Thursday, March 15, 2007

Rockets 109, Clippers 105

It's satisfying to play well, but we have to get victories," Brand said. "We had opportunities and we just didn't finish. We just wanted to win this game so badly and we let it slip away. It's a tough loss."

Elton had a season high 37 plus 10 boards. McGrady led the Rockets with 21.

Clips fell out of 8th playoff spot (by percentage points, they’re practically tied with Golden State)

Rafer Alston killed the clips, going 7-10, 4-5 from 3, for 20 points.

Chuck Hayes had career high 16 points and was all OVER the place. I really thought we had it when he fouled out. How often do you say you thought that Chuck Hayes fouling out was going to swing the game?

Ross, who prior to the trade deadline and the sudden arrival (seemingly) of one Mr. Corey Maggette back into Dunleavy’s good graces, played only 7 minutes. Maggette on the other hand played 36 minutes, 2nd only to Brand, and scored 13 points, shot 50% from the field, grabbed 7 boards, plus 4 assists and a steal, but he did turn the ball over 5 times (more than anyone else in the game, clipper or rocket). Corey had in my opinion the play of the game for LA, & it came at a crucial moment (really the most dramatic sequence in a steadily building Clipper run which got them right back in the game after being down by as much as 17, although Elton's thuderous dunk around Yao was pretty big, too) stealing the tip off a jump ball and driving in for an acrobatic falling down one handed flying scoop shot layup.

I thought Daniel Ewing actually played pretty well. Jason Hart? Eh. He really fooled me in that first quarter against San Antone. I'm not totally sold that he was much better of an option than Will Conroy, although he does seem a bit more polished, if not as handy of a distributor as Conroy was (which was what we really needed, still do).

Elton had his best game of the year, just dominated in the 2nd half, but the clippers faltered down the stretch. The whole game was marred by very poor Clipper passing and spacing, with moments of brilliance offset by true muck. Aside from Elton’s breakout, the team played a bit worse probably than they did in San Antonio the night before, yet were still in position to win it at the end.

The Clippers have today off and are at Charlotte tomorrow, a game they just have to win, aside from Milwaukee the most winnable game on the 6 game trip, to which they have now stumbled to an 0-2 start.

Ralph Lawler & Mike Smith interviewed the Clippers team doctor, Tony something or other, and it sounds like the “dream team” of doctors had a successful venture with Shaun Livingston’s knee the day before. Apparently one of the ligaments, the PCL, wasn’t as destroyed as they thought, & they were able to repair it, rather than replace it, as it sounds like they did with the other two (with cadaver ligaments). According to the doc, Shaun had good range of motion post surgery and they sewed it up real tight, so now just time and massive amounts of hard work will tell. Shaun’s got two weeks of initial rehab in Alabama, and then he’ll be heading back to LA to continue the long road hopefully, eventually, back into playing shape.


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