Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Lakers and Clippers are teams going in vastly different directions at this precise moment. The Lakers, to put it bluntly, look just horrible, if you were to base their quality on last night’s game. I imagine, especially against a team with two quality bigs like the Clips, they’re much different with Kwame Brown (out last night, and just the fact that he is a difference maker to that extent being a huge red flag in the first place). The other big thing is that Andrew Bynum, their 7 foot kid prodigy, just doesn’t look nearly as good as he did at the beginning of the season. I caught a few laker games back in November and December, and this kid was looking off the charts. Maybe he just got tired, maybe he’s got a crush on a 20 year old stripper that’s jerking his chain, who the hell knows, he’s what, 18 years old? Could be anything. But it’s obviously affected his game. The Lakers, are, at this point, relatively healthy, not counting Kwame, but they still haven’t successfully gotten Luke Walton and Lamar back into the swing, although both of them, especially Odom, played pretty well last night. The Lakers still spend an inordinate amount of time standing around waiting for Kobe to do Kobe-like stuff, which he has been having to do quite often. Luckily, it didn’t work out for them last night, and the Clips were able to take advantage.

As for our lovely LA Bastard Stepchildren, the Clippers have never looked better the whole year. Jason Hart’s influence, combined with Kaman suddenly turning into an absolute beast (at the perfect time), combined with Cat Mobley becoming just an incredible all around player and hot hot shooter (Tim Thomas’ shot has been stroking pretty well as of late as well), and finally Corey Maggette and Dunleavy ending what may or may not have been a media created or at least enhanced argument over playing time, respect, defense, whatever. Corey is playing great, on both ends, and you can tell he really really cares and wants to win. You can see this plainly on the faces of the whole team. They are a team in every sense of the word, which just a month or so ago, bottoming out with Doug Christie basically telling the Clippers to suck it, that he had better things to do, like get pistol whipped by his wife and chained up in her shoe closet, they absolutely were not. They were nothing short of a complete mess. And now they have been magically cured. Beautiful.

Maybe not magically. Read Clipperblog’s excellent post on last night’s game for a very clear and cogent x’s & o’s explanation of why we are so much better, which among other fascinating things, elucidates how Chris Kaman’s renaissance has freed up so much space for Elton, and how this has, along with other delineated factors, brought back the spirit and substance of the beautiful ghost of the clippers’ 2006 playoff edition.

It just doesn’t seem logical, that clipper luck would be so good to have the guys peaking in every sense of the word at just the right time, AND Sam Cassell (likely) and Shaun Livingston (definitely) are out for the year? What? Who on God’s green earth could have predicted this? Not me, certainly, but I sure as damn hell am enjoying it. Especially when we beat the Lakers, and especially when we beat them by playing team ball while they look discombobulated and desperate, with Kobe throwing up shot after shot after crazy shot, making some, but missing much more. Huge win in every sense of the word last night, in the pride sense (beating your cross town rival), the morale sense (getting everyone involved and your quote unquote STAR, ie Elton Brand, playing a huge role, but not necessarily on the scoring end), the standings sense (Golden State, Denver, and NOOCH all won last night), and just the overall sense of the greater good and balance in the universe being restored to some semblance of positive chakra, or something similar that a feelgood witch doctor swami would say as chicken guts bake and tarot cards flip. Believe, clippernation, believe, anything can happen.


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