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Clippers at Sonics - Game Preview and Open Thread

LA Clippers logo
Sonics logo
22-52 17-57
Key Arena
April 2, 2008 - 7:00 PM
TV: FSN Prime Ticket
Probable starters:
Brevin Knight PG Earl Watson
Quinton Ross SG Kevin Durant
Corey Maggette SF Jeff Green
Al Thornton PF Nick Collison
Josh Powell C Johan Petro
The Big Picture:

The Clippers and the Sonics have won 22 and 17 games respectively, and the Clippers are 2-16 when playing without Chris Kaman.  Is it possible for both teams to lose tonight?  I suppose some Kevin Durant versus Al Thornton moments could be fun.  In addition to Kaman being out, Brand is not expected to play until tomorrow, Tim Thomas (sore Achilles) is doubtful and Cat Mobley (sore heel) is day-to-day.  That leaves nine healthy players, if you count Smush Parker.  By the way, this is the Clippers' last game this season against a team behind them in the standings, and there next to the last against a team with a losing record.

The Antagonist:

Seattle has accomplished all of their goals this season.  Kevin Durant will win Rookie of the Year.  They lost a lot of games (they'll have the second most ping pong balls).  They got rid of a lot of salaries.  And they've got the NBA on board with their move to Oklahoma City.  (I'm not saying they were good goals.)  Not many franchises have a more miserable current existence than the Clippers, but the Sonics are at the top of the list.

The Subplots

  • Durant (and Green) versus Thornton.  Durant and Thornton are 1 and 2 in scoring among rookies.  Thornton has shown a tendency to play well with a chip on his shoulder (witness 33 against Atlanta the day he was left out of the Rookie Game).  Jeff Green was one player Thornton should have been ahead of, and Durant has gotten all the attention this season.  Somehow I think Thornton is going to have a lot of extra motivation tonight.
  • Commerce Casino.  I'm going to swing by the viewing party tonight.  The Clippers Spirit will be there, so it's a chance to congratulate them in person on their trip to the finals of the NBA Dance Bracket.  Vote NOW!  It's the Girls Next Door versus the Whores Next Door.  The future of America hangs in the balance.
  • Ze-Freak.  Quick, who has the second best PER on the Clippers?  That would be Nick Fazekas.  His 18.88 PER is a point better than Kaman's and a point below Maggette's.  Obviously, we're not talking about a ton of minutes and it can be skewed by garbage time, but it seems to me he's actually played best when he's been forced / allowed to play minutes that count.  He's the best per minute rebounder on the team (again, better than Kaman) and shooting 55%, and he's even blocking shots.  He looks AWFUL.  But he's effective.  He played more minutes on Monday than Josh Powell, and with Kaman shut down for the season, I for one would love to see him get his first NBA start.
  • The Smush Parker Experiment.  Speaking of PER, Dan Dickau's is 11.85.  Brevin Knight's is 11.96.  And Smush Parker's as a Clipper is 4.13.  Bear in mind that PER pegs 15 as an average NBA player.  Against Dallas Monday, the game turned when MDsr went to Dickau instead of Smush.  Can we please be done with this Smush thing now?  Please?