Phoenix 140, LA Clippers 100.
Yes, it’s right. I watched most of this game (had to listen to the third quarter in the car on the way to the store) and was absolutely-fricking-astounded by the response of the Suns to return to the 7 Seconds or Less run-and-gun offense. All Phoenix starters played less than 28 minutes each, and super-sub Louis Amundson scored 13 points in 20 minutes and chipped in 8 boards. Heck, even Goran Dragic played 23 minutes and scored in double figures, hitting a 3-pointer AND scoring on a dunk in the 4th quarter.
And it came at the hands of the hapless Clippers – no Marcus Camby (inner ear infection), no Brian Skinner (sore right achilles), and near the end of the first quarter, no Zach Randolph (ejected for throwing a punch).
And to think, the same two teams go at it again TONIGHT at 8:30pm MST in LA.
Now, I doubt that Camby will be available to play, maybe Skinner will be playing, but we know that Randolph will not be playing, and may be unavailable for a good couple of games – an ejection is an automatic one-game suspension, but his actions will probably merit at least a 5-gamer.
I see another blowout in the future. Probably not by 40, but at least by 15-20. I mean, think about it – who does the Clippers have that can guard Shaq AND Amare Stoudemire? (answer: no one) Heck, what’s the over/under on the halftime score of tonight’s game?
The poor people of Clipper Nation are pretty much hamstrung by their roster (Zach Randolph – 3 years remaining on his contract at $14.7mil/yr; Chris Kaman – 4 years, $9.5mil/yr; and Baron Davis – 5 years, $11.25mil/yr). Their only saving grace is that Ricky Davis comes off the books at the end of the season (he of the lowly plus/minus of -45 last night… that means that his team lost a net 45 points while he was on the court).
And irony of ironies, the coach last night (Alvin Gentry) was a former Clipper coach who was let go by said team in 2003 and hooked on to the Suns at that point. How beautifully delicious that he got to absolutely manhandle his former team. So good that the Suns rewarded Gentry with NBA history – the 40-point win is the largest margin of victory ever for a coach following a coaching change.
Poor, poor Clippers…
Shaq is predicting a 22-9 run for the remainder of the season. They got win #1 last night and now just need to deliver another 21 more. But will 51 wins be enough to make it in? I think so – in fact, I’d say that 48 wins will get the #6 spot, so 51 wins should be a #1-4 seed.
(insert “Randy McCall and Pac-10 referees suck” obligatory statement here)