First of all, don't feel sorry for me Steve. I'm glad to be a part of the Clipsnation family.
The Clippers come into Indiana finding out that the Pacers best weapon, Danny Granger, is out with a knee injury. This "should" make for an easy contest, but how many times have we heard that to find out otherwise... too many.
The first half the Clippers got out playing fast ball with Baron Davis getting a quick six points before he sat out early in the first quarter with foul trouble. It quickly became evident that the "play at the level of your lesser opponent" execution of the Clippers was in full effect tonight. Lethargy, laziness, it was all there. The Pacers were playing horrible basketball shooting 30% in the first half, only to be matched by a 33% performance by the Clippers.
We see that Telfair running the first unit wasn't able to get it going for anyone. Kaman, Thornton, and Butler were completely ineffective tonight, going a combined 5 for 37. Ouch. Kaman was apparently already thinking about hunting turkey with heavy artillery. His performance was awful, and he never thought once to feed the ball, just kept chucking up bricks.
We see a strong performance from Baron Davis and Marcus Camby. 25 points from Davis and 3/4 on 3-pointers. Although he only picked up two assists, that low number is courtesy of poor shooting from the recipients of his passes. These two assists were back to back, right at the basket passes to Thornton and Kaman near the end of the half. These, in addition to back to back three's from Baron give the Clippers a nine point lead going into the half. However, that 9 point lead is 43 points on 51 shots. Yikes...
The third quarter is the definition of bad basketball for both teams. It's eery how similar it was to the 10-year-old girls who play at half-time at Staples Center. Except it lasted 12 minutes and ended with a three point buzzer shot by Camby to put the Clippers up 59 - 55 going into the fourth. Yes, that score is not a typo.
The fourth quarter provided us with even more lackluster play. The Clippers looked completely confused out there. They didn't understand why they were missing baskets and why the Pacers were making them. Baron got in a minor scuffle with some Pacer which resulted in getting booed by Pacer fans every time he had the ball. For some reason he had 3 or 4 really excellent shots during the boo's. I'm not going to even begin to try and break down how that worked out in Baron's head.
The one upside for Clipper Nation this evening was seeing the Spalding in Eric Gordon's hands. He entered the game at the 4:30 mark of the first quarter. About two minutes in he made a beautiful attack to the basket that warmed my heart and instantly spelled relief. He would go on to show his rust from missing seven games, but that's okay, we know he'll be back in typical Gordon form very soon.
It seems that pretty wins and even pretty losses are becoming unattainable for the Clippers. With the exception of maybe one or two games, they all seem to be ugly wins and ugly losses. Effort is going to be a big word as they progress further into the season. Can they find it? Who knows, but they sure as hell need to... and fast. It's sad to see that even the Lakers are coming into to games that they're clearly picked to win and performing this season. They use it as an opportunity to execute they're offense and defense effectively without too much effort and it seems to help them against better opponents. Like a good practice. The Clippers have had several occasions to play good, smart basketball against teams that can't match up. They have yet to use these opportunities, and it's shows in their record. They had a million chances tonight to pull away from the Pacers and never look back. And it wasn't that they couldn't, it was that they didn't care to. Dunleavy and his squad have no excuses.
Tonight we saw them give up on offensive execution, rebounds, moving the ball and so on. You can't win games when you shrug off effort over some mindset that you can beat lesser teams with a half-assed effort. No good team in this league plays with that mindset.
As for the Pacers, all I saw were people in Pacers jerseys making baskets here and there. I didn't know who they were, didn't seem like anyone did. But these strangers with out Granger did what they needed to beat our team.
Goodnight Clipper Nation. Here's hoping Detroit has 10 year old girls in their starting lineup.