of playing time into his Clippers career, Baron will likely miss at least tonight's game in Utah, if not more. The team meanwhile has begun the season 0-2, and philosophers the world over are debating whether it's worse to lose by 38, or to lose in overtime after holding an 18 point halftime lead.

The Antagonist:

The Jazz will also be without a superstar point guard as Deron Williams continues to recover from a sprained ankle suffered in pre-season. They managed to win their opener in a close one against those same Nuggets the Clippers just lost to. Since the Clippers were in control of that game while Baron was playing, I'd have been inclined to say they could beat the Jazz with him. But I don't see how they can beat anyone without him. The Jazz still have three recent all stars in their front court in Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmut Okur.

The Subplots

  • Starting at Point Guard for the Clippers, Jason Hart. When Sam Cassell and Shaun Livingston were both hurt, the Clippers picked Hart up off of waivers in March. Hart was the starter in 22 of the Clippers' final 23 games that season and did a decent job for the team. But he's no starter. He doesn't create anything on offense and he can't make an open jump shot. He was 1 for 5 against the Nuggets last night, and the Clippers could really have used one more bucket in that one. But with Baron Davis out, the choice is Hart or rookie Mike Taylor, who will get plenty of minutes in Utah. We may even see Eric Gordon at the point some. But there's no question about who MDsr is going to start.
    Boozer is a beast. Boozer usually kills the Clippers, and especially this front line of Kaman and Thomas. He's too strong for Thomas, and too clever for Kaman. I expect him to go for about 30.
  • Who can score? Tim Thomas and Al Thornton carried the Clippers against the Nuggets after Baron left the game. Without Baron on the floor, there's no one really to create offense for others, so it's Thomas and Thornton looking to use their one-on-one skills in isolation. Unfortunately for Al, he's going to find out that Andrei Kirilenko is a slightly better defender than Linas Kleiza.
    Mr. Flippy. OK, 15 rebounds and 4 blocked shots is a lot better. Now let's work on dunking the damn ball.
    The other Davises. In two games, Ricky Davis is now 2 for 9 in 39 total minutes and has looked tentative and frankly lost. Which is not what I was expecting. The Clippers went 8 minutes in the fourth quarter Friday without a basket - they are absolutely desperate for some offense right now - and Ricky Buckets would seem to be the guy who has to step in to fill the void. Paul Davis on the other hand looked OK against Denver. He got the call before Brian Skinner and responded pretty well. Utah's front line isn't the Lakers - so Paul should be the first big off the bench again.
    DeAndre Jordan, on the active list. If you're looking for the silver lining, look no further. The fact that the Clippers two huge off-season acquisitions and their two highest paid players are injured for this game means that DeAndre Jordan gets to suit up for a regular season game for the first time. Which is definitely good news for DeAndre. And his mom, probably. It's not good news for pretty much anyone else.