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Sunday, March 05, 2006 


The Los Angeles Clippers. For best impersonation of a contender. Yeah, they really had me going for a while there, beating up on the Bobcats and Hornets and inflating their record to 33-23. I almost forgot that before the All-Star break they lost to three non-playoff teams by an average of fifteen points. It almost didn't register that they last played a complete 48-minute game against a quality team over a month ago. But now that they've lost seven of ten -- and looked like crap doing it -- it's all coming back.

Thankfully, I Ebayed my tickets for tonight's game and got to watch the Oscars instead of the abortion that was the Clippers' 102-86 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. But from what I understand...

-- The Grizzlies' bench had three men in double figures and shot 7-11 3FGs.
-- Elton Brand followed up a four-rebound performance in Utah with...four rebounds tonight as the Clippers lost their seventh battle of the boards in nine games.
-- Sam Cassell -- our self-anointed and self-appointed leader -- shot 1-7.
-- Cuttino Mobley shot under 40%...again.
-- Chris Kaman had another big first half and yet again disappeared after intermission, this time with a bucket of fouls.
-- Shaun Livingston did not score a field goal, hit 1-4 FTs -- again -- and was called for an eight-second violation -- again. Can you say "bust"?
-- Corey Maggette shot 1-5 in twenty minutes and needs not foot surgery but WD-40.
-- Walter McCarty shot 1-4 in twelve minutes and was a waste of space.
-- The one player who brings instant energy every time out, "Jumpin'" James Singleton, finally got off the bench -- for 1:27 of garbage time.

With time and proper guidance, this team should become a well-oiled machine with underperforming parts replaced by substitutes capable of keeping the engine purring. Right now, though, it's soul-searching time for everybody from the coach on down. 33 wins won't get them into the playoffs, and they're not playing well enough to beat anybody, let alone the incoming defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. If they don't raise their game, they could find themselves on the outside looking in. And after their tremendous start, the only word for that would be...crash. -- Jordan

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