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Clippers vs. Mavericks - Game Preview

2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
Staples Center
October 31st, 2009, 7:30 PM
Prime Ticket, 980 AM
Probable starters:
Baron Davis
PG Jason Kidd
Eric Gordon
SG Quinton Ross
Al Thornton
SF Shawn Marion
Marcus Camby
PF Dirk Nowitzki
Chris Kaman
C Erick Dampier


The Back Story:

  • First meeting.  Dallas won the season series last year 3-1.
  • The Big Picture:

The Clippers really need a win at this point.  I mean, we knew that at Lakers, Suns, at Jazz, Mavs was a tough first four games.  After all, all four of those teams won at least 45 games last season, and they're all favorites to make the playoffs again this season.  But the reality of an 0-4 start, coupled with the setback to Blake Griffin, might be too much for this team's fragile psyche.  Hell, it might be too much for MY fragile psyche.  The good news for the Clippers is that Dallas was nice enough to oblige as LA's first victim last season, after the team had opened 0-6.  The bad news is that the Mavs have an infusion of new talent, and as it happens they might be pretty good.  

The Antagonist:

Like the Clippers, the Mavs are playing the second game of a back-to-back.  Unlike the Clippers, the Mavs haven't had to travel.  The Mavs jumped all over the Lakers in Staples Center last night, posting an impressive 94-80 win.  The Mavs still revolve around Dirk Nowitzki, but adding Shawn Marion gives them an athletic wing to pair with him.  And Marion's presence is crucial right now, as Josh Howard is once again out with an ankle injury.  The Mavericks are getting older, with four of their starters and sixth man Jason Terry over 30.  But apparently they all have something left, based on the Lakers result last night.

The Subplots:

  • A 48 Minute Game.  This Clippers have lost the fourth quarter in each of their first three games.  The led going into the fourth in the last two, and trailed the Lakers by one in the other.  A surprising number of NBA games are won or lost in the fourth quarter.  The Clippers had better figure out pretty quickly how to come out on the right end.
  • Matchups.  Matching up with the Mavericks is never easy.  MDsr will likely put Camby on Nowitzki - although Marcus, for all his defensive bona fides, isn't really the 'put him on the opponents best player' type of defender.  Back in the Kaman-Brand days, Kaman used to draw the assignment of defending Dirk, so don't rule that out.  In year's past, the Clippers have actually had more luck putting smalls on Nowitzki - Cat Mobley in particular.  But don't expect that tonight, with the possible exception fo Rasual Butler taking a turn.
  • Defense.  The Clippers have had little problem putting points on the board so far this season.  But they've allowed 99, 109 and 111 points to their opponents.  In fact, in each of the last two games, LA has come out of the locker scorching hot to start the game - but they haven't been able to build a lead because they allow the other team to score just as easily.  They're going to have to figure out how to do it on the defensive end if they're going to turn this around.
  • Rebounding.  After out-rebounding the Lakers in game 1, they were outrebounded by the small Suns by 1, and then outrebounded by the small Jazz by 13.  LA was continually outrebounded last season, and so far this season it looks like it's going to be more of the same.  With a big front line of top rebounders, it's hard to imagine that this would be a big problem.  But it is.  It happens to be the one area where Blake Griffin was fairly certain to help right away.
  • Former Clippers.  Former Clipper Quinton Ross signed with the Mavs this summer and has started their first two games in the absence of Howard.  Former Clipper James Singleton is in his second season with the Mavs.  And former Clipper Tim Thomas is also in Dallas, although he recently underwent surgery and is out of this game.
  • Movie Quote: 

    All the Mavericks in the house put your hands up
    All the Mavericks in the house put your hands up
    All the plumbers in the house pull your pants up
    All the plumbers in the house pull your pants up

    Amy Poehler, on SNL doing the Sarah Palin rap.  I kind of miss Palin, but only for the funny.

  • Get the Mavs perspective at Mavs Moneyball.