Thursday, January 24, 2008

Well up until last night I had been living in a world where it was still early in the first quarter of the clips home game against Utah on MLK Jr. day. I avoided any and all reference to the clippers for over 48 hours, except for one moment to verify what year it was they fled Buffalo (1978).

I had caught every precious minute of the home overtime thriller win against New Jersey, Al Thornton’s best yet. The kid looked great. But against Utah? Well, for a spell he looked great, and then for whatever reason Dunleavy decided to give him the green light in the fourth quarter (despite the clips still being in the game) to force up any and all shots the 24 year old rook deemed makeable. Which happened to be anything with a hair of daylight involved.

The results were not good. Al hit a few, but missed more, and it took LA out of whatever semblance of an offensive rhythm (granted, not a huge entity) that they’d managed to discover.

But back to the New Jersey game. Kaman’s block early on Sean Williams, wow. And then Sean Williams with a good number of his own later in the game. That Williams guy is a monster. He will be an amazing NBA center slash 4 if he keeps his head straight. Gotta love the high socks, too, and the pointy goater. (noticed Okur rocking one of those for Utah, as well.)

Goddammit. I just somehow accidentally despite years of so called expertise in information control, discovered that our lovable bastard stepchildren blew out (and wow, really demolished, per the score) the Sacto Queens. And home it sits on my TIVO waiting for me to discover it tonight in all its glory and now, really, the thrill is gone. I guess that’s OK, with the logjam of games on KTLA (I get that, but not Fox Prime Ticket, on my satellite system, go figure) this week, it’s not likely (2 kids under 2, referenced other spots, natch) that I’d be able to catch it before the back to back telecasts on Friday & Saturday against Memphis and New Orleans, so, well, oh well. Maybe I’ll still peruse it a bit in the midnight hours when the rest of the house sleeps, which is how I managed to watch the Utah game last night.

But then, that’s extraneous information, but then, contrarily, is any information truly extraneous? Even the most seemingly useless tidbit, in the proper perspective, can later be deemed invaluable. Aye, sirrah. Well, let me wander toward the workplace requirements and check in with you later fair clipper fan(s). Shalom.

I will close with noting that the clips have won 3 out of their last 5, with both losses coming against Utah (from what I saw in the nether hours last night, a DAMN good squad, which by my reckoning will be a force in the playoffs again, notwithstanding their current slightly less than spectacular record.) Not bad for a season on (ok, beyond, in all likelihood) the brink. You gotta find your grains of non-rotten wheat somewhere.

update: I think I should qualify my label of Utah as a damn good squad based on last night's viewing. this opinion might sound odd in that, actually, Utah looked like shit in this game. Boozer was good on the glass and scoring, but not up to par with his normal self. AK47 was almost completely absent (partially due to foul trouble). Okur was not amazing, but shot the ball reasonably well. And all this is why I think Utah is so dangerous. Deron Williams held it together and managed to whoop the Clippers with beautiful passes to cutting Ronnie Brewer & Paul Millsap, among others. Brewer, especially, looked good in this game. And Kyle Korver can still shoot the lights out. If Kirilenko is even close to himself and if the Jazz weren't turning the ball over like crazy in the first half (which the clips were doing equally ineptly), then this is even more of a blowout (not that it was necessarily an ass whuppin, but the end was pretty much determined with 7 or 8 minutes left, never a good thing). So there you go, finding evidence of beauty in ugly duckling perseverance. As mentioned, I was impressed with Williams. Yeah, he had some brainfart turnovers, but honestly, that seemed more a function of that wacky first half than any lack of skill on his part. He's going to be even better than he is now, which is damn good, and Utah will hang around for a bunch of years in the playoff picture, just like the Stockton Malone years. The question is, will they be perennial also rans like those older squads, or will Williams Boozer (and I think the X-factor is definitely Kirilenko, who still has this odd habit of disappearing now and again, despite his unbelievable talent) et al push them over the mountain to a title before these guys are old & gray and the next round of pick and roll practitioners are trudging up & down the court for Jerry Sloan? remains to be seen, but it's entertaining product nonetheless. Prolly fair recompense for having to live in Utah. Natch.

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