The Clippers managed to come up with one victory on this road trip, with a wire-to-wire tonight win over the T-Wolves. It was only the second easy win for the team in a not-so-easy season.
It's hard to get too excited about the win, because Minnesota just looked so bad. And that was with Al Jefferson being pretty much unstoppable. Jefferson was 13 for 22 for 28 points. The rest of the team was 17 for 55. Their guards were particularly stinky - Randy Foye was 2 for 10 (though he did get to the line 12 times), Kevin Ollie 1 for 4, Sebastian Telfair 1 for 3, and Rashad McCants 0 for 3. McCants of course was my pick for "Superstar for one game" so obviously I can use my ClipperSteve anti-Nostradamus magic on opposing players now.
Marcus Camby had one of those games that made him the love of my fantasy basketball life a few seasons ago. 12 points, 19 rebounds, 7 blocks, 3 assists and 2 steals. The Clippers as a team had 19 offensive rebounds, after coming up with only 3 in Memphis last night. So, 19 is good. But I'm still pissed about the 3 - which is, in stark contrast to 19, very, very not good. If they could have managed to come up with 11 in each game, they'd probably have come away with two wins. Overall, the dominated the glass, 54 to 38, after being dominated themselves by the Grizz.
<voice_in_head>Let it go.</voice_in_head>
After Jefferson, the only T-Wolf to have a decent game was rookie Kevin Love who went for 13 points and 15 rebounds. I think it's safe to say, however that Love did not come up against anyone quite like Marcus Camby in the Pac-10 last season - not even the Lopezes. Four of Love's five field goals were on jumpers. He had a little more trouble around the rim, where Camby blocked him twice within about 5 seconds in one sequence.
A few random observations:
- DeAndre Jordan had 5 rebounds in 9 minutes. The guy is long, long, long and very athletic to boot. But he's got a long way to go. His offensive game appears to be limited to dunking, but he does that well. On a pick and roll with Baron in the first half, he dunked so fast I thought I missed something. He had barely started his jump and the ball was flushed. That's what happens when your standing reach is 9 and a half feet. His other two shot attempts on the other hand were pretty ugly. And he bit on an Al Jefferson up fake so hard that he almost jumped off the court. So, yeah, he needs a little seasoning.
- Mike Taylor appears to have fallen out of favor, and I'm not sure why. Mardy Collins played 27 minutes in this game, and Jason Hart played 16, but Taylor was limited to 3 garbage time minutes - unfortunately for him he managed to commit 2 turnovers in those 3 minutes. I like Taylor's energy when he's out there, and although he's more than a little out of control at times, he's making things happen at both ends. I'd say it's what this team needs, more so than the 'steady' hand of Jason Hart. So I'm hoping that Taylor moves back up the depth chart soon.
- Speaking of Mardy Collins, he scored 14 points off the bench tonight. Given the struggles of Clippers' second unit, you'd think that would be a good thing. But I have to say I'm not happy about 14 shots in 27 minutes for Mardy Collins. He made a three at the first period buzzer, which is of course a shot he has to take with the clock winding down. Great bonus to get the three points from that. He also had some makes finishing fast breaks, which is great. But why is he taking 14 shots? Baron and Zach had 15 each. Let's hope this was a big time anomaly.
- After scoring 25 and 24 in his first two starts, Eric Gordon is 15 for 40 in the subsequent five games. He's also missed 6 straight 3's. His first NBA road trip may have been a little bit of a shock to his system.
- Baron on the other hand has gotten pretty hot from distance. Counting the two completely meaningless threes he hit in the final minute in Memphis, he's made 6 of 7 in 33 minutes of court time. I was pretty pissed that he was even taking those shots at the end of the Grizzlies' game, but it would be great if it got him going. He's still barely over 30% from distance on the season, even with the 6 for 7 string.
- Davis3 had a nice game, with 10 points on 5 for 7 shooting. He had 3 offensive rebounds, and tipped two of those in. I'm not sure what to think of him. He's more athletic than we give him credit for, and I'm becoming a believer in his jump shot. But he has a lot of trouble playing defense without fouling people.
The next three games will be much more difficult. The Magic, Blazers and Rockets have 15, 14 and 13 wins respectively - the Wolves have 4. Playing with some purpose will be a start, but it may not be enough against good teams.