The Clippers have played two of their worst games of the season against Sacramento, including a 110-93 loss at home just before New Years in which the Kings started Francisco Garcia at SF, Kevin Martin at the 2, each playing 42 minutes.  It was the beginning of the end of the Sam Cassell at shooting guard experiment for Mike Dunleavy. 

Mike Bibby torches the Clips, absolutely destroys them.  In two games against the Clippers this year...  

 

MIN

FGM-A

3PM-A

FTM-A

REB

AST

STL

BLK

PTS

Mike Bibby

91

21-38

6-11

22-24

9

18

2

1

70

Nobody has exposed the Clippers' vulnerability to the penetrating point guard more than Bibby has.  Hell, he had Kevin Martin knocking down open perimeter shots like he was Peja, and Brad Miller absolutely abused Kaman down low.  One of the unintended consequences of Sam Cassell's lack of lateral movement is that it puts a lot of pressure on the Clippers' second line.

Reviewing my first week of entries, I realize that a reader could get the impression that I don't like Sam.  So I guess this is my disclaimer: 

Sam Cassell has added an intangible element of grit, will, chutzpah, umph, veteran savvy, attitude, confidence, and all that.  Many nights, when Sam has his pull-up jumper working, it's downright tangible.  Without him, the Clippers would be 35-36 and tonight's game would be a battle for the Number 8 slot.  And the fact that he can't play defense is not from a lack of trying.  Sam is one of the least empirically athletic players in the game.  He can't jump, he can't move side to side, and his feet are encased in concrete blocks.  Despite all that, he has the resolve to lead a team out of the wilderness and into the postseason. 

So there you go.

Having said all that, I implore Mike Dunleavy again - look at the March 7 game tape against San Antonio.  Look at what Quentin Ross was able to do on Parker to disrupt the dribble-penetration (which is the entirety of the Kings' offensive game).  If you stick Cassell on Bibby tonight and hope, once Bibby breezes past Sam, that there will be some Defensive Genie coming off the wing...or that Chris Kaman will contain Bibby once he's wiggled his way into the paint, then you're just asking for the same result.   

Artest, who will presumably be assigned to Elton, leaving Kenny Thomas to deal with Maggette, will be fun to watch.  Sacramento matches up so well against the Clippers that I can't imagine Adelman will go with anything other than man-on-man for the lion's share of the game. 

On another note...

‘Nique is now a Hall of Fame inductee-to-be

Every kid has a small coterie of stars that formed his sports fandom from an early age.  Mine were Dale Murphy and Dominique Wilkins.  Murph, a victim of the Steroid Era, will likely have his deserving résumé passed over for Cooperstown, so it's nice to see Wilkins get the call.