Raps vs. The Clip – Preview

The Clip…very close to The Clap. Both not so good. It is sort of like the Clippers have time travelled back to the turn of the century (or really any time that hasn’t been the past couple of years), back to when they were the running joke in the NBA. What to make of their demise? Can we say a collective “I told you so” about Ruben Patterson being a disruptive force? And by “disruptive force”, I don’t mean an impact player, I mean a guy who just ruins the team flow. 5.1 points per game and 56% from the free throw line. Signed him in August, waived him a few days ago. Nice.

But I can’t realistically blame this whole mess on Patterson. The Clip have had some hard luck. No Elton Brand (after offseason Achilles surgery), Shaun Livinston had one of the most disgusting injuries I have ever seen, Sam Cassell is starting to show his age with injuries (like a mysterious calf injury) and Brevin Knight is playing under his potential. Luckily for the Clip, Zombieman Kaman (side note, apparently, he wasn’t too happy with his likeness on one of the video games last year, saying that he looked pale and like a zombie…well…) has been playing like a stud, averaging a double-double on the season and stringing together 8 in a row, capped by a 23 point 16 rebound performance against Memphis on Friday night. Corey Maggette is scoring well, but let’s not forget that this guy never met a shooting opportunity he didn’t like. I think with the right coaching, he could be a better player, but he just tends to force a lot of shots. I do like the fact that he isn’t afraid to attack the basket, but when I hear a guy respond when asked about picking up the slack, “…that’s what I plan to do.” Yikes.

Without Brand and Livingston, the Clippers are struggling to find some consistent offense. It doesn’t help that they aren’t able to take their gimme points, shooting below 80% from the free throw line. When you’re missing your bigs, you need to capitalize on your trips to the stripe. Simple as that. They also are an average rebounding team, which doesn’t help them when they don’t have the same firepower they have in the past few years. Kaman pretty much does all of their rebounding for them, outside of him, not a lot of help on the glass. We will also have to see if Pokaroo (also known as Cuttino Mobley) shows up and if he does, if anybody really sees him. He’s effective when he makes himself seen on the court, but sometimes the guy is just invisible.

The Raptors should be able to take this game easily. The Clippers just aren’t the same team without Brand and Livingston and they just have too many bumps and bruises. Combine that with the lack of chemistry and Kaman having to do everything on D and they are ripe for the picking. That being said, can we please see the ball go inside a bit? At least just to start the game and get it on their mind a bit?

Can I call it? Can I call this as the game where our 7 foot shooting guard forward/centre comes back with a decent game? Away from home, plenty of women of suspect morals out in LA, the kid’s going to bounce back against the Clip. Let’s hope he doesn’t come back with the Clap.

Enjoy the game.