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New Jersey 112 - Clippers 95

In case anyone was out there asking the question, "Is there any downside to trading away your most reliable shooting guard without getting one in return?" this game is exhibit A.

When Cat Mobley was traded, Ricky Davis was shooting 29.9% on the year coming off the bench for the Clippers.  Since the trade as a starter, he's 2 for 14.  In the course of those two games, he's lowered his shooting percentage to 27.2%.  And mathematically speaking, it's not really easy to lower your percentage when you're already under 30%.  It's obviously in Ricky's head now; early in the third quarter he missed a wide open three by about 2 feet to the right of the rim.  It seems hard to believe that he won't bust out at some point, but how can you continue giving all these minutes to a guy making about 1 in 4 shots on the season, and much much worse lately?

Eric Gordon is a major talent, but also a rookie, and a 19 year old in the deal.  In the first half of this game he threw not one but two passes to people wearing blue shirts in the crowd.  He played a better second half; I love the way he takes the ball to the rim, even if he did run over Devin Harris on the way once.  But he's just not going to be a productive and effective NBA shooting guard on a consistent basis any time soon.

With Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins still in street clothes pending the standard post-trade physical, it stands to reason the Clippers bench is going to struggle in this game.  But it's as if the bench extends to the starter at shooting guard, and the Clippers are playing 4 on 5 when the other team has their starters out there.  In this game, Baron Davis, Al Thornton, Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman combined to shoot 32 for 54 and score 82 points.  The rest of the team shot 4 for 23, 17.4%.

It would have been difficult to win this game regardless.  The Nets made 9 of their first 11 three point baskets.  For the game, the Clippers were outscored by 18 from the three point line and 7 from the free throw line (this despite the Nets shooting very poorly from the line - the actually took 17 more free throws.  You have to make an awful lot of two pointers to make up that deficit.  And the Clippers didn't make nearly enough.

So it's back to LA to start the Zach Randolph era - Zach to the Future.  Of course, there's still no one to play shooting guard.  Does anybody see a problem with that?