Blazers/Clippers Pre-Thoughts


I’m sitting here trying to figure out…do I even HAVE thoughts about this game?

There is no way to sugar coat this: the Clippers are bad. Really bad. Like Heidi Montag singing and dancing bad. Like being forced to watch Private Practice bad. Like waking up on a hotel room floor in your clothes from last night bad. They’ve lost 15 of their last 17 games…I mean come on.

I felt that way when they beat us in December and I feel that way times 100 now. Why? Take that bad and add some injury bug to it. That injury bug has ravaged the Clippers to an almost disgusting degree. Zach Randolph, Baron Davis, Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman are all out. Z-Bo, BD and Camby combined for 77 of the Clippers 112 points in Portland. And I’m honestly supposed to sit here and type that the Clippers are scary without these guys? To borrow from Arrested Development (I miss that show)…COME ON! “Yeah, the guy wearing the $4,000 suit is holding the elevator for the guy who doesn’t make that in four months. COME ON!” That’s how I feel right now. You know your season probably isn’t going the way you wanted it to when you’re missing Mardy Collins and the only players on your bench are Steve Novak, Jason Hart and Cheick Samb. And that’s not a joke. This Clipper team reminds me of a summer league team. Not even a good one. They might as well sign Bernard Robinson.(BUH-DUM-CHING)

Ok…time to re-focus. Let me try to be serious for a moment. It’s my responsibility to do so if I’m going to spread my word to the masses. So here we go. The Clippers are the definition of a three-person team offensively. They only have about 8 guys that can suit up but 3 guys who are going to shoot in this game and they will shoot a lot. Eric Gordon, Ricky Davis and Al Thornton. That’s the three-headed monster that the Clippers are hoping will get them a win over Portland. Ricky Davis has indeed entered his ‘stealing money’ phase of his career, only scoring in double figures a few times this year. Gordon and Thornton are playing pretty well this month as I’ll illustrate later. All three are talented offensively but when they have to carry all of the offense? Come on now. With this depleted lineup the Clippers are one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA. Bar none. That’s not saying that those guys can’t get hot and cause problems, but if we’re trying to have defense as our identity we can’t be struggling to contain a team led by these guys. And that’s just the truth.

Keys to success:

  • Show up on time.


Keys to success:

  • Shut down Gordon or Thornton. If you think about it pretty hard this is the only way you can get a little spooked. And even if these guys both have 30 the Clips will need someone to play out of their mind (looking at you Fred Jones don’t do it) to compete. These guys are volume shooters who are going to get the chance to put up a lot of shots. They all have shown they can get hot with various explosions this year (Gordon and Thornton). They are going to jack up shots we know it. You take one of the equation and it’s like delivering the Five Finger Death Punch. Gordon has proven that he can get hot and is playing great this month, averaging 22 points a game and has gotten to the line 89 times. Thornton has the type of skill set that can punish a team if he gets in a rhythm. Which leads me too…
  • Get off to a great start. The game against Washington was a step in the right direction but we have to keep building on it. If the Blazers come out hard in the first quarter and can jump on the Clippers, it’s definitely over. If they let the Clippers linger for a bit and let Gordon or Thornton get into a rhythm that’s when you start getting into ‘long night’ categories. We don’t want that.
  • Attack inside. DeAndre Jordan has shown some muscle inside for the Clips as of late but their frontline is him, Cheick Samb and Al Thornton. Not intimidating, this is a game where LaMarcus should go to work and Oden should be able to work on his consistency. The rest of the players should be in attack mode, headed towards the basket and try to pick up some fouls and get to the stripe.

And that’s all I got.

I honestly just want to type, “if we don’t win this game we don’t deserve to go to the playoffs”. But last time I did something like that, the Clippers ended up beating us at home. But that required Zach Randolph to play his tail off and for Steve Blake to completely gag at the free throw line down the stretch. So pardon me if I think the Clippers have gotten their wacky win over us. Without Randolph, Camby and BD about 85% of why we lost in December is gone. The offensive rebounds…the big shots…Steve Blake. I know what KG told me, anything is possible…but it’s just really hard to get up for this game. Portland should win this game hands down. They really should and it would be pretty inexcusable for them not to. At the end of January in this intense 9-team Western Conference race, games like these are necessities. You pick up these types of wins and it increases your margin of error later. Now you can drop one at San Antonio or at LA instead of those becoming must-win situations. Of course tonight is not just going to be handed to them but a business like effort should be more than enough to get the win.

And I can’t believe I wrote this much about the Clippers, I think I have a problem.