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Clippers at Utah - Game Preview and Open Thread

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LA Clippers logo
at
Jazz logo
21-50 47-25
Energy Solutions Arena
Mar. 28, 2008 - 6:00 PM
Radio: KSPN, 710 AM (No TV)
Probable starters:
Brevin Knight PG Deron Williams
Corey Maggette SG Ronnie Brewer
Al Thornton SF Andrei Kirilenko
Tim Thomas PF Carlos Boozer
Chris Kaman C Mehmut Okur
The Big Picture:

The Clippers have lost a season high 9 in a row, and have a chance to make it double digits on the road against the team with the best home record in the NBA.  They've also lost 17 out of 19.  The last time they beat a team with a winning record was more than a month ago, against these very same Utah Jazz in the Clippers' most impressive win of the season.  For the second season in a row, the Clippers and Jazz have had a lopsided series.  The Jazz dominate completely in most of the games - and then fall apart in at least one.  Assuming Chris Kaman has no ill-effects from his comeback game in San Antonio, he'll need to have a big game in order for the Clippers to be competitive.  but really, these are games the Clippers need to lose - save the winning for when Brand returns next week.

The Antagonist:

The Jazz are 10-3 in March, and have a 31-4 home record.  And basically, that just about gets you into the playoffs in the Western Conference.  The irony is, as of now they would not have home court advantage in the first round, because of their relatively poor 16-21 road record, and of course they're the team that needs home court advantage more than anyone.  They're only 2 games out of a home court seed right now - but then again, they're only 3 games out of missing the playoffs altogether.  Man, that's crazy.  This is a really good team, and still appears to be on the rise.  Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer are young superstars.  Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmut Okur are former all stars both fully capable of performing at a high level for some time to come.  Ronnie Brewer has had a break out season.  Kyle Korver, Matt Harpring and Paul Millsap give them some great pieces off the bench.  Really, there's a lot to like about this team.

The Subplots

  • 2009 Western Conference Playoffs - Obviously, we're all hopeful that the 08-09 Clippers, with Brand and Livingston healthy, will be able to compete for a playoff spot.  But with 9 Western Conference teams on pace for 50 wins this season, plus Portland over .500 and on the rise, that leaves only Minnesota, Seattle, Memphis and Sacramento as the less aspiring Western teams.  So which three teams get left out of the 09 playoffs?  As competitive as it is this season, it should be more so next year.  But this Jazz team isn't going anywhere.  They're relatively young, and they are all signed.
  • No TV.  I wouldn't mind so much if Kaman were still out.  The games without Kaman were pretty tough to watch.  Of course, the way the Jazz destroy the Clippers in Utah it's probably a blessing.  I guess I'll be watching Stephen Curry and the Davidson Wildcats.
  • Maggette and Thornton.  When the Clippers beat the Jazz in February, it was behind 27 points each from Maggette and Thornton.  Their combined line:  17 for 28 from the field and 18 for 19 from the line.  The Clippers will likely need similar productivity from their talented wings in this game if they hope to have a chance.  Wednesday in Dallas, MDsr started Maggette at shooting guard and Thornton at small forward.  I wouldn't be surprised if he tries that again here.
  • Tim Thomas, 35 minutes, 0 points.  So, I knew it wasn't good.  But I didn't realize how bad it was.  When Thomas went 35 minutes without scoring in San Antonio on Wednesday, he became only the second NBA forward to do so this season according to the Elias Sports Bureau.  The other one?  Bruce Bowen.  But of course Bowen is doing other things to justify his 35 minutes.  If Tim Thomas isn't scoring, what exactly is he doing for you?