Think the Clippers needed this one?  For the first time since Oklahoma City, the Clips stepped up for a game that demanded their urgency.  Sam Cassell took on this road game as a personal undertaking, and he didn't wait until crunch time or, rather, he recognized that crunch time often comes in the first quarter of an NBA game.  There's not much sense in looking too closely at possessions that yielded Sam 3PFGs.  They weren't particularly intricate.  In general, Sam doesn't come off a screen.  Occasionally, Sam will wisely set himself on the strong side in anticipation of a double-team once the ball gets low.  But, by and large, Sam's explosions are inexplicable displays of bravado, affronts to the law of averages.  They don't purport to be anything other than instinctive, and when they occur, it's a force of nature.  Just ask Miami Heat w/r/t Jamal Crawford.  Whatever ineffable forces are at work, the Clippers busted the zone again. 

Elton blew up in the third after scoring only six in the first half.  EB, against the zone, was able to get himself to spots on the court where he could set up shop and go to work.  EB ran a clinic in that third quarter, stepping off the block and hitting jumpers at will against Weezie.  He got an uncontested jumper in transition; He got a perfect lob from Kaman on the other end of the court on the break and laid it in. He destroyed Gelabale underneath, then took a rebound away from Collison after a Kaman miss, then beat him a minute later on the break, then stepped off him on the left side for another easy jumper. How about driving baseline against a hapless Petro? 

What else? Chris Kaman grabbed 15 rebounds in 24 minutes and did some solid work on the offensive end off the ball.  He set a terrific screen up top for Cat in the first quarter that yielded an easy, open 17-footer.  Though it's fair to say that they're working better than they did last season, I'm still concerned about these whack perimeter traps Dunleavy employs with Kaman on the perimeter.  Maybe I'm off, but I've never understood why Dunleavy thinks that an opposing NBA offense is going to be more hurt by heightened pressure on the ball, than the Clippers' defense will be hurt having to scramble their rotation once the ball clears the trap.  At any rate, Kaman is doing better with it, though I still don't think it's reason enough to do it.  I mean, why neutralize your own size advantage.  Is Kaman really more valuable up top than he is as a shot blocker underneath? 

The Clippers' halfcourt defense smothered the Sonics in the first half.  They were active, quick to step into the passing lane, and, Kaman specifically, muscled the Seattle's useless bigs off the block.  The Clippers fought through screens from the likes of Petro and, to the extent that he can set a pick, Wilcox.  Holding Ray Allen to 11 shots helps because, let's face it, more times than not -- that wretched home game against Seattle back in December notwithstanding - there's not much Sonics can do inside if their scorer isn't hitting from outside.