|Final - 3.27.2009
|Los Angeles Clippers
|San Antonio Spurs
This just in: The Spurs are better than the Clippers.
In fact, the Spurs are so much better than the Clippers, they can play their three best players 48 minutes TOTAL and win the game handily.
There have been some embarrassing moments for this Clippers team. 140 points on consecutive nights to the Suns. 0-3 against the worst team in the league. More games than I care to remember where they just didn't compete. But when you think about it, can it get more embarrassing than this? To have a coach sit his best players ONE THIRD of the game for no other reason than "We don't need them in this one"?
Pop at halftime: "Timmy, take the second half off. Kurt and that new guy... what's his name again? Goodson? They can handle it. JV - stay loose; you're going in for Parker about five minutes in."
The Spurs, with Duncan (14 minutes), Parker (17) and Ginobili (17) mostly watching from the bench, shot 56% against the (almost) literally defenseless Clippers.
The Clippers were playing without Baron Davis (flu) and mostly without Marcus Camby, who turned his ankle 3 minutes into the game. But it wouldn't have mattered.
Camby's ankle puts the veteran into an interesting spot. X-rays were negative on the ankle, but it seems certain he'll miss tomorrow night's game in Houston. With 9 games left and nothing for the team to play for, he'd no doubt like to shut it down for the year. But he has contract bonuses that pay him for appearing in a certain number of games. He's played 58 games so far: he gets a $500K bonus if he appears in 60 games, and another $500K for 65. So call it the million dollar ankle.
In Baron's absence, Mike Taylor got the start and was once again pretty special. In fact, if hadn't scored 35 in Madison Square Garden Wednesday, we'd really be buzzing about his would-be career high 23 points on 10 for 13 shooting. If he continues to make his jump shot (he was even 2 for 2 from three point range tonight), he will be very difficult to stop.
Defensively, on the other hand, he needs a lot of work. Not that Tony Parker is an easy cover for anyone, but Parker just abused Taylor tonight. He scored 18 points in 17 minutes and shot 8 for 10. Amazingly, he just got layups in the first quarter... just beat Taylor and shot layups. That's more of an indictment of the Clippers non-existent help defense, but it's not as if Taylor slowed the guy down even.
And after going 1 for 7 in Atlanta Wednesday, Manu Ginobili went 5 for7 tonight. He came in and made his first jump shot, and then made a couple long threes in the second quarter. If he was rusty, the Clippers were his oil can. Rounding out the big three, Duncan was 5 for 6 in his first half cameo. If you're keeping score at home, that's 45 points on 18 for 23 shooting in 48 total minutes for the big three. Like a cat playing with a mouse.
Other than Taylor, was there any good news for the Clippers? I guess I could say something about Alex Acker's rebounding (he had 8 to lead the team from is reserve guard position); but it really just serves to remind us how bad a rebounder Eric Gordon is, not to mention that it begs the question as to why a team with Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman has Alex Acker leading the way in rebounding.
Eric Gordon shot it well from deep - but was forcing a lot in the second half, leading to three turnovers. He finished with 18 points on 12 shots. For what it's worth, he's closing in on Russell Westbrook for third place in rookie scoring - after tonight's games (Westbrook scored 10), EJ is averaging 15.5797 and RW is at 15.5833. Basically, if EJ scores one more point than Westbrook the rest of the way, he'll pass him. So there's that.
But on the whole, a depressing and embarrassing loss for the Clippers, not even worth the effort for the Spurs stars.
Maybe after tonight, it won't just be the fake Z-Bo who wants out.