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Wolves 99 - Clippers 90

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The Clippers are now 2-12 in games without Chris Kaman.  As you would expect, they've been blown out by most of the good teams in those games.  But for the most part, they've been somewhat competitive with most of the lesser teams, which is in and of itself surprising.  Games in Memphis and Washington went into Overtime, Portland came down to the buzzer, and the game at Denver was close, which is probably the biggest surprise of all.  The truth is, with neither Brand nor Kaman, the Clippers are completely lost on offense.  Not that the offense is ever a thing of beauty, but without a low post scorer that commands a double team, it's downright stultifying.  It's one thing to watch an iso, see the defense react with a double team, and then see if the player can beat the double or pass out of it.  Watching Cat Mobley back his defender down, for 10 or 12 seconds, with nary a double team in sight, only to miss the shot (he was 3 for 15 in this one)... well, it qualifies as 'torture' under some of the more liberal readings of the Geneva Convention.

You can tell that the Clippers are grasping just by looking at their three point attempts: 5 for 21 against Minnesota, 8 for 21 against Washington.  There's a reason the Clippers don't usually shoot a lot of threes (13 attempts per game on the season).  They're not so great from out there.  But right now, those are the best shots they're getting.  I'm not knocking it - I want the team to shoot more threes even when they've got everybody back, and they almost stole a win in DC by making a few.  But it's just another indication of how limited their offense is.  They play a system where the three pointer is usually the last option, and that's often all they can get right now.

A few random observations:

  • Smush Parker is just a train wreck right now.  His offense is atrocious (1 for 13 in the last 2 games), and it can't be good for anyone to have Smush directed traffic on offense.  (Seriously, the guy's had one practice - why is he telling people where to be?)  And talk about out of place - he was the peace maker, keeping Cat and Tim Thomas away from Rodney Mott last night when Mott Teed Thomas up.  I just don't see this ending well.
  • Nick Fazekas looked good to me last night.  I've said it before, but his arms are really, REALLY long.  He doesn't jump much, but if you watch, he gets a fair number of rebounds without leaving the floor.  He's got soft hands, quick reactions and long arms, and he just grabs rebounds you don't think he's going to get.  Even the play where Jaric tried to knock the ball off him demonstrates his good hands - he just grabbed the ball and scored.  He can rebound, and he'll get a few scores hanging around the basket.  If he can hold his own on defense (a big if), he can play in this league.  By the way, I was worried about him being overpowered because of his slight build when they first signed him.  I'm less worried about that now.  But lateral quickness is going to be an issue.  The Clippers signed him for the rest of the season today, so we're going to get a few more looks at him in the next month.