Elton Brand went 8-10 in the first quarter. He missed his first shot - which he followed with a tip-in - and hit an insane, fading 21-footer at the buzzer to finish the quarter.
Here's what it looked like:
Here's what it looked like:
- [11:30/11:29] Livingston brings up the ball, leaves it with Mobley up top and dives toward the corner. Mobley gets a nice high screen from EB and moves left with the ball, passing it off to TT on the high left wing. Off the screen, EB darts down toward the block, getting a quality down screen on Tony Battie from Shaun Livingston. Good things are materializing here. EB, now free, gets the ball on the left block against a recovering Battie. EB goes up strong, just misses as he's fouled. The Battie foul isn't called, so EB puts the tip back up and in.
Nice, nice set - the kind of stuff we became accustomed to last spring.
- [10:56] In the interest of editorial objectivity, I guess I have to make mention of Jameer Nelson's picking EB pocket at the elbow on the next offensive possession. It happened and, I suspect, Elton probably feels badly about it, but not as badly as he would had it been Smush Parker. We can tolerate Nelson, even if he's an anatomic basketball-playing flea.
- [10:33] Mobley dumps it into EB in the right post against Battie. Elton is about three feet off the block here. He dribbles it deliberately for a second - smartly - just trying to feel out approximately how much help Grant Hill is willing to commit to him on the double-team. Hill nibbles, but doesn't offer full help because Mobley is close enough in to do some damage if he does. EB hesitates, fakes, hesitates again, almost as if he may pass it back out to Cat. Then a light goes off and EB determines that the 15-foot face up jumper is sort of his thing, even if Tony Battie is in front of him. It isn't his prettiest shot of the night, but Elton hits it.
- [10:00] Elton's only other miss of the quarter, and it's a decent miss because, look, even Elton Brand on a good day isn't going to hit everything and that's essentially what happens here. Cat feeds Elton down low. Elton dribbles, spins, releases and it just misses. The good news: Aaron Williams is on the weak side glass for a putback. So the Clippers remain perfect on possessions in which Elton gets the first shot.
- [9:32] Wellwaddayaknow! The good old S/R. How we missed you, old friend. O latest born and loveliest vision far...
Quick and deadly. Shaun gets a forceful screen of Nelson from Brand. Shaun very quickly slings a graceful across-the-body pass to EB on his right for the quick pop from the top of the circle. Granted, Battie's show wasn't much, but Livingston looks so much like a point-guard on this play. And Brand shoots with pre-game shootaround proficiency.
- [6:56] Basic Version 1.0 Elton Brand. He receives it from Shaun at the left elbow. There's no immediate double-team, so EB backs down Battie to about 14 feet, spins left, pops and hits.
- [3:33] The Clippers get it now. Not only isn't Orlando doubling on Elton, but Elton realizes that he can beat Battie to the basket anytime he wants to. So the Clips strip it down: Livingston into Elton on the left block. He turns toward the lane, puts his head down and drives for the hoop. And the foul.
- [1:31] Cassell and Maggette enter the game for Livingston and Thomas. On this play, I'd love to keep crooning about EB, but this is just some basic fourth-game-of-a-West-Coast-swing snoozery you see sometimes. Cassell and Kaman run a high S/R, while Elton is at the top of the circle against Howard. When Turkoglu and Arroyo trap Cassell off the screen, this leaves Kaman dashing toward the basket alone. Howard immediately picks up Kaman, leaving nodoby to cover Brand.
Easiest basket of the night from outside of three feet, but when you move off the ball, sometimes this stuff falls into your lap. It's your crusty old grandfather telling you to make your own luck in life.
- [0:29] Hat tip to Clips Nation Steve. Before the Magic are set, Sam quickly dishes it over to EB. Elton seems surprised that, at :18, Howard is leaving him that much space inside of 17 feet. He initially hesitates, then realizes that he's got the face-up jumper if he wants it. He does, and he hits. You can always back it out, but why not get the ball into your big where he likes it if there's an opening five seconds into the possession? If the defense closes, then you can decide what you want to do and still have :15. But if the space is there, then why piddle around for nine or ten seconds?
- [0:00] Not much of a chalkboard play. Orlando has a foul to give and does so at 2.4.
Give it up a little bit for Sam Cassell, because if he doesn't put a screen on Dwight Howard - who has eaten meals larger than Sam - Elton doesn't get this ball. Maggette finds EB, Elton tries to work some space, can't, then fires it up strong at the siren.