Wednesday, March 14, 2007

After watching last night’s game, in which the Clippers actually played pretty well, tip your hat blah effin blah, the biggest most obvious thing that I couldn’t stop thinking is that the ghost of Rick Brunson is haunting the building. And when I say building I don’t mean the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, I mean the metaphorical building that is the Clipper organization. Not that I’m saying the former Clipper point guard is dead or anything, or that he didn’t put in good honest work for the Clippers at a time when they were heartily grateful for his services, but lower echelon mediocrity at the point guard position was something I really thought we wouldn’t have to deal with in Clipperdom for a long time, what with Sam Cassell arriving on his white horse and Shaun Livingston (the future) appearing to shake off that first year injury bug & flourishing (if not at the pace that some would have liked). We were doubled up with a quality vet and a ceilingless prospect at the point. That sad Brunson reality is somehow settled upon us again, though, at least until we get a hale and hearty Sam Cassell back in the lineup (which is looking dicier & dicier, although hopefully all the rest will leave him fresh for the playoffs, assuming we get in?).

Don’t get me wrong, Jason Hart seems very serviceable. Even Daniel Ewing is a nice player, although he’s at best a journeyman 2 guard. I think Hart made some great plays, especially in the first quarter, but he ran out of gas (he was getting no minutes in Sacto), and then idiot Dunleavy let him cool off a bit too much before inserting him back into the lineup deep into the 2nd quarter. But that’s neither here nor there, Ewing played OK, and Hart, after his outburst to start the contest, tapered off, so who knows.

As for Elton, he looked a bit rusty at the start, but settled in nicely in the 2nd half. Kaman looked a complete mess early, and I don’t know if you’d call it settling down, but he turned it over less and made some nice (if not nice looking) shots down the stretch. Maggette had a nice hot streak going for a while, Cat made some nice plays. Really over all, not a gigantic amount to complain about.

The Spurs were just too good. Especially Tony Parker, and especially down the stretch. The fastest guy in the league not named TJ Ford, Parker just blew by LA consistently and whenever he felt like it during the last 8 minutes of the ball game, staging his own private layup drill. Yeah, there were a few other nifty plays, Manu hit a killer three, Duncan made a bucket or two, but it was really the Tony Parker show, which made me opine even more for a real point guard. Parker may not be the prototypical play maker creator point guard, although he’s not bad (actually pretty good) at those things, but his speed and his knack for getting to the basket, along with how everyone on that goddamm team seems to be in the right place at the right time (something the Clippers were actually doing pretty well last night too, oddly) makes him the perfect one guard for this squad, and made me recant, at least to myself, my ire that he was voted onto the all star team a month back. The guy deserves it.

Anyway, tough to see rose coloring after a loss, but I think if the Clips play as well tonight as they did in San Antone last night, they’ve got a real good shot in Houston, against a team with a whole other set of nightmares to contend against, most notably Tracy McGrady & Yao Ming. Not exactly a night off, but they’re not the caliber of the Spurs. I have to say, for the first time in weeks, I looked at the Clippers and thought, “ok, self, maybe the Clippers can actually win a game or two in the playoffs this year.” They were moving the ball really well, guys were hitting shots, they looked like they gave three quarters of a shit. I mean, if we can get Sam back healthy and get Hart coming off the bunch, and everything else clicking at at least a medium pace? Plus the playoffs version of Tim Thomas finishing waking up from his grave (he’s already started shaking some of the coffin splinters off his suit lapel), I dunno, call me an ignorant optimist, but crazier things have happened. La vida loca, sing to me, tell me sweet tales of which you know aren’t true. Gracias.

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