While watching the game last night I tweeted, wondering if Mike Dunleavy had left Kim Hughes his scouting report on the Warriors and if it read in part, “go ahead and ignore Stephen Curry and focus your efforts on shutting down Ellis and Maggette. Curry’s not all that good.”
Yes, I know that’s more than 140 characters, I’m paraphrasing.
Anyway, Hughes must have read his predecessor’s report and been thrilled to see Ellis and Maggette were both out of action for the matchup due to injury. Rather than shift focus to the Warriors who were actually on the court, the Clippers let Curry get good looks early and often, and the first-year guard from Davidson recorded a triple-double (36 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds) and paced the Warriors in their 132-102 win.
Curry hit 5 three-pointers in the first quarter alone, getting open looks due to good movement off screens and just because no one bothered to guard him despite his obviously hot hand.
My buddy Jason was at the Oracle Arena rooting on the Warriors and he and I texted back and forth all night. The highlight was when he texted me because his dad wanted to know what was wrong with Baron, why was he on the bench for the entire fourth quarter. Simple enough answer: he played poorly and has a bad attitude when things aren’t going his way – and they certainly weren’t going his way last night, as evidenced by his line: 1-12 shooting, 1-3 from 3-point range, 2-3 from the line, 4 rebounds, 7 dimes and one turnover. I’m sure Darryl Morley has a cool stat for how many points a defender gives up that is more useful than +/- and I’m sure Baron’s was through the roof. His +/- was only -12 because he sat out much of the second half.
Baron is going to have to be the catalyst in any second-half resurgence the team hopes to have. The Clippers head into the All-Star break at 21-31 and are 8.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the West. Their remaining schedule is tough, with only 8 of their 30 games coming against teams with worse records than they have (though the Warriors showed last night that might not be a relevant stat) and they need to get hot early in order to not have the entire season get out of their control.
The trade deadline is a week away and looms as a large indicator of what the front office is thinking about this (and next) year’s version of the team. Who do they trade away and what do they look to get back? Hoopsworld’s Eric Pincus did a great job in detailing the team’s salary cap situation in an article yesterday and he reiterates the much questioned dilemma facing the team in their pursuit of high-profile free agents this summer: what if they’re snubbed?
Without games to cover, I’ll spend some time on the ESPN.com’s Trade Machine and will have a couple of possible scenarios up later today.
Enjoy the All-Star break, Clipperland. It’s a dangerous place for us, as we’ll be delighted to see Eric Gordon and Chris Kaman compete in the weekend’s activities and yet we’ll simultaneously be forced to wonder how they play on a team capable of putting up such a horrible display like last night’s.