Okay, okay, I know, I’ve been slacking. It’s now taken me so long to finish up writing about the last game that the Clips already played another game last night. Thus before I continue from Part I, lemme briefly talk about last night’s game:
As much as the previous contest seemed like a regular season game, last night’s game was completely the opposite. The Spurs sat Tony Parker, Manu played 19 minutes, and Duncan & Richard Jefferson each went for only 16. Instead they gave minutes to players like Malik Hairston, Marcus Haislip (if you mumble don’t those two names sound eerily similar?), Curtis Jerrells & Ian Mahinmi. The Clips did the same by completely sitting Camby, Kamen, Eric Gordon & the still slightly injured Sebastian Telfair. Instead Kareem Rush & Jerel McNeal combined for nearly 30 minutes of action. So Blake Griffin getting 23 points is nice, but it might as well have been a summer league game. DeAndre Jordan got good minutes and again produced which is nice. Craig Smith returned to action, but disappointingly he fouled out in 21 minutes. Then again with all the bigs we have, we probably won’t even need him to play that many minutes for us during the regular season.
Anyhoo…. back to the previous game:
-Al Thornton, much like the Warriors’ Anthony Randolph, tried really hard on D, but it just resulted in them both getting dumb quick fouls and making their coaches not want to play them. It’s the curse of the young (&the defensively clueless). They need to learn how to slow down the game. Even Mr.Griffin himself rushed far too much whenever he made a move down low.
-Defense: The Clips need work. Kaman and Baron seemed to have trouble defending the pick & roll. Kaman would step out to slow down the cutter, but the cutter would then just go right around him before Baron could catch up. I actually have faith in Dunleavy that he’ll get the D to the next level. As long as everyone remains motivated & excited to play & improve. And so far it definitely seems like they’re all on board.
-Clipper Darryl: For those who don’t go to any live games, Clipper Darryl is like a national treasure to the team. He comes to every game in a home-made Mad Hatter-style suit in Clipper colors — a line down the middle separates the red from the blue. I once saw a news piece on him, and his whole house is like an amazing shrine to the Clips. In fact, Mavericks’ owner, Mark Cuban, was so impressed with Darryl that he tried to pry him away by offering to pay him to come to Dallas and cheer like that for the Mavs. It was a sweet deal that was hard to resist, but in the end D couldn’t leave his true team. Anyway, point is that he’s already in mid-season form. I think he may’ve added a new cheer to his repertoire, but I don’t fully remember: he might’ve used it in the past. It’s the classic, “You U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi, you ugly, you ugly, your Mama says you ugly.”
-Posting-up, part II: When I mentioned last time that the Clips looked good when they did simple things like posting up Kaman & Griffin, I forgot to mention they also looked really good when B.Diddy went down low too. Kevin Arnovitz wrote a nice piece about it and also included this great video he did:
-Tickets: I spoke to the lovely, intelligent (& true bball fan) Maria Michel in Ticket Sales and was amazed to learn that the Clippers are currently #5 in ticket sales in the league. As I said, there was energy in the arena even with it being 70% empty because it was pre-season. If we do start filling up this year (besides the few times we play the Lakers, LeBron & Celts), could we possibly blow the roof off? We’ll see. Me, I’m even considering getting 1/2 a chunk of season tickets.
-Parking: If I’mna talk about ticket sales, Darryl & how Staples should let us move up close, I might as well get into the nitty-gritty of parking. For you non-LA-ers, it’s always been tough to find free street parking in the area. Recently, in the latest attempt to actually make downtown an area where people go, a huge entertainment complex, L.A.Live, was built right next to Staples Center. They charge $25 for parking. And they’ve brought so many people to the area that finding parking on the street is near impossible. Plus soon they’ll be opening a like 14-plex movie theater which’ll make it even worse. Are people gonna pay $10 to see a movie, but $20 to park at it? It seems crazy to me. Can we get some more reasonable prices, please? Then again, people will pay $8 to go to a movie but then $14 for concessions to go along with it, so who knows. The thing that’s depressing is that won’t we soon price-out working class families? They’re gonna buy 4 tickets at $25 each, plus $25 parking, and likely nearly $50 from the overpriced food stands, and we’re talking that’s nearly $200 to take yer son and daughter to a game! Sorry, I’m a cheap-ass Jew so these things bug me. Back to actual bball stuff…
-Ricky Davis: He seems like he’s being the good soldier, so I’ve got no issue with him. However, like with last year, he no longer seems to have his explosiveness. Making him kinda useless. He doesn’t have Thornton’s ability to create offense, nor is his three-point shot and defense as good as Rasual Butler. Leaving him with nothing to really add to the conversation. Unless someone gets hurt. But of all the injury concerns on the Clips, I ain’t worried about Thornton & Butler.
-Emotion: I honestly think the energy of Madsen waving a towel on the bench would’ve been more useful than Ricky (but I don’t think Ricky will hurt team chemistry). Baron is someone who plays best with emotion, plus he’s the only one who can really bring that swagger to the team. Gordon, Kaman, Blake, Camby, they’re not the types to ROAR after making a big play & fire up the crowd. Thus it wasn’t surprising that while Baron was trying to be the good soldier in the first half and not doing his own thang, the Clips got down by 20. And when he got his groove on in the third, they zoomed back into the lead. Well, truth is Baron needs to be a good soldier a bunch & not just initiate the offense each time down. A Madsen on the bench jumping up and down would be able to keep Baron pumped throughout in a way that none of these other guys can.
Actually, ironically enough the only other person on the team with that ROAR after a score is Ricky Davis, but it seems Ricky no longer can do the things that used to make him roarrrrr…