|Mar. 3, 2008 - 7:30 PM|
|Brevin Knight||PG||Beno Udrih|
|Quinton Ross||SG||Kevin Martin|
|Corey Maggette||SF||Ron Artest|
|Al Thornton||PF||Mikki Moore|
|Chris Kaman||C||Brad Miller|
The Clippers have lost 6 straight games, the last two by 30 and 26. Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston are still out, though Brand is getting close. Sam Cassell is a Celtic. Tim Thomas is out. Chris Kaman is limited to 25 minutes a night. Cat Mobley has a variety of nagging injuries. Bascially, aside from small forward with Corey Maggette and Al Thornton, the Clippers are shorthanded at every position on the court. And it shows. But the real question tonight will be the energy level. On Monday they were generating fewer volts than ClipperMax's Science Fair project (don't ask). Can they come out and give an honest effort tonight, despite their many obstacles?
The Kings are coming off a tough home loss to the Lakers last night, where they led from the beginning until late in the fourth quarter. In fact, the Kings allowed the Lakers to break Lawler's Law last night, so NBA jurisprudence would dictate that the Clippers should punish them for that. It is interesting to note that the Kings have been the remedy for the Clippers once already this season: the current 6 game losing streak is the second longest of the season, but the 7 game streak ended with a win in Sacramento. The Clippers are 2-0 against the Kings, but Kaman has been a big part of that, and may not be able to dominate tonight. Clipper Killer of the past Mike Bibby is gone. And Kings leading scorer Kevin Martin has had a notoriously difficult time against the Clippers - in short, Quinton Ross owns that guy. So I like the Clippers chances in this game, especially assuming that the Kings will be drained and let down after letting the Lakers off the hook last night.
- Kaman. Chris Kaman ALWAYS plays well against Brad Miller and the Kings. Always. In their last meeting Jan. 21, he went for 20 points and 21 rebounds. It was his last truly dominating performance of the season. If there is any team in the league against whom Kaman has confidence, it is the Kings. If his minutes are limited, he still needs to dominate, for however many minutes he's on the floor.
- Kevin Martin. I talk about it every time, and then it plays out once again. Kevin Martin, 10th in the league in scoring at 22.6 points per game, is an efficient points machine against the rest of the league. Against the Clippers, he's mediocre at best. This has been going on for a few years, and it continued with his 3 for 11 performance in January. This all presents a bit of a lineup dilemma for MDsr; Ross has had incredible success on Martin - but starting Knight and Ross together leaves the backcourt almost completely punchless. Tonight would be a great time to try Barrett at the point guard for an extended look playing alongside Ross to see if he can provide some offense. We'll see what happens.
- Artest on Thornton. I attended the pre-season game between these two teams way back in October. Thornton had been having some big games in pre-season, and the Kings stuck Artest on him for a couple of second half possessions. It was 'Welcome to the NBA' time as Ron Ron made the rookie look bad. But back in January, with Artest on him for portions of the game, Al scored 23 points, with 9 rebounds and 4 assists off the bench. He's come further still in the 6 weeks since that meeting - it will be interesting to see how he does tonight. If Maggette and Thornton are both on the court and both playing well, they create significant matchup problems for the opposition. The Kings can't put Artest on both of them - and there's no guarantee he can stop the one he gets.
- Beno Udrih. When Sterling and MDsr were going at each other in late January, we found out that one of the MDsr acquisitions that he says was killed by non-basketball people in the organization was signing Beno Udrih. As you probably know, Udrih was traded from the Spurs to the Timberwolves (primarily to avoid paying the luxury tax), and was subsequently waived by the T-Wolves. This was after the Clippers had already signed Knight and Dickau, but presumably MDsr would have been willing to waive Dickau to make room for Udrih. It didn't happen, and instead the Kings pounced on him when Mike Bibby was hurt. His beyond solid performance as their starting point guard in fact allowed them to part ways with Bibby and his massive contract. Udrih will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and in fact will probably be the second best point guard on the market after Jose Calderon.