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Clippers vs. Miami - Game Preview

2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
American Airlines Arena
March 10th, 2010, 4:30 PM
FSN Prime Ticket, 980 AM
Probable starters:
Baron Davis PG Carlos Arroyo
Rasual Butler
SG Dwyane Wade
Travis Outlaw
SF Quentin Richardson
Drew Gooden
PF Michael Beasley
Chris Kaman C Jermaine O'Neal

The Back Story:

January 10th in LA - Clippers 94 - Miami 84  Recap  Box Score

The Big Picture:

It's painful to think about the last time these two teams met.  The Clippers won that game 94-84, moving their record on the season to 17-18.  They're 8-21 since.  Ouch.  Of course, the very next game was that bizarre night in Memphis, when Chris Kaman was scratched because of an injury suffered in warm ups, then the Clippers lost a big lead after the arena was evacuated, and it all happened the same day we found out that Blake Griffin was lost for the season.  Usually a season is lost little by little, and you couldn't possibly pinpoint when it happened.  Not so this year.  We know the exact date (though the moment - whether it was when Blake was shut down or when the pipe at the FedEx Forum broke - is debatable).  But before that, there was the win against the Heat.  Coming as it did on the heels of a victory of the Lakers, the team seemed poised to make a real run.  Can it really be only two months ago?  Seems like two years.  So, this Clippers team kind of sucks, as compared to that team back in January.  They appears to have gone to P.O.T.S. - "playing out the string".  It is however possible that they are looking at this road trip, and saying to themselves that if they want to avoid the embarrassment of an 0-5 trip and seven game losing streak, they're not getting a better chance.  The Heat are a .500 team in the Eastern Conference and only 17-14 at home.  This is the game, fellas.  I'm assuming that Eric Gordon won't play based simply on the fact that he didn't play last night.  It remains to be seen if the rest of the Clippers will play - I mean, really and truly play.

The Antagonist:

The Heat are Dwyane Wade and a bunch of guys.  This summer, they won't even be that - they'll be "the Bird Right's to Dwyane Wade" and two guys.  They started the season 7-2, but ever since a loss on Dec. 3rd dropped them to 10-8, they've been within 2 games of .500.  They're just kind of .... there.  Good enough to be a low level playoff team in the East based on Wade's brilliance alone.  And that's it.

The Subplots

  • It's very late.  Class until 10, a recap, a 'severed' GM, and a preview.  The preview will suffer, there's no two ways about it.
  • Who the Hell is the Heat's point guard?  When I started writing this preview, I honestly didn't know.  In a bizarre turn that's also a little sad, Rafer Alston may have played his last NBA game.  The Heat benched him last week, and informed him that he would no longer be in the rotation (which seems strange, for a team still in the playoff picture).  Skip immediately went AWOL - but it turns out that was more due to a family emergency.  At any rate, his season is probably over, and it remains to be seen if any team is interested in him at 34 next season.  Carlos Arroyo is now the starter in Miami.
  • Talk about roster turnover.  The Clippers have what seems like an untenable nine free agents on their roster (out of 14).  The Heat will likely have eleven out of 14 (there are a couple of team options and Wade's player option that could change the number, but eleven is a good guess).  As it happens, Kim Hughes told Tim Povtak yesterday that so many free agents is bad for team play, as everyone starts looking to pad their own stats - but the Heat have managed to play .500 ball despite the same issue.  At any rate, I've never seen a case of a more cleaned out roster.  The Heat's top priority will be to re-sign Wade, and they have enough room for another major signing to join him.  But there's no telling what this team will look like next year.
  • Eric Gordon.  I'm just guessing that Gordon will continue to rest his sore leg.  There's not a lot of incentive to return, and if they don't really know what's wrong with it, it's doubtful they know how to fix it.  His defense on Wade may be the thing the Clippers miss the most.  I don't know if Rasual Butler or Baron Davis will draw the assignment.
  • Beasley.  I have one thing to say about Michael Beasley: don't let him go left. 
  • Movie Quote: 

    I don't want to go in there. He's a dangerous bastard. Taken too many disco biscuits in the heat of Russian disputations. He's got as many of these nuts as he has those nuts.

    Turkish, Snatch (2000) -  I enjoyed this crime caper directed like a music video by the former Mr. Madonna, Guy Ritchie.  But I found the accents a bit difficult to decipher.  Turns out, based on the quote above, the accents weren't the only problem - the things they said made no sense!  What the hell are disco biscuits?
  • Get the Heat perspective at Peninsula is Mightier.