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Monday, April 17, 2006 

"CLIPPERS GET THE REAL SWEET LOSS"

Okay, so Ralph Lawler didn't say that last night, but he may as well have, as the Clips won by losing, 114-98, to the Seattle Sonics. They failed to complete a first-ever four-game sweep of the Sonics and matched but did not beat last season's best-ever home record of 27-14.

Still, they got what they wanted. Coach Dunleavy rested Chris Kaman and Cuttino Mobley, while limiting Elton Brand and Sam Cassell to 27 and 24 minutes, respectively. Shaun Livingston did match a career high with 18 points on 7-9 FGs in a team-high 29 minutes, while Walter McCarty contributed 12 on 5-8 in 14. Most important, nobody got hurt (Yarik Korolev did tweak an ankle late) and the Clips moved closer to securing the sixth seed.

To avoid moving up to 5 and a first-round matchup with the Dallas Mavericks, the Clips now need any of the following to transpire: 1) a loss at Memphis tomorrow, 2) a loss at Dallas Wednesday, or 3) a Memphis victory at Minnesota Wednesday. Check out the Grizzlies' Fan Forum and you'll find their partisans clamoring for the five; I suppose when you've never won in Denver (or a playoff game, period), you don't want to draw the Nuggets in Round One.

Anybody who complains about losing the last home game -- on Fan Appreciation Night, no less -- doesn't get it. When you buy tickets to game #80, you have to know you're gonna see an exo, or what in tennis we call a hit-and-giggle.

And on the much-ballyhooed idea of needing to take "momentum" into the postseason, Sam Cassell has the last word: "I don't buy momentum, every game is different. We're not playing bad basketball, we're playing enough basketball to get through." Actually, I might have worried a bit myself -- until they came back from 22 down to defeat Denver and routed the Suns in Phoenix the next night.

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


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