|Final - 3.18.2009||1||2||3||4||Total|
|Los Angeles Clippers||27||29||37||30||123|
I'm just all mixed up after that game. Am I happy about the Clippers outscoring the Wizards 67 to 44 in the second half? Or livid that they allowed 64 points in the first half and fell behind by 14 to a pathetic team? And it's more complicated that that - if only they had played the entire game like they did in the first half, surely we could be getting past the Dunleavy era once and for all. But I want them to pull it together sooner rather than later. If they can do that under Dunleavy, I'm fine with that. Not that I think it's going to happen, but I hope it does. I think.
From the moment Baron Davis strolled toward a loose ball near half court as Dominic McGuire ran past him to get a dunk for the first points of this game, it was obvious that the Clippers simply were not ready to play tonight. The entire first half the Wizards got an array of layups and dunks that was shameful. I kept waiting for MDsr to clear the bench, college style, and just put in five new guys, because no one on the team was interested in playing. There's no way that Alex Acker could have been worse than the guys that were playing, and at least the minutes would have meant something to him.
Even during the third quarter, when the Clippers turned an 8 point deficit into a 5 point lead at one point, they still weren't playing much defense, allowing 29 Wizards points. But at least they started shooting. Man, did they start shooting.
They opened the period with back to back threes to trim an 8 point lead to 2 within a minute. Five of their first six field goals in the period were threes, and they hit seven total in the third. Most of the damage was done by the crazy hot Steve Novak and the imperturable Eric Gordon.
Gordon had his worst game as a starter in Oakland yesterday. He was 1 for 8 in that one, couldn't really buy a basket, and fouled out to add insult to injury. Then he opened this game 0 for 5, and even missed his first free throw. At which point, he just decided to stop missing. He was 8 for 10 in the second half, including 4 threes, and one of the misses was an uncontested layup (something he does a little more often than he should, frankly). He finished with 26 points, 6 assists, 3 steals and a blocked shot to end his longest slump of the season - 6 quarters long - that's how consistent he's been.
As for Novak, there have probably been players who were hotter from deep over a four game stretch - but I sure haven't ever seen one. He's made 21 out of 34 threes in the last four games - 62%. And it's not like he's getting a lot of wide open looks. Defenses know they've got to stay close to him, but if they're even a half step late, he burns them. He even cut to the basket tonight after a Baron Davis offensive rebound and caught the pass for a layup and an old-fashioned three point play. I told you guys he could do more than just shoot threes!
The Clippers featured solid offensive games right down the line. Al Thornton scored 22 on 9 for 12 shooting, extending his string of good games to 7 straight. Chris Kaman had a great shooting game, scoring 19 points on 9 for 10 field goals in just 21 minutes. (But remember what I said about Chris' turnovers - he had 6 tonight. He'll be back when he cuts those down.) And Baron Davis had 20 assists, and a near triple double (11 points and 8 rebounds) to go with them. It's the second time in five weeks that Baron has had 20 assists in a game, which is a career high. It's hard to say if he's the chicken or the egg - is he getting assists because his teammates are making shots, or are his teammates making shots because of his passing? - but it's clear that the Clipper offense is in a different gear when he's distributing effectively. They shot 59% tonight - 58% from three!
The Clippers even played some defense in the final quarter, holding the Wizards to just 15 points after allowing 93 to that point. Better late than never I guess, but it would seem to be a relatively simple task of stopping the Wizards when all you have to do is worry about Antawn Jamison.
So, what do we do with this one citizens? Savor the offensive (as in lots of offense) display of the second half? Or lament the offensive (as in they offended us) display of the first half?
P.S. It's nice having shooters on the team for once.