Friday, March 02, 2007

Wow, the Clippers looked really really bad last night. But I guess that’s what happens when your starting point guard is Daniel Ewing and your backup just got plucked out of the NBDL (Will Conroy). Conroy actually looked OK, but made a couple really costly mistakes, but hey, who didn’t? The Clippers turned the ball over at an ungodly rate, and the Sonics looked practically as bad, (not necessarily with turnovers, just in general), but Seattle squeaked out the win (barely), in a game so ugly that Charles Barkely, typically, complained about having to even watch.

Although the Clippers could bitch about Shaun and Sam being out (and Tim Thomas missing much of the 2nd with more back spasms), the Sonics were without their best player, Ray Allen, last night. (cue half hearted yet not quite justifiable Rashard Lewis teeth gnashing in the background.) And it could be for a while, as apparently the perrennial sharp shooter, Allen, (who Doug Collins gushed over last night as the best pure shooter EVER) is thinking about having surgery on his ankle, which would put him out for the season. According to Sonics Insider Frank Hughes:

...he has a bone spur in his left ankle, right around where your shoe meets your ankle. He said surgery is a very good possibility because this has been bothering him for two months and nothing has changed...

...Basically, Ray said, he twisted his ankles three times when he was younger (once at Uconn, twice in Milwaukee) and he thinks he came back too soon to allow them to heal properly...

If the Sonics are ready to start their divebomb for Kevin Durant or Greg Oden, this would seem like a good thing, but, eh, I just can’t get behind that, call me old fashioned. It’s just too depressing hearing teams (or rather, fans of teams) talk about purposefully losing games, but that’s an argument for another day, or perhaps never.

Speaking of players that are actually playing, for the Sonics, Rashard Lewis was a beast last night; dunks, outside shots, flying all over the place, grabbing rebounds, the Sonics will really have to break out the diamond mine to keep him around (free agent at the end of the year). And he’ll only get better; he’s still a young kid, really. Chris Wilcox looked OK, typical Chris, he was lost at times, and then all of a sudden he’d do something amazing. The big one I remember was the put back dunk in the 2nd half, but there were other moments.

As for the Clippers, well, Shaun is the obvious piece missing, and he ain’t coming back anytime soon, which means not having Sam Cassell, even if just for one game, just absolutely kills them. The offense just doesn’t move, passes flying all over to the wrong places, people out of position, just chaos. The simple screen roll that Sam and Elton run seems so simple, but it’s been born out of those two having such a familiarity with each other as to exactly where they’re each going to be, they know what each other is going to do, and obviously that synergy does not exist between Elton Brand and Daniel Ewing, let alone Will Conroy. They just could not get Elton the ball properly the whole first half, a big portion of which is Elton’s fault, but someone’s got to set his table to some degree. Elton will have to adjust and play the rest of the season like he did the 2nd half, basically assume the double team’s coming and get the ball, shoot, or pass, and move on with his day. The double (and triple) teams were relentless, and unless Cat Mobley or someone else lights up (which Cat did in the first half, but was conspicuously absent in the 2nd) then it will continue, and even then it probably will, people will dare the Clips to shoot their way to victory, and I just don’t see it happening, definitely not without a gamey Sam Cassell, which is a rarer & rarer sighting this season.

I hate to say it, but it really looks like we’re screwed; if the Clips can’t beat a team like Seattle, who besides Rashard Lewis going off for 30 plus (and he did look really good, although the Clipper defense gave him a few easy ones, including not once but TWICE fouling him as he shot a 3-pointer), played relatively poorly, who ran the same simple “elbow” (as Doug Collins called it) pass off play to the guy running hellbent into the post, over and over and over again, and granted, I do feel that the refs we’re calling it a bit towards the Sonics (Maggette especially must have been getting frustrated), but if they can’t beat this team, who practically tried to HAND the game to the Clippers in the end, then we’re doomed. If Sam misses more than 4 or 5 games TOTAL the rest of the way, we’re doomed, and we may be fucked anyway. I mean, it’s not like the Clippers were dominating with Sam and Shaun running things, but at least we could get a play set up, and run it, and hold on to the ball with some reasonable aplomb. Last night, every time the Clippers got a rebound, I prayed with fingers crossed that they’d even be able to hold on to it long enough to pass off to a guard and get it across halfcourt without turning it over, and oftentimes, they couldn’t get even that accomlished.

This just reminds me too much of Shaun’s rookie year, when he was hurt almost the whole season (harbinger alert), and it was Rick Brunson, starting point guard. These are not good memories. Unless Will Conroy suddenly grows wings and starts shooting butterflies out of his ass (metaphorically of course), which, who knows, it could happen, honestly, I think I see a bit more light in him than Ewing, but hey, I have to give Daniel more time, but, wow. I don’t know, I just don’t know. Last night’s loss to a team we really should have beat, beat up as they were, just told me volumes, much of which I already knew, about how devastating for the organization Shaun’s injury really was.

I've also, after further deliberation, made myself completely comfortable with the fact that the Earth is round and Elvis is dead. Yup, revelations abound. (cries).


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