In the first quarter of this one, it seemed like maybe it was going to be big fun. By my count, half of the Clippers first ten buckets were dunks, and it just felt like that was how it was going to go, with Sebastian Telfair throwing the ball up at the rim and Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan fighting over who got to throw it down. But when the second quarter rolled around, it was a different affair. A tedious affair. A man-I-can't-wait-for-the-regular-season-to-start affair.
In the end, the Clippers got the win, 91-88, and they finish the pre-season with 6 wins that don't count and 2 losses that don't count. It's a nice pre-season record - but it doesn't count.
The Clippers did not look sharp in this one, but fortunately the Hornets were playing without Chris Paul, and the Hornets without Paul are not much of a team. They were also missing their newly added center Emeka Okafor. That left David West to carry the load, which he tried to do. And for at least a quarter, Peja Stojakovic found his shot again. But the Hornets really didn't have a lot going for them tonight.
As for the Clippers, well Al Thornton had a good game, and DeAndre Jordan had a good game. And that's about it. No one else was better than mediocre, and a few of them were much, much worse. Chris Kaman couldn't make a shot, couldn't catch the ball, and for a bit couldn't seem to stand up. Telfair distributed well, with some highlight reel no-looks among his 8 assists, but for some reason he seemed bound and determined to make a three tonight, and of course he missed all four he tried - badly.
Meanwhile, earning praise for his efficiency lately, Blake Superior was anything but today. He was 3 for 9 from the field. He turned the ball over 4 times. These are things we're not used to from the guy. The irony is that he'll still lead SportsCenter tonight - the dunk he had in the third was breathtaking. But even though I watched four of the seven pre-season games Griffin played, I never saw him make an outside shot. According to box scores, he made a couple jumpers in San Antonio - but I sure haven't seen it yet. And until he has the jumper to keep the defenders honest, things are going to be tougher for him on offense.
Thornton led the team with 20 points on 8 for 11 shooting, and also had 6 rebounds, 3 of them on the offensive glass. It must also be said that many of his rebounds were hard won by Al - he was very active going after balls. It was nice to see from a guy who has the physical ability and size to be a very good rebounder for a three, but who has in reality been way below average his first two season.
Milph were making a point about how only Orlando has a better pre-season record as we come to the end, with Boston and the Lakers sharing the Clippers 6-2 mark. So while everyone knows that the preseason doesn't matter at all, it's worth noting that the strong teams generally have good records, while the weak teams generally have poor records, even this time of year.
So is the 6-2 pre-season mark an indication of things to come?