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Game #46 - Preview: Celtics vs. Clippers

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Boston Celtics
Record: 36-9
Points scored per game:
Points allowed per game:
Pace Factor: 90.3 (20th of 30)
Offensive Rating: 109.7 (8th of 30)
Defensive Rating: 97.9 (1st of 30)

LA Clippers
Record: 15-30
Points scored per game: 94.3
Points allowed per game: 98.9
Pace Factor: 93.1 (11th of 30)
Offensive Rating: 100.8 (28th of 30)
Defensive Rating: 105.8 (12th of 30)

Hat tip to basketball-reference.com for info on the Celtics and the Clippers.

Rajon Rondo vs. Sam Cassell
Ray Allen vs. Cuttino Mobley
Paul Pierce vs. Corey Maggette
Brian Scalabrine vs. Quinton Ross
Kendrick Perkins vs. Chris Kaman

The Most Obvious Storyline

Prior to the season Bill Simmons floated the idea of the Clippers' season falling apart without Elton Brand, and to a lesser extent Shaun Livingston, to the point that Sam Cassell would receive a buyout and join the Boston Celtics. This was an immediate hit with Celtics fans due to Cassell's big game experience, his friendship with Kevin Garnett and the widely held belief that Boston needs another point guard. Of course as ClipperSteve pointed out a while back, the move does not make a lot of sense for the Clippers.

Match Up Notes

Two nights ago Kaman and Maggette came off the bench in their first game back after missing 4 games with the flu. However, I'm banking on them both starting tonight. Meanwhile, I always wonder whether or not Brian Scalabrine will get the start every time I learn Kevin Garnett is out of the lineup. However, a recent Mark Murphy article seems to indicate that Scal will not be knocked out of the starting lineup by anyone but KG. Thanks to Celtics Blog for the heads up on Doc Rivers' appreciation of Scal.

Quinton Ross - For the past few seasons I have read about Ross' defensive talents and potential as a player. Well his numbers are not gaudy, it's his fourth season and he is approaching his prime. What is his deal? Keep an eye on him tonight. And read this in depth Clips Nation post about Ross. Apparently he is a ridiculous on the ball defender. Paul Pierce beware.

Chris Kaman - He will challenge Kendrick Perkins with one of the best low post games around, particularly with the left hand. Although Perk did gain some experience against Al Jefferson over the last few seasons. And let's not forget that Perk is a beast. In closing I will say that Kaman's performance is one of the underrated storylines of the entire season. And he's only 25!

More Dangerous Than Groupies?

There is an exterminator in Worcester, MA whose store has a large poster on one of its outer walls that highlights the "Pest of the Month" eleven months of the year. Skunks, termites and other rodents, bugs and nuisances have won the honor in the past. I say eleven months because Santa Claus always holds down "Guest of the Month" honors in December. And outside of the holiday diversion the whole phenomenon is strangely riveting, particularly because the store is otherwise non descript. Well if the NBA had a "Pest of the Month" the flu would have won January. And it's already making a case for February as well, although you never know what will happen at All Star Weekend. Back to the flu. Off the top of my head the following players have either missed time, played poorly or both because of it:

Ray Allen
Michael Doleac Missed 7 games?!
Chris Kaman and Corey Maggette
Tracy McGrady
Paul Pierce
Joe Smith
Dwyane Wade
Damien Wilkins

I recognize that the flu will mess you up. Why else would Paul Pierce sit on the bench last night with a trash bucket between his legs? But can we please stop saying "flu like symptoms"? That screams of hangover.

File the Clippers Under Teams That Could Care Less About KG's Injury

I imagine every team actually feels this way. But given the fact that Elton Brand has not played a single minute all season, I'm pretty sure the Clippers really don't care.

Scheduling Note

The Clippers are obviously a West Coast team playing out East. However, they were in New York on Monday and did not play on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Celtics will be in the second game of a back-to-back. And the first game was a hard fought loss on the road against the LeBrons. Advantage LA.

My Favorite Clipper

I have to admit the Clippers have a surprising number of likeable players. I'm not going to go with Kaman because his eccentricity makes him an obvious choice. I'll stay away from Maggette unless I can get confirmation on the "Are you ready for Maggette?" rumors. So I'll go with Brand. I just love the way he plays.

Their Other Point Guard

The fact that Brevin Knight is a member of the Clippers tends to get lost in all the Sam Cassell buyout talk. And the Celtics could have signed him this past off-season. Although I don't think Boston would have given him a two year deal and, whether he deserves it or not, Knight has a reputation for being difficult.

Two More Seasons?

For Tim Thomas. I did not see that coming!

Something That Caught Me Off Guard

This is Maggette's 9th season. Wow. It seems like just yesterday he was missing a game because of a pedicure gone wrong (scroll down past the Doc Rivers praise fest). And yes he also missed a game due to a sprained ankle from the lay up line. Crazy times. Three more interesting things about Maggette:

  1. He's absolutely jacked.
  2. He'll live at the free throw line if you let him.  
  3. I would make either of the following trades to get Maggette:
  • Jun 28, 2000: Orlando Magic traded the rights to Keyon Dooling, Corey Maggette, Derek Strong and cash to the Los Angeles Clippers for a future protected 1st round selection.
  • Jun 30, 1999: Seattle SuperSonics traded Billy Owens, Dale Ellis, Don MacLean and the rights to Corey Maggette to the Orlando Magic for Horace Grant and two future 2nd round selections.
What the Hell is Ruben Patterson Doing Right Now?

I stared at the Clippers' boxscore from their most recent game for about 5 minutes asking questions like, "Didn't Patterson sign with them?" "Am I going crazy?" "Did he sign somewhere else?" It turns out that LA waived Patterson because his contract was not guaranteed. I did not get that memo. He has to catch on somewhere right? Say what you want about Patterson but he is better than several players that are currently employed by NBA teams. By the way, there might not be a more entertaining question right now than, "What the Hell is Ruben Patterson Doing?"

Also check out Clips Nation and ClipperBlog.com.