Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sigh, the Clips blew a golden opportunity, ahem, to put some distance between them and their bay neighbors to the north, as well as close ranks on Denver, but Shane Battier, in a fit of pique for which the damn sumbitch has been known throughout his career, nailed a dagger three while Tim Thomas lollygagged ogling some courtside breastesses and, thus, despite a valiant effort, the same conclusion that was eventually foregone in Houston a couple weeks ago comes to fruition again at the Staples Center in downtown La-la land.

Despite the loss, luckily, we're still in the driver's seat. The Clips lounge firmly in the 8 spot, a game and a half ahead of Golden State and the same game & a half behind Denver, with the Warriors playing Phoenix tonight, so, the dubs’ penchant for knocking off the better teams in the league notwithstanding, smart money will have them dumping another one to the Suns on this fine Spring post equinox calendar notch, which should gave our favorite LA bastard stepchildren a bit more breathing room, but just a bit. There's way too much time left in this odd NBA season to do any laurel resting.

I know it’s been said over & over by myself as well as numerous and much more well qualified others, but what the hell is up with Chris Kaman? In last night's game, just off the top of my head, I count at least 2 simple uncontested layups that he just outright bricked, but I also count at least two virtual pirouette almost ballerina like moves that barishnokov would have been hard pressed to pull off, (aye aye, cap’n, exaggeration alert, starboard) in which the ball inevitably swished thru the hoop. A lot of people call Kaman a stiff and a bust (I won’t name names, HE NAMED NAMES), but I still maintain that once he gets his head ass removal surgery, he’ll be a dominant force in this league, with grain of salt alert vis a vis the fact I have maintained in the past and still subscribe to the theory that Def Leppard is pound for pound (even minus the one arm) possibly the greatest rock band in history, provided you accept that everything post pyromania except for half of hysteria was written and performed by evil clones.

Elton once again showed us why he’s the man. Now that’s something nice to see, EB in full formation as the superstar he is at this point of the year. (My Lord, how was that block on Yao in the 4th?) Even Sam Cassell flopping around on the baseline was somewhat prognostically to the good, but please don’t ask me why. Jason Hart had probably his best game as a clipper, and made a huge mid range jumper in clutch time, but all in all, it just wasn’t enough. Too much McGrady, too much Yao, too much (brrr) Chuck Hayes, and WAY too much Shane Batter, and his under the radar insidious wares and wiles. Tom Tolbert mentioned on the ESPN telecast, and I think he’s right, nobody wants to have to go up against Houston in the playoffs. This team can beat anybody, and their record would be much better if not for the injuries they had throughout the year. You have to tip your hat to Van Gundy, a guy who has perennially gotten more out of squads than what you would think they’re capable of (I mean, Jesus, look at that Knicks team that lost in the finals to San Antone in 99), primarily via the defensive end.

You know what, though? I really feel that the Clips can make some noise, too. Especially if we can sneak into that 7 spot, which is a very real possibility. I’d love to see a rematch with Phoenix in the playoffs this year, and I wouldn’t go so far as to put money on the clippers’ chances in that series, but I’d give them a better shot in that one than against Dallas. The Clippers are peaking at just the right time of the year, the only problem being that we still haven’t ascertained the exact quality level of this particular peak, and whether this is a peak in the sense that there’s no more room to go up, or it’s just a peak in relation to what has come in the season before, and that their best basketball is ahead of them and in the playoffs. I like to think the latter, but, then again, Joe Elliot is dead to me, laying in a coffin right next door to Steamin’ Steve Clark, and thus still garnered across the globe, under & overground, with praise & thanksgiving.

UPDATE:

I can’t believe I forgot to mention the horse manure call to only give Cat two free throws after he got hacked on the 3 point attempt at the very end of the game. Maybe I kind of dismissed it because he missed the first from the line anyway, but Clipperblog makes a good point about that, as well as a plethora of others in ref that final minute in which clips went from 2 up to losing the game. Click the quote for the full wisdom, but here’s the pertinent bit on the Cat foul:

...Mobley earns three shots, but the officials give him only two. It’s really not even a close call. The Clippers get jobbed. Some will point out that Mobley misses the first of two, but I’m not someone who believes that counterfactuals like that work. If Cat has three to tie, it might be an entirely different mindset and conclusion. We’re not talking about something so arbitrary as a block-charge call. If you can use instant replay to check something as visually binary as the clock – did the shot beat 0:00 or not? – then you should be able to use it to get a foot-on-the-line call correct.

Seems logical, which might be why the officials threw it out the window with yesterday’s bathwater, logic being the, uh, enemy, you know. The only way I was able to explain it to myself before I passed out from sleep deprivation was that they called a non-shooting foul, thus negating the relevance of where Cat was on the floor, but even that argument would be dubious at best, because it definitely appeared Mobley was in the act of throwing it up.

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