If there's a team in the league against whom the Clippers can start Elton Brand at center without too much anxiety, it's the Golden State Warriors.  Though Andris Biedrins has some serious game , Don Nelson hasn't run an offensive set through his center since Jack Sikma.  With Kaman [still] out with flu-like symptoms , Brand was charged with patrolling the paint.  And he stepped up huge, blocking eight shots - just two shy of a triple-double.  

The eight blocks:


  • [1st, 0:51] Off a Clipper turnover, Monte Ellis darts upcourt, weaving through the Clippers' transitional defense. He's got Stephen Jackson out on the right wing, but decides to take it himself. Ellis doesn't get enough height going up, and Elton swats away his weak layup attempt. Shaun grabs the rejection.

  • [1st, 0:03] Golden State holds for the final shot of the period. Ellis dribbles up top against Shaun Livingston. At about 0:09, he gets the ball over to Al Harrington at the left elbow, guarded by James Singleton. Since Josh Powell is 20 feet from the basket on the weak side, Elton cheats - setting up on the low block awaiting any oncoming traffic. Harrington takes off at 0:07.5, dribbling left, then puts a nice spin move on James to hop into the lane. Though he's beaten James, Elton is waiting. Harrington's ball fake catches Elton in the air, but EB stuffs Harrington's shot on his way down. The resulting scrum ends in a jump ball with only two seconds remaining.

  • [3rd, 5:28] Mickael Pietrus brings the ball up for G.S. Monte Ellis heads for the left corner, then curls sharply around an Adonal Foyle screen at the left elbow. Ellis, while on the run, receives the ball from Pietrus, then zips down the lane, where the entire Clippers defense converges on him. As Ellis goes up, there's Elton again, swatting the ball into the far corner where Corey Maggette picks it up.

  • [3rd, 2:09] The Clippers appear to be in the zone here: Cassell and Ross up high, with Mobley, Singleton, and Brand low. It's emerges as a good-looking defensive set, after a quick burp early when Singleton doubles Foyle - who's already covered by EB at the foul line. Singleton recovers nicely; once he realizes he should be on Jackson in the left corner, he shouts and motions for Cat to leave Jackson and transfer up the perimeter to Jason Richardson. Ellis dishes it over to Richardson - Mobley has closed - who then gets it in the corner to Jackson. James has closed a little too tightly, and Jackson is able to get a strong first step driving baseline past James. When Jackson goes up for the layup, EB deflects the shot [and probably fouls Jackson in the process], then comes up with the ball.

  • [4th, 7:56] After Biedrins grabs an offensive rebound, he kicks it back out to Kelenna Azubuike. Azubuike gets a good first step, pushes off Ross, then launches himself in serious traffic. The shot never makes it past Elton's palm, but the tip goes to Richardson, who lays it back up and in.

  • [4th, 5:20] The Clippers are back in their man-to-man defense. Biedrins comes up from the post for an effective high screen on Q for Ellis. Brand picks up a darting Ellis off the switch, stays with him the whole way, then swats the layup attempt all the way out the foul line. Corey snatches it and starts the break.

  • [4th, 4:07] Receiving the ball from Ellis, Richardson, on the arc, gets a nasty first step on Mobley -- a strong drive, with nothing between him and the basket...until Brand races over from the weak side and slams the layup against the backboard. The ball bounces off the glass, then falls into Elton's hands.

  • [4th, 1:39] This starts as a nice-looking set for Golden State. Richardson, left side, gets a screen from Biedrins out on the perimeter. Richardson dribbles off the screen to his left, into the corner. With the Clippers' defense sagging, Richardson swings a sharp pass back up top to Ellis. Ross closes, but Ellis is already dashing to the basket. Ellis goes up much stronger this time, but Elton times his leap perfectly, the tips the shot with his right hand to himself.

It's not unusual to see Elton play the center position on defense when Chris is busy employing all those worthless perimeter traps that Dunleavy runs.  Today, though, Elton doesn't have to worry much about pushing guys off the block.  The Warriors virtually never post, and prefer to launch every offensive into the lane with a drive rather than an entry pass.  Elton can play goalie all afternoon; the rest of the defenders don't have to worry about doubling in the post and can concentrate fully on their perimeter assignments.  The Clippers blew a couple of rotations early, but were flawless most of the second half, which is what really won the game this afternoon.