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Clippers vs. Sacramento - Game Preview

2008/2009 NBA Regular Season
Staples Center
April 10th, 2009, 7:30 PM
No local TV, 710 AM
Probable starters:
Baron Davis
PG Beno Udrih
Eric Gordon
SG Francisco Elson
Fred Jones
SF Andres Nocioni
Brian Skinner
PF Jason Thompson
DeAndre Jordan
C Spencer Hawes

The Back Story:

  • November 12, 2008 in LA - Sacramento 103 - Clippers 98   box score   recap
  • December 30, 2008 in Sacramento - Sacramento 92 - Clippers 90   box score   recap
  • February 27, 2009 in Sacramento - Minnesota 98 - Clippers 86   box score   recap

The Big Picture:

This one is for all some of the marbles ping pong balls.  There's nothing quite so pathetic as an end of the season NBA game between two teams with no incentive to win, who would in fact rather lose in order to improve their position in the draft lottery.  Unfortunately, that's what we have here.  The Clippers would appear to have the edge in this particular suck-fest.  Zach Randolph is suspended, Al Thornton (shoulder) and Marcus Camby (ankle) are likely done for the season, and Chris Kaman has a perpetual case of the flu (maybe we should invest in some sort of bubble to help keep Mr. Flippy healthy).  On top of all that, DeAndre Jordan left the game Tuesday with a strained Achilles tendon.  With Brian Skinner, Steve Novak and five guards, the Clippers were outrebounded by the T-Wolves 62-34.  And the Kings are a LOT bigger than the T-Wolves.  So there's a very good chance that the Clippers will close to within a game of the worst record tonight.  Whether Sacramento can beat any other team in the final week of the season is quite another story.  If you're actually looking for something positive out of this game, I guess it's going to have to come from Eric Gordon or Baron Davis.  Gordon killed the Kings in preseason and again in the one game he started against them this season scoring 24.  But Baron has been sub-atrocious - averaging 12 points on 11 for 45 shooting.  Eeek.

The Antagonist:

The Kings are likely to be without leading scorer and best player Kevin Martin, whose ankle has not been right all season.  So basically, for the second game in a row, the Staples Center crowd will be watching two bottom dwelling teams, playing without their best players.  Now that's what I call FAN-tastic!  The Kings come into the game on a six game losing streak, matching the Clippers for the longest active losing streak in the league.  But only one of them can emerge loss-torious.  The Kings have a grand total of 16 wins this season - and 3 of them have come against the Clippers.  That's like, statistically impossible.  They can probably have the best of both worlds - the satisfaction of sweeping the Clippers AND the most ping pong  balls - all they have to do is win this one and then lose their last three.  That shouldn't be too hard.  Without Martin, it's hard to say who the Kings will rely on.  Andres Nocioni?

The Subplots:

  • Off to Mexico.  I'm done watching Clippers basketball for the season, thank FSM.  I'll be in Cabo San Lucas, snorkeling and surfing and hanging out.  Citizen moKi will have your recap tonight, IIRC.  By the way, I need volunteers to write recaps for the Jazz and the Thunder.  Anyone?  Anyone?   Bueller?  Be advised that the OKC game is not on local TV, so you'll need to be in Staples or have League Pass to see that one.  If you want to take one on, let me know in the comments.  I'll have the laptop in Mexico, but I'm not planning to spend a lot of time online.  It's a vacation, you know?
  • Rebounding.  If Kaman and/or Jordan don't play, the Clippers will likely be destroyed on the boards again.  I'd really like to see Eric Gordon get in there and battle more than he does.  He's so strong and so athletic, there's really no excuse for him not getting more rebounds than he does.  It's clearly one of the things he has to work on.  But size is going to be a problem regardless - with Fred Jones playing small forward, he'll have to defend either Nocioni or Jason Thompson, and he's just not big enough for either guy.
  • Baron Davis.  Surely Baron knows how badly he's played against the Kings this season.  I mean, he's shot 4 for 15, 3 for 17 and 4 for 13 in the three games.  It's not a stretch to say that he lost all three of those single handedly.  Does he remember?  Does he care?  We'll see how he plays tonight, but one would think that some pride would get involved at some point.
  • Eric Gordon.  EJ scored 33 points in 31 minutes in a pre-season game against the Kings way back in October, and scored a eam high 24 points in the December loss.  He wasn't in the rotation in the first game, and was injured during the third game.  So he's been very good against the Kings this season.  Another 40 point outburst might get some all NBA rookie team voters' attention.
  • Superstar for one game.  Jason Thompson.  His career highs are 23 points and 19 rebounds.  I say he goes for 25 and 20 against the teeny tiny Clippers tonight.
  • Movie Quote: 

    I am Adolfo Pirelli, da king of da barbers, da barber of kings, e buon giorno, good day. I blow you a kiss! And I, the so famous Pirelli, I wish-a to know who has-a da nerve-a to say my Elixir is piss! Who says this?

    Pirelli - Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).  Tim Burton.  What are we going to do about Tim Burton?  The first five or six movies he directed were all amazing (and throw Nightmare Before Xmas into that amazing group too, although he didn't actually direct that one).  But beginning with Mars Attacks! he's been in a major slump.  I mean, Big Fish was pretty good.  But something's just not right in his later movies.  I blame Helena Bonham Carter.  As for Sweeney, filming the play was fine - it's a great play, and the look of the movie was great (although it certainly went overboard on the gore).  Sacha Baron Cohen was great as Pirelli.  But Johnny Depp and HBC just didn't have the musical chops to play those roles.  It didn't help that Burton cast major singers in the roles of Johanna and Anthony and the Beggar Woman.  I mean, you give Mary Poppins from the West End a tiny singing part, and ask Johnny Depp to carry your musical?  It just doesn't make sense.
  • Get the Kings perspective at Sactown Royalty.