So Far, Oh So Good…

Dear Clipper Nation,

Through the first two games, there is one glaring difference from this year’s team compared to last year’s: DEPTH. The thrashing of the Lakers was great, but a prime example of depth was last night’s win in OKC. The Clips’ reserves practically won the game. Taylor, the Davis brothers, J-Hart, and Eric Gordon all contributed in one way or another. Whether it was offensively(Taylor’s 14 pts, Ricky D’s 13pts) or defensively (J-Hart’s 4 stls, Gordon’s 3 stls), it was the type of grind-it-out win that would’ve resulted in a loss last year.

Mike Taylor was simply clutch. He pickpocketed Westbrook, which lead to a Ricky D. tip-in, then blew past Westbrook for a thunderous dunk, and finished it off with 2 FT’s. It was quite remarkable for a rookie. People are saying Mario Chalmers was a steal with the 34th pick – well, one could say Taylor was a greater steal at #55. He has a swagger and confidence that one needs to succeed in this league, not to mention a very good defensive prowess, the guys is a beast with the press, or “one-man press” as Thornton refers to him as.

Speaking of Thornton, he was his usual self, dropping 23 on 8-13 FG’s and 6-8 FT’s. Replacing Maggs shouldn’t be a problem, but one guy I’m worried about is Kaman. We all know what he can do, but the problem is, he loses focus at times. And thus far, he hasn’t even gotten into focus. With a lead guard like Baron, you’ve got to be aware at all times; at the very least, he should have Biedrins-like instincts. I think in time he will round into form, but it’s never too early to get started.

Another guy who has been impressive is Brian Skinner. I know his acquisition somewhat angered the fans who were enamored with Josh Powell’s “potential.” But to me, Powell at his best is – well – Brian Skinner. I’ll take the tough veteran who can bang down low with the best of them and intimidate opponents with his shot-blocking skills. Though he had a poor shooting night against OKC, the guy is an imposing defender, something we haven’t had since the days of Bo Outlaw.

Bottom line: the ability to win a close, grind-it-out game is something every team strives to do. Knowing that the Clips, for the first time in a while, have guys who can close out a contest (Baron, Thornton, Taylor) is very encouraging. It is one of the stepping stones towards respectability. And respectability is a gateway towards the PLAYOFFS. I, for lack of better words, can not wait.

 

Regards,

Illastrate

P.S. Just a hunch, but I think Eric Gordon will bounce back with a huge game tonight.

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~ by terrydehereftw on October 15, 2008.

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