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Kaman's Fourth Quarter Comeback

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This post started as a reply to a comment on last night's game recap.  After writing 5 paragraphs, I decided it deserved to be a post of it's own.

Citizen Clip Show made a good point in a comment on the Memphis game recap.  

One thing I noticed about last night's game, aside from Kaman and Thorton getting into early foul trouble, was the complete inability of the Clippers to make an entry pass to Kaman. There were at least 3 instances where the entry pass was either to the wrong hand or wrong side of Kaman and resulted in an immediate turnover. I have a feeling this contributed to the early woes of the Kaveman. In the 4th quarter, however, it appeared that MDSr finally started running some good low block isolation plays for Kaman, where he able to get the ball in great position and finish.

The Clippers have never been a good passing team, and something as simple as an entry pass totally eludes them.  

However, I think Kaman was culpable in the early going of this game as well.  When he is not focused, he has a tendency to be very soft on the catch.  It's something I've noticed a lot during this stretch of sub-par games he's had.  In fact, here's what I said in the recap of the Raptors game:  "...he must have had 5 passes poked away when he simply didn't go after the ball with both hands to make sure about the catch.  I know Bargnani's got long arms, but catch the damn ball."  Substitute Milicic for Bargnani and it applies perfectly well to the first half last night.  He has to hold his position, and then aggressively catch the ball.  He's not doing that lately.  In fact, it's almost identical with rebounding.  The relative aggressiveness with which he pursues the ball is the difference between 14 rebounds per game (through January) and 10 rebounds per game (since).

That's the thing about basketball.  The difference between 2 points and a turnover might be working hard for position, or catching a pass, long before the shot is put up.  No player is 100% focused every second he's on the floor - but if Chris can keep his needle up in the 80% range, he's a monster - when he slips into the 60%s, he's a liability.

The refs did him no favors last night.  The fourth foul was a joke.  No one even knew what the call was - I ran back the TiVo a couple of times and I literally don't know what they saw.  (That crew had a bad night - how about that loose ball foul 5 seconds after the fact on Warrick?  I can imagine blowing that whistle if the foul was just so obvious, and for whatever reason you missed calling it originally.  But it wasn't even a blatant foul.  That was really weird.)  The third foul on the charge/block could have gone either way - and it's hard to blame Kaman on that one, since Mobley's pass led him straight into the charge.  So Chris had a lot of reasons to be frustrated last night after the first quarter.  But he came back strong.

Obviously, the team went into the fourth quarter with the express intent of getting Chris the ball.  They ran almost every set for him, and for his part he was also more focused.  I'm guessing Kim Hughes got to him before the quarter started.  The great news here is that it worked - last season, in similar situations where they specifically wanted to get Chris going, invariably he would respond 0 for 4 with 3 turnovers.