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Thursday, February 23, 2006 

CLIPPERS COME BACK TO PACK

Two pieces of good news from the Clippers' "Texas Two-Step" through Dallas and Houston: 1) Most importantly, it's over. 2.) The Clips covered the spread both nights. Unless you had action, though (or got a little on the side), you probably cried in your Cheerios this morning. Two heartbreakers in a row can do that to you.

Whereas the Clippers had chances to take late leads against the Mavericks, the Rockets kept just far enough in front to prevent any last-second heroics. The Clippers pulled to within four thrice in the final frame but would get no closer as the Rockets held on for the 106-102 victory, their eleventh in the last twelve with the Clips. Each Clipper on the court blew at least one big play down the stretch.

The problems that plagued the Clippers during the dog days of late December and early January have returned with a vengeance. With Quinton Ross out, L.A. allowed Houston to shoot 48.1% from the field -- hardly what Peter Scolari on Newhart would call a "co-inky-dink." The Rockets considerably outrebounded the Clippers (12-33-45 vs. 10-26-36). Sam Cassell shot 6-18 overall and 0-4 behind the arc, reminiscent of games when I wrote he was "singlehandedly killing" the Clips. Chris Kaman continues to wilt against legitimate opposing centers, his 11 and 7 paling in comparison with Yao Ming's 29 and 15.

Thus did the Clippers waste Cuttino Mobley's best effort of the year (30 points including 5-7 3FGs) and another monster game from Elton Brand (32 and 12 with a pair each of assists, steals and blocked shots). The Clipper All-Star of the Game: role player David Wesley, who torched the Clips for 21 on 8-10 shooting (4-4 2FGs, 4-6 3FGs) -- good enough to shut my mouth if not Sam's.

All eyes now turn downtown for tomorrow night's matchup with the hated Lakers. It's the opener of a three-game homestand that will also bring the Bobcats and Hornets to Staples Center. Beating the Lakers is always big, but it's almost mandatory at this point. The Clippers must stop the bleeding from a season-long five-game slump.

My friend Chucky has the same season seats for the Lakers I have for the Clips (although he pays about four times the price), and we take each other to the Clipper-Laker games. Since it's a Clipper home game, he's taking me to Engine Co. No. 28, a cool restaurant in a converted firehouse on Figueroa north of 7th St. If you've never been, they make good drinks, a great cheeseburger and awesome onion rings. But they only run their shuttle to Staples for -- boo, hiss -- Laker home games.

Join the discussion of the game by clicking the Clipper Talk icon. -- Jordan

Another good entry Jordan, though I'm not up to par with some of your pop culture references, I do find your entries funny, entertaining, and informative. Keep up the good work.

Maybe tomorrow night we can party up in here with a WIN!

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