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Magic 110 - Clippers 88

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The 22 point margin of victory is about what I expected in this game when I found out that Chris Kaman was not going to be able to play.  But the game took something of a circuitous route to get there.

I predicted a 30/20 for Dwight Howard in the absence of anything resembling a center on the Clippers' roster.  And indeed Howard opened the game with 14 points and 9 rebounds in the first quarter.  And then he only managed 8 points and 4 rebounds the rest of the way.  He also turned the ball over 7 times.  By the way, he's got some of the worst footwork this side of Michael Olowokandi.  He travels pretty much every time he makes a move, not that the officials call it.  The guy is one of the most dominant players in the league already - if he ever develops a game he's going to be unstoppable.

So it wasn't really Howard making the difference after the first quarter.  So then you figure it's three point shooting, since the Magic are near the top of the league there.  Well, they did get white out from beyond the arc in the third quarter, making 7 threes in that quarter alone.  But despite the barrage, the Clippers actually won the third quarter by a point.  And the Magic only made 4 others threes on the game, and finished a lackluster 11 for 30.  So that wasn't really the difference maker either.

Rebounding would be another area where you expect the Clippers to get killed without Kaman.  But a 38-32 margin isn't that big a deal - especially when you consider that the Clippers missed a lot of shots that turned into Magic rebounds.

In the end, although the Magic were anything but today, the Clippers were nowhere near good enough to win.  Aside from Cat Mobley, no one had a particularly good game on offense.  The team shot 41%, Maggette scored 20 in the first half but managed only 2 in the second, and Thornton was 8 for 24 - 24 shots in 35 minutes!  

The Clippers have two wins in 11 games this season without Kaman - they beat Atlanta when Thornton went crazy and scored 33, and they beat a Miami team that was marginally more pathetic than they.  And that's it. And that seems about right.  

He needs to be able to play on this trip if the Clippers want to be competitive.