Andrew Kamenetzky: Pick the latest record/career-high against the Clippers!!!
Let's give the Clippers credit where credit is due. They're not just 0-3 in their last three games. They're not just creating gaps of nearly 31 points between them and the victor (twice the Phoenix Suns, then the Portland Trail Blazers). Nay, the Clips are getting beaten in historical fashion. Literally. In the first of back-to-back falls against Phoenix (with ex-Clips coach Alvin Gentry making his debut, no less), the Suns tied a U.S. Airways Center record for most points scored in the first half (81).
And last night, Blazers point guard Steve Blake racked 14 assists in the opening quarter, besting the all-time first quarter record (12) co-owned by John Lucas and Magic Johnson and tying the record in any quarter, another Lucas special. With all due respect to the feisty Blake, whose 17 assists on the night actually fell one short of tying a career-high -- dude can play, but he ain't that good. Some of that success is undoubtedly due to playing against a Clippers team that has seven of its last 10 and shows no sign of turning it around. They stink like a decathlete with a training regimen that forbids the use of a shower.
Even the most jaded of Clippers fans must find these days quite spirit-crushing and soul-numbing, so I thought I'd offer an approach to
make the beatdowns slightly more fun: Predicting what record -- personal
or franchise -- will be created at the Clippers' expense. Just among themselves, Clips fans can
each throw a few bucks into a pool, along with a prediction. Winner
takes all, and if nobody's right, let it ride. Sure, you're
essentially rooting for your beloved squad to get humiliated. But if
humiliation is inevitable, might as well turn a profit on
it, right? Tonight at Staples, the Golden State Warriors become the latest team to spin the
Clippers' wheel of bad fortune, so here are a few possibilities that popped into my head.
A) Most points in Warriors history: An often overlooked aspect of Wilt Chamberlain's historical 100-point night back in 1962? The Stilt's triple-digit bonanza paved the way for a 169-point Warrior effort, the best in franchise history. Could Golden State top 170 tonight? The notion sounds ludicrous, but then again, the way the Clippers are playing lately, don't rule it out.
B) Corey Maggette: Granted, Maggette hardly needs any specific motivation to go into "head down/ball monopolized/drive to the bucket while teammates stand around wide open" mode. But this game just happens to be against his former team. And they just happen to be coached by Mike Dunleavy, whom Maggette (to put it kindly) just happened to disagree with on many a roundball philosophy. This is also Mags' last chance to humiliate his old team on their court in his first season removed from Clipperdom. Thus, it would be totally predictable if the Clips' longtime #50 attempted to match that number, pointwise. But if he really wants to rub Dunleavy's face in this, he'll try to best his career high in assists (nine), turning on its ear the Clipper coach/GM's continual -- and, truth be told, accurate -- criticism that Maggette is a black hole on offense. Corey Maggette the playmaker? Stranger things have happened (although not many), particularly with the Clippers on such a roll.
C) Kelenna Azubuike: I don't think 82games.com keeps track of "Most points scored against a team that attempted to land said player with an eventually matched offer sheet," so it's hard to say what it would take for Azubuike to enter the record books along those particular lines. But I do understand why the Clips coveted this particular swingman. They know first-hand what he's capable of doing, since his personal best 33 points came at their expense. Could tonight feature a double-edged insult added to injury?
D) Anthony Morrow: Never heard of him? Well, I'm guessing you and the Clippers had something in common, until the undrafted rook torched the red, white and blue for 37. For that matter, his bests in rebounds (11) and assists (four) also came against the Clippers. Considering how Team Sterling seems to bring the best out of the lad, can we expect him to lap some/all of those numbers, perhaps cementing Morrow as the newbie who most "owned" the Clips?
E) Ronny Turiaf: A Laker for three seasons (and an extremely popular one at that), Turiaf could elicit more applause than some Clippers. In the meantime, Martinique's Favorite Son ranks third in the NBA with just over two swats per game. What better way to return to your stomping grounds than by playing host to a block party? Six marks Ronny's best. Do I hear seven?
F) The Warrior D: In 1997, the Warriors held the Denver Nuggets to just 69 points, their best defensive effort to date. Could the Bay Area ballers humiliate the Clippers even worse? This would truly be a kick in the pants, when you consider they're coached by Don Nelson (who prioritizes D about as highly as shot selection, which is to say, "not at all") and the Warriors are not only allowing a league-highest 111.5 ppg, but have only held a foe below 90 points three times all season. Am I the only person that could still picture it happening?
Of course, you could always go off the grid and suggest a different magical mark in the making. The possibilities are endless, so fire away.
Photo: Portland's Steve Blake takes a break from carving up the Clippers to guard Baron Davis. Credit: Don Ryan / Associated Press.