Did you hear? The Clippers are back from China, and they played a game last night, in which having flown over 6,000 miles might have been a factor.
- One thing is certain: Jeremy Evans was not on those flights, and he was not suffering any effects of jetlag on this sensational series of plays.
- Zach Harper has a Pop Quiz at CBS’ Eye on Basketball, asking: Have the Clippers added enough to become title contenders? His takeaway is that they, indeed, might have, in the form of perimeter depth. He likes Jamal Crawford as an off-the-bench scorer and Grant Hill and Matt Barnes as defenders capable of contributing to a better effort in the playoffs than the one the Clips put forth against San Antonio. Also helpful in playing better against the Spurs: healthy Chris Pauls and Blake Griffins.
- Chris Paul: linchpin of the team Tom Haberstroh put together — under the salary cap — to topple the Miami Heat. Why, only very few people might ask? Because he’s super clutch, and because of moves like this, among many other things.
- Some choice bites from Brad Turner of the L.A. Times:
Vinny Del Negro on Lamar Odom: “He’s got to work through some conditioning things and some health things right now, which he’s doing. Yeah, I wish he was in a little bit better conditioning, and he wishes he was. But he’s just got to continue to work every day and I’m sure he’ll get there eventually.” One thing here that people seem to be dismissing is that even if Odom does work himself into shape, he will still be way behind most other NBA players, who showed up in shape and will have worked themselves into better shape.
Turner writes that “Billups has looked so good in practice and in Tuesday’s scrimmage that the Clippers think he may return sometime in late November.” Tough to keep posting these things when every projection in the past has proven to be wrong, and when the typical recovery time for a ruptured achilles puts his return after New Years — but we shall see. Certainly a positive sign that he’s looked good in practice.
“They did right by me,” Williams said about the Clippers. “They put me in a situation they thought was good for me.” How many times have we heard that in the past?
- Finally, the long road to breaking ground in the NBA featuring the Clippers:
Del Negro didn’t know a thing about Nakase. Who was she? Where had she come from? How serious was she about the game? Del Negro played for Hill in San Antonio, which helped, but he wanted more firsthand proof that Nakase knew her stuff.
Instead of getting the job, Nakase was given an open invitation to observe the Clippers’ summer workouts. She did, arriving early and leaving late. She settled into a corner of the gym and filled pages in her notebook: assessing each player’s footwork, diagramming the angles the coaches taught, counting the number of repetitions required before moving on. Nakase’s scribbling included words, phrases, numbers and arrows, like a cross between an NFL playbook and graduate-level lecture notes.
After a few days, Del Negro walked over to Nakase, intrigued to discover just what, exactly, she had been so thoroughly detailing. He asked whether he could see her notes. She handed them over. Del Negro looked down, absorbing it all for a few moments. Then he looked at Nakase.
“You’ve got the job,” he said.