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Clippers at Denver - Game Preview

2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
Pepsi Center
April 3rd, 2010, 6:00 PM
FSN Prime Ticket, 980 AM
Probable starters:
Steve Blake
PG Chauncey Billups
Eric Gordon
SG Arron Afflalo
Rasual Butler
SF Carmelo Anthony
DeAndre Jordan
PF Nene
Chris Kaman
C Johan Petro


The Back Story:



The Big Picture:

I wish I could muster some enthusiasm for these final seven games, I really do.  Then again, if the team can't get up for the games, then how can I be expected to?  Here are some things that would help my level of engagement.  If Eric Gordon were playing great - or well - or not terribly.  If Chris Kaman were dominating both ends of the floor and not making silly turnovers.  If DeAndre Jordan were making progress towards becoming a productive NBA player.  Remember, with Baron Davis back in LA resting his back and of course no Blake Griffin, those are the only three active players likely to be on the team next season.  So if they're not playing well, then it feels particularly pointless - not just the normal level of 'Clippers-games-in-April' pointless.


The Antagonist:

Word around the Cyber break room at SB Nation is that lottery team blogs will officially be adopting playoff teams to follow, and the playoff blogs will be lobbying for our attentions.  Of course, we're already well-versed in adopting mistress teams around these parts, have been doing it for years, and have been talking about it for awhile already this year.  Whichever team we end up going with, I think it's safe to rule out at least two - the Lakers and the Nuggets.  The aversion to the Lakers is pretty obvious - it's not impossible to be a Clipper fan and a Laker fan - but it's pretty effing hard.  Harder than to be a Dodgers fan and an Angels fan.  Maybe not as hard as to be a Bruins fan and a Trojans fan.  On the other hand, there's not as clear cut a reason to dislike Denver - yet we do.  Or maybe I'm being completely presumptuous here - am I relatively alone in my dislike of the Nuggets?  I don't think so.  Any team that includes Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith in it's top five players is thuggish at least.  Obviously, Chauncey Billups for Allen Iverson was a major upgrade, but the Nuggets are still very low on my list even so.  So it's been fun seeing them drop from the second position in the West to the fifth position in the West these last couple of weeks.  It happened fast, and as the only team in the west slumping into April, their slide could continue down the list.  As it is, unless they pick up the pace, they will not have home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and as a team that thrives at home, that usually spells trouble for them.  They've struggled against good teams since losing Kenyon Martin in early March - but the Clippers are not a good team, so it shouldn't be much of a problem tonight. 

The Subplots:

  • Special Guest Recapper.  I'm visiting my new nephew, baby Dunston (I didn't name him people, don't blame me) in Seattle.  So regulan has volunteered to write a recap tonight.  Good luck with that.  And thanks.
  • What's happening with DeAndre?  DeAndre Jordan got the start in Toronto on Wednesday, which is fine by me, even if he did get more fouls than points.  After the game, despite the fact that Drew Gooden totally outplayed DJ, Kim Hughes said Jordan would start again tonight.  We'll see if indeed that happens, and who gets benched if it does.
  • Tough at home.  It likely has at least something to do with the altitude, but the Nuggets have one of the best home court advantages year in and year out, which is why a fifth seed or below would be such a disaster for them.  Their 31-6 home record is the third best in the NBA, behind only Cleveland and the Lakers.  But they have a losing record on the road.  Of course, that doesn't help the Clippers tonight.
  • Split the first two.  True to home/road form, the Clippers and Nuggets split their first two games, with each winning at home.  The Clippers' win way back in November was their first quality win of the season, but that seems like an eternity ago now.
  • A tale of two Rasuals.  When the Clippers beat the Nuggets, Rasual Butler scored 29 points and couldn't miss.  When they lost, he had two points on 1 for 5 shooting.
  • Bad trip, man.  The last time the Clippers played the Nuggets, it was at the start of the trip that truly ended the season.  A little more than a week removed from the double whammy of the water main in Memphis and the Blake patella bombshell, the team had managed to eke out home wins against the Nets and Bulls and set off on a season long road trip.  It started with a drubbing on TNT to the Nuggets, and went downhill from there, with soul-crushing losses in New Jersey and Minnesota.  When the trip was over, Kim Hughes was the coach, so it certainly crushed MDsr's soul.
  •  Movie Quote: 

    We love you Denver! City by the Bay!
    Chazz Michael Michaels, Blades of Glory (2007) - I think I've opined on this before, but don't you think Will Ferrell and his buddies must just sit around and brainstorm about unlikely sports movies to make?  Seriously, Semi-Pro was like a docu-drama for those guys.  They really should option the old Harry Shearer, Martin Short, men's synchronized swimming SNL skit and make it a feature film.  That, or something about curling.
  • Get the Nuggets perspective at Denver Stiffs.