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San Antonio 106 - Clippers 78

Final - 3.2.2009 1 2 3 4 Total
San Antonio Spurs 26 23 31 26 106
Los Angeles Clippers 21 15 23 19 78

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That team should be ashamed of themselves. That was a completely lackluster performance. They're going to have to play much better than that if they're going to achieve anything close to what they want. I'm talking of course about the Spurs.

The Clippers, playing without Zach Randolph and Eric Gordon (not to mention Chris Kaman) were simply terrible in a quite unremarkable way. The Spurs should have beaten them by 50. Under the circumstances, San Antonio should be embarrassed to only win by 28.

I kid. I kid the Spurs.

But seriously. It's March, so let's put it this way - a bubble team for the NCAA tournament could have beaten the Clippers tonight. Consider:

  • Leading scorer Zach Randolph was in Indiana with his dying father;
  • Eric Gordon, fourth overall in scoring and second in average since he was inserted into the starting lineup, missed his third straight game with a bruised shoulder;
  • Al Thornton couldn't buy a basket, finishing 5 for 19 in the game after shooting 1 for 11 in the first half;
  • Baron Davis was almost as bad, going 4 for 14 overall, 1 for 7 in the first;
  • And, oh yeah, no Kaman, no Mardy Collins, no Ricky Davis.

The Clippers have five guys on their roster that you would consider legitimate NBA scorers: Randolph, Gordon, Kaman, Baron and Thornton. The two of them who played combined to shot 9 for 33 - 27%.

So what are you left with?

You're left watching Mike Taylor and DeAndre Jordan play the fourth quarter, trying to envision a future in which both of those guys develop into big time players while Baron and Kaman are traded for expiring contracts. You daydream like that, because watching the game certainly isn't any fun.

The Clippers were so ice cold in the first quarter that they only made three shots that weren't layups - and one of those was Fred Jones' 60 footer at the buzzer. Then, in the second quarter, I began to reminisce fondly of the good old days back in the first quarter when they could make shots - Steve Novak's three pointer was the only jumper they hit in the second. They scored 36 points in the first half.

They shot under 37% as a team. They got outrebounded 52 to 37 by a not overly impressive rebounding team. And while all the misses on the LA end certainly helped pad the Spurs' defensive rebounding numbers, the Clippers also gave up 13 offensive rebounds.

It was just an ugly game.

However, for the second consecutive game Mike Taylor was a bright spot. He was often out of control, and he's not getting any love from the refs right now (rookie second round picks rarely do). But he has a special skill set. MDsr followed my advice and started Taylor to chase Tony Parker. Unfortunately, two quick fouls in the first quarter and a quick third in the second severely limited his playing time in the first half. The unfortunate thing is that neither his second nor his third foul looked like much - but Taylor is the second round pick, Parker is the all star... do the math.

So although he didn't get to do much with the game on the line, Taylor did get to show his stuff in the second half. Literally. He has tried to dunk on several occasions this season only to be thwarted. Saturday night he finally got a fast break jam, but it was wiped away by a Baron Davis double dribble. Tonight he got a lob from Fred Jones after a steal and showed why he's the best dunker on the team, catching the ball on the way up, and dunking as he floated past the rim - still on the way up, as far as I could tell.

But he also showed off other aspects of his game. He finished 5 for 15, which is obviously not good. He can't make a jump shot to save his life right now, and as I mentioned, he's not getting any calls or he might have gotten to the line on a couple of drives. But the shots he did make were all great - dare I say Parker-esque. He's got the quickness to get into the lane, he's got a variety of shots around the rim - he could actually be quite good. He has plenty to work on, but it's going to be fun watching him learn.

In the end, it's probably good that Gordon and Randolph both missed this game. It likely wasn't winnable with only one of them, and would have been a tall order even with both. In the big picture, you're much more likely to go 1-1 against the Spurs and Grizzlies by making sure that you have your players available and ready to go against Memphis. So if that's the case, if EJ and Zach are back for Wednesday's game, then we'll just have to pick up from there.

As for the Spurs, I'm just so very disappointed. I expected more.