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Cavs 98 - Clippers 84

For the fourth consecutive game, the Clippers played without this season's leading scorers Corey Maggette and Chris Kaman, in addition to last season's leading scorer Elton Brand, last season's assist leader Shaun Livingston and Paul Davis.  After the first of these games, I spun through the nine remaining Clippers, and their bearing on what we hope to be next season's team:

The Clippers had 9 players in uniform.  Of those, two are in their late thirties and in the final year of their contracts, and are highly unlikely to be on the Clippers roster in a month, let alone next season (Sam Cassell and Aaron Williams).  Two more would not be on the active list if all 14 current Clippers were healthy enough to play (Josh Powell and Dan Dickau) and if in fact they are on the roster next season, they certainly are not expected to be in the rotation (please FSM, don't let Powell be in the rotation).  Of the other five, three of them are in their 30's and are each at least 10 year vets.  That gives them a 'been there, done that' air and the fatalism to understand that one more loss in a lost season is no big deal.

In the four game span, only an unlikely superhuman performance by Al Thornton against Atlanta led to a win.  The other three games were losses, varying from lackluster (Charlotte) to embarrassing (Minnesota).  Losing to Cleveland in Cleveland, leading at half time and staying within 10 until the final seconds, is respectable.  Surprisingly so.  

Without K2 and EB (and let's face it, even Davis' loss hurts from a size perspective), the Clippers were outrebounded 50-35.  And that was after leading on the boards in the first half!  At one point in the third quarter, the Cavs had 10 rebounds and the Clippers had 0.  Think about that for a moment.  Al Thornton led the team with 7 rebounds - a nice total for Al, and an incredibly sad commentary on the team, considering that Al Thornton is a poor at best rebounder at this point in his career.  Thornton led the team in scoring with 23 points, but shot only 7 for 21 from the field.  He was 3 for 5 on threes, which leaves him at 4 for 16 on his twos.  It's not as bad as 1 for 15 - but it's still problematic.

With Sunday off and Maggette joining the team in New York, there is a possibility that one or both of the Clippers flu-ridden scorers will join the team against the Knicks tomorrow.  That would be good news, because I'm pretty much done watching this group.