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Clippers at New Jersey - Game Preview

2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
IZOD Center
January 27th, 2010, 4:30 PM
FSN Prime Ticket, 980 AM
Probable starters:
Baron Davis PG Keyon Dooling
Rasual Butler
SG Courtney Lee
Al Thornton
SF Chris Douglas-Roberts
Marcus Camby PF Yi Jianlian
Chris Kaman
C Brook Lopez

The Back Story:

The Big Picture:

Didn't I just write a preview for the Clippers and the Nets?  As a matter of fact, I did.  It was only ten days ago.  So you can go read that one if you're looking for more.  It's not like much has changed for the Nets.  They still have three wins.  As for the Clippers, they have three more wins in those ten days.  (Think about that the next time you're feeling sorry for yourself as a fan - how must those poor bastards who root for the Nets feel?)  As we continue along the peaks and valleys of this road trip, a title contender followed by a bottom feeder, we enter the deepest chasm of them all - the IZOD Center.  Clearly this is a game the Clippers should win - you don't want to be among the Nets' victims this season.  The Clippers couldn't shoot Monday against the Celtics (38%), but of course the Celtics themselves had a lot to do with that.  The LA offense will look a lot more fluid going against the 28th ranked New Jersey defense than it did against 3rd ranked Boston.  Eric Gordon spoke with former Pepperdine Wave Dain Blanton during Monday's game, and while he said that he hoped to be back soon, he certainly wasn't guaranteeing that he'd play tonight.  Given how bad New Jersey has been, maybe you just go ahead and get EJ two more days of rest on the assumption that you can win this one without him.  (On the flip side, maybe you don't want to risk an embarrassing loss without him.)  In the last game the Clippers built a 20 point lead through three quarters and coasted down the stretch.  They were led by a dominant front court performance, 22 for Chris Kaman, 18 for Craig Smith and 17 for Marcus Camby.  Kaman's coming off his worst performance in a very long time Monday in Boston - let's hope he comes back strong.

The Antagonist:

When the two teams met ten days ago, Milph were talking about the record for worst NBA record held by the 1972-73 Sixers.  Mike didn't think they'd set the record; Ralph thought they would, because he didn't see who they were going to beat.  I'm siding with Mike.  This team isn't this bad on paper - are they?  They have a point guard who was an All Star last season, and a center who could be an All Star this season.  They have some young, seemingly talented guys at other spots as well.  Does this team have significantly less talent than Minnesota?  Than Sacramento?  Unfortunately for them, Devin Harris has been missing most of the season, even when he's been in the lineup (which he won't be tonight - he has a strained wrist).  The Nets are returning home after a tough 0-4 road trip out West.  Of course, every road trip is tough when you're the Nets.  Maybe the return home will give them a boost.  But probably not.  They're only 2 and 17 at home, and they draw fewer than 14,000 per game, fifth worst in the league.  For a Wednesday night game in January against the Clippers, I doubt they'll have 10K tonight.  Brook Lopez had a nice game against the Clippers last time, as did recently acquired Kris Humphries.  Pretty much everyone else stunk.

The Subplots

  • [Note by Steve Perrin, 01/27/10 3:32 PM PST ] EJ is Playing!  Hat tip to Citizen NBAFAN8 for finding the link.
  • Chasing infamy.  Mark Heisler and Ira Winderman weighed in on the chase for fewer than 9 wins in the Fabulous Forum blog today
  • Revisting Harris for Kidd.  The trade that brought Devin Harris to New Jersey in exchange for Jason Kidd two years ago looked like an unadulterated win for the Nets last season.  Now?  Not so much.  Kelly Dwyer wrote an interesting post on the subject this week.  With the way Harris is playing and the injuries he's been suffering, the Nets would have trouble moving the guy right now.  This time last season, he was untouchable.  Things change.
  • All Star Center Match Up?  We may be watching the two All Star reserve centers go head to head tonight.  Which is kind of sad.  The state of center play in the NBA is not what it once was.  There's little question that there are plenty of better all around players than Chris Kaman in the West; but there aren't better centers, so if the voters stick to the positional guidelines (and don't try to fudge Zach Randolph as a center, for instance), he's got a real chance of getting in.  In the East, Lopez likewise has the advantage of being the best player at a thin position, but the disadvantage of playing for the worst team in the league.  Then again, in the East there are fewer compelling alternatives.  In the West, either Pau Gasol or Randolph is likely to be left out if Kaman gets in. 
  • Bobby Brown's Debut.  Recently acquired Bobby Brown joined the team yesterday and will be in uniform tonight.  Mardy Collins has stepped up and performed pretty well in point guard duty on this trip - but don't be surprised if MDsr goes with the more prototypical choice in Brown as Baron's backup tonight.  The Clippers got Brown and cash from the Hornets for a conditional second round pick - that is to say, they got him for free.
  • Shortest career in NBA history?  Assuming JamesOn Curry never makes it back to the NBA (the Clippers released him from his 10 day contract today to make room for Brown), I am pretty sure he has the shortest career in NBA history.  He made it on to the floor for the final 3.9 seconds of the third quarter in Boston Monday.  According to, 10 players in NBA history have had a career of 1 minute or less.  But since most box scores are rounded to the nearest minute, it's difficult to be precise as to exactly how long some of those brief appearances were.  Two players - Curry and Alex Scales briefly of the Spurs - have careers that actually round to 0 minutes.  Looking at the play-by-play, Scales played 9 seconds at the end of a Spurs-Suns game in Nov. 2005.  So Curry's 3.9 second career is the new champ, at least for the time being.
  • Movie Quote: 
  • So long, and thanks for all the fish /
    So sad that it should come to this /
    We tried to warn you all, but, oh, dear
    You may not share out intellect
    Which might explain your disrespect
    For all the natural wonders that grow around you
    So long, so long, and thanks for all the fish!
    The world's about to be destroyed
    There's no point getting all annoyed
    Lie back and let the planet dissolve around you
    Despite those nets of tuna fleets
    We thought that most of you were sweet
    Especially tiny tots and your pregnant women
    So long, so long, so long, so long, so long! So long, so long, so long, so long, so long!
    So long, so long, and thanks for all the fish!

    Dolphins, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005). This was a strange little movie that didn't get a lot of attention, but if you're a fan of the Douglas Adams novels (and aren't we all?), you should check it out.  It's a pretty faithful adaptation, with a screenplay penned by Adams himself.  It also has a fun cast - I didn't really know the guy playing Arthur Dent, but the rest of the cast includes Mos Def, Sam Rockwell, Zooey Deschanel (who I love!) and Alan Rickman and Helen Mirren as the voices of Marvin the robot and the Deep Thought computer respectively.  Of course, I realize that the Hitchhiker's Guide can be painful for Clipper fans because of the number 42.

  • Get the Nets perspective at Nets Daily, which has joined SBNation, but hasn't converted to the SBNation platform just yet.