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At Least it's Over

During the All-Star Break, I asked in a poll, what you thought the Clippers' record would be in the final 32 games of the season.

At the time, we naively thought Elton Brand would be back for the majority of those games (remember, he had been cleared to run and jump three weeks BEFORE the All Star Break).  We also thought Chris Kaman, who had suffered nothing more than a bout with the flu in the first 50 games, would play in all 32.  We even hoped that Shaun Livingston would make an appearance in April.

Instead, Livingston played zero games, Brand played a mere 8, and Kaman played in only 11, suffering through calf, back and ankle injuries.  In short, a bad injury situation got worse.  Add to Brand, Kaman and Livingston various injuries to Tim Thomas, Cat Mobley and Cuttino Mobley Corey Maggette, and the fact that Sam Cassell played only a single game after the All Star Break before being bought out, and you can see that the Clippers, shorthanded though they were in the first 50 when they won 17 games, would think back fondly to the time in the first half of the season that they could field a team that included mostly NBA players.

When I made the poll, with choices of 20 wins, 16, 12, etc, I almost didn't include the final option - fewer than 8.  It didn't really seem like a realistic possibility.  If the team had managed to win 34% of their games so severely depleted, surely they would win more after the All Star Break, when their injury situation could not possibly become worse!

Well, instead, they won 6.  6 and 26.  And, by the way, in case you've forgotten, they won their first two games directly after the All Star Break, including their best win of the season over Utah.  Since that Utah win (which, coincidentally was the last game before Kaman went out with back trouble), the Clippers have won only 4 out of 30 games.  And the wins could not really be less impressive - Miami (worst record in the NBA); Seattle (second worst); Memphis (tied for third worst); and Sacramento, playing without their two best players.  

In fact, no team in the NBA fared worse over their final 30 games.  Miami, playing most of that time without Dwyane Wade, managed to win 6 games.  Seattle won their final two to drive their total to 6 as well.  New York and Memphis each managed 8 wins in their final 30.  Minnesota was positively torrid with 11!

So, although it was not without good reason, we should recognize that the Clippers finished the season as the worst team in the NBA.  There is clearly much work to be done.