« Home | LAKERS ARE FAR SUPERIOR TO CLIPPERS » | CLIPPERS ARE CHOKING DOGS, KINGS THEIR OWNERS AND ... » | Bill Simmons » | CLIPS MIGHT JUST HALF A CHANCE » | ARCO AGAIN A CLIPPER CRIME SCENE » | JUST CALL 'EM PARKER LEWIS » | The Sports X-change » | CLIPPERS CAN'T GET PAST VELVET ROPE » | What are little Clippers made of? » | CLIPS BLAZE TRAIL TO VICTORY » 

Tuesday, April 11, 2006 

CLIPPERS FIND NEW GEAR FOR PLAYOFFS: REVERSE

This team's in trouble, folks. Forget about rolling into the playoffs; the Clippers are limping -- slouching -- to the finish line and playing several notches below any other playoff team in the West. After last night's 75-73 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at Staples Center, the Clippers are firmly and finally entrenched in the 6 spot and will have to raise their level appreciably to retain home court.

A rash of injuries to key players -- and the extreme fatigue of others -- haven't helped the Clippers' cause. As Blanche once told Dorothy on The Golden Girls, "Good grief -- this place looks like a hospital ward!" Corey Maggette missed his third consecutive game with back spasms (about which more below), while Sam Cassell (flu) and Vladimir Radmanovic (groin) made cameo appearances so short not even Dame Judi Dench could wring an Oscar nomination out of them.

The extended minutes played by Elton Brand and Cuttino Mobley throughout the season have come back to haunt both men. Brand scored 13 points on 4-15 shooting, while Mobley missed nine of his 13 attempts for 10 points. They're both running on fumes, and Cat's recent ankle sprain continues to give him discomfort. If you're willing to concede home court to Denver, maybe you start resting these guys now.

As the final score indicates, the game was so ugly you'd think the New York Knicks had to be involved somehow. But Avery Johnson sounded happier than an exaltation of larks to sneak out of Staples with a win on a night when Dirk Nowitzki shot 6-19, Josh Howard 3-13, and Jerry Stackhouse 2-11.

The Clippers came out with great defensive intensity, building a 12-point advantage and leading 26-17 after one. But the Mavericks won the second quarter 33-14 and held a 50-40 halftime edge. The Clippers fought back valiantly to tie the game at 73 on a Shaun Livingston free throw with 17 seconds to play, but Nowitzki hit a last-second 18-footer to put the Mavs ahead 3-0 in the season series.

Without fueling the reckless rumors that Maggette's injury is actually a bad case of hurt feelings by a unwilling sixth man (which would make Maggs a Bigger Baby than a shrewdness of Glen Davises), at best it's poorly timed. To wrest home court back from the Clippers, Denver needs only one more win in their final four games (UTA, SAC, HOU and SEA) than the Clips collect in their last five (POR, SEA x 2, MEM and DAL). One thing's for sure: 73 points won't beat anybody.

Click on Clipper Talk and join the discussion. -- Jordan


eXTReMe Tracker