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Clippers vs. Oklahoma City - Open Thread

Staples Center
March 5th, 2010, 7:30 PM
Prime Ticket, 980 AM
Probable starters:
Baron Davis
PG Wussell Restbwook
Eric Gordon
SG Thabo Sefolosha
Rasual Butler
SF Kevin Durant
Drew Gooden
PF Jeff Green
Chris Kaman
C Nenad Krstic

The Back Story:

First Quarter Notes:

Jeff Green miss and airball and miss on first three touches. He has never looked good when I've watched him play. Not once.

Kim Hughes on Kevin Durant - top 4 in the NBA... don't touch him

On Rasual Butler's first touch, he goes right at Durant, so it seems like maybe they want to make the kid work on D. Unfortunately, I'm not sure Sool has the game to make him work.

The Thunder go on a 12-0 run to take a 18-6 lead, and 8 of the points come from Nenad Krstic on two offensive rebounds, a layup after Kaman throws away an outlet pass and a jumper. These are the things that Kaman needs to do better. He needs to rebound. He needs to take care of the ball. When he doesn't, it hurts.

The game is already in danger of slipping away when Craig Smith checks into the game and gives the Clippers an offensive boost. The Thunder are very long, and work very hard on defense. They are making life very difficult for the Clippers offense. Smith is sort of immune to length. He's a good counter. Smith ends the quarter with 11 of the Clippers 21 points. It was bad... it would have been much, much worse without Smith.

The Clippers are stone cold in the quarter from the perimeter. They shoot poorly overall (9 for 25, 36%) - but beyond poorly from outside. Of the 9 shots they make in the quarter, 8 are layups and one is a Kaman 8 footer. They shoot 0 for 10 out of the paint, by my count.

At the end of one, the Clippers are lucky to be down only 10 - 31-21.

Second Quarter Notes:

DJ steps to the line early in the second quarter and swishes two free throws like he was an 80% free throw shooter. Noticeably absent is the little left shoulder shimmy. It's just bounce bounce bounce shoot swish. You figure they must try a different line ritual every week. It would be great if they find one that works. His release has always looked pretty good. I have never been able to understand how he can be as bad as he is at the line.

So we need a new stat: most points scored without scoring out of the paint. A distant cousin to the 20wo30. The Clippers are well into the second quarter without scoring out of the paint, but somehow still in the game. The streaks ends (barely) at 36 points, as Rasual Butler makes a 15 footer on a fast break. As outside shots go, it's not particularly impressive, but at least it goes in.

Kaman eats up Ibaka and Collison in the second quarter. He scores 6 in 6 minutes before Scotty Brooks brings Nenad Krstic back. Not that Krstic has ever been known for his defense. Kaman's first touch after Krstic's return, he earns a trip to the line. He's well on his way to extending his 20wo30 record - or removing himself from the record books altogether. He seems pretty determined to keep the streak alive, missing three straight free throws to keep his first half total below 20.

James Harden has not played well in his first two games against the Clippers - 3 for 8 in the first meeting, 0 for 8 in the second. But he goes off on LAC in the second quarter. He makes 4 of 5 shots, including two threes, and also sets up his teammates. Hughes has to bring Gordon back to guard him to try to cool him off.

The Clippers end the second quarter ahead of where they started it, down only 7. They've missed essentially everything they've tried from the perimeter, their starting backcourt is a combined 2 for 12, they're shooting 38% overall, 0 for 7 from three, and they missed 4 free throws in the second quarter. Down 7? You take it.

Chris Kaman has 6 field goals and Craig Smith has 6 field goals. Rasual Butler has 2. No one else has more than 1. Yikes.

On the other side, Wussel Restbwook and Jeff Green continue their string totally useless performances against the Clippers. It's hard for me to relate to this team being a WC playoff team, because the two guys who are by all against the primary support to Durant always STINK when I watch them. Westbwook goes 1 for 5 in the first half - Green 2 for 9.

Halftime score - 53-46.

Third Quarter Notes:

The Clippers make their first three pointer, and first true perimeter basket, with 6:26 remaining in the third quarter. I was just about the write that I couldn't believe they were still in the game consider their total inability to score from the perimeter, when Butler finally put one in. The shot gets the lid off a little - Blake and Butler hit two more jumpers in short order.

The lid is still on for Baron Davis and Eric Gordon though. They're now 2 fo 17.

Kevin Durant gets the full on superstar treatment from the refs. He's a nightmare cover, and he's probably earning his trips legitimately, but I literally have thought on several occasions "Finally they stopped him" only to have the whistle blow.

The Clippers have the ball down four when Steve Blake gets an open look at a three - it rims out. Craig Smith gets the rebound, and appears to get fouled on the putback, but no call. The Thunder get eight straight to push the lead back out. The run includes a couple of questionable calls - a charge block, a loose ball, an illegal screen that all go against the Clippers. A break here or there and it's a 1 or 2 point game. Instead, it's a 12 point game.

DeAndre must lead the league in illegal screens per minute.

During the first half, there were 9 personal fouls called on each team. During the third quarter, that number is 8 calls against the Clippers, to 4 against the Thunder. The point is underscored on the final OKC possession of the quarter - Craig Smith shows on a screen, James Harden appears to run square into his chest , it's a fairly obvious no-call - and they blow the whistle and call Smith's fourth foul.

Third quarter score with Harden's free throws: 78-69.

Fourth Quarter Notes:

The fourth quarter begins the way the third quarter ended - with a questionable foul call against Craig Smith. It's more than just the free points for OKC at this point - Smith is one of the only things working for the Clippers on offense, and he has to sit with 5 fouls. An 8-0 OKC run to open the fourth probably ends any chance the Clippers had - the lead is 17 with 9 minutes to go.

Kaman checks out of the game with 3:45 remaining. After a 15 point first half, not only does he not make it to 30 - he doesn't make it to 20 - finishing with 19. So his streak is alive, but not extended.