Yesterday's battle with the Warriors was exactly the kind of thing I hope to see from them next year. I don't mean it was a perfect game, seeing as they turned it over 22 times, but everyone who played contributed positively.
Raymond led the scoring with 26 points on 9-16 shooting, including 3-4 from long distance. Raja only scored 8, but he didn't take many shots, and he also got 7 assists and 7 boards. Emeka only played about 30 minutes, but in that time, he scored 15 and pulled down 11 rebounds. Making an on-the-fly adjustment for pace, that sounds about what his usual totals would be.
The most interesting thing in the box score, though, is probably the relationship between Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw. If you're ever going to explain to someone how they complement each other, last night is a good starting point. Gerald is a three/four tweener who rebounds like crazy, but isn't really a passer, and struggles from three, and Boris is a three/four/five hybrid who doesn't really rebound, but passes exceptionally well and has bombed from three at a 43% rate this year. So Boris's 22 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds make total sense if you also notice that Gerald scored 14, dished 2 assists, and had 11 rebounds.
The second most interesting thing we can gather from the box score, that was addressed several times during the TV broadcast, was the second unit's play. VladRad and DJ are going to do their thing, and by now we should be accustomed to seeing them contribute. However, when Diop plays as well as he did, and Cartier Martin only has to play a few minutes to give Raja a breather, that second unit will sneak up on teams like they did last night. Diop must play great defense to support the Space Cadet on the front line, and he delivered with 3 blocks, but he also chipped in 8 points, going a perfect 4-4 from the field.
Last night, the Clippers fell at Sacramento, 98-86. They were without Eric Gordon, who will probably miss tonight's game, too, but even with him, the Clips are a mess. Baron's just not himself anymore. Ricky Davis was given 16 minutes of torturous suck against the Kings. Al Thornton came off the bench while Mardy Collins started at forward. Zach Randolph could go into gunner mode at any time. Marcus Camby is probably just counting down the days until he can bounce. It's a measure of how bad things are that Steve Novak, of all people, is probably the most difficult problem the Bobcats will have to solve, though if we can match up VladRad or Boris on him instead of Juwan, we'll be good.
If I were running the Clips, I'd consider starting Mike Taylor alongside Baron instead of Fred Jones, in Gordon's absence. It'd be more like the Eric Gordon lineup they throw out there, and everyone else can stay in the same rotation, more or less. D-League, FTW.
I'm probably going to miss most of this game due to the late start... because my birthday is tomorrow and the Official Girlfriend of Rufus on Fire and a few of our friends are taking me out in Uptown. We'll be back tomorrow with a recap of the proceedings and another look at where we're headed.