Throw in a couple of sick, unearthly passes from Shaun Livingston through the narrowest of lanes, and you've got a 10-17, 6-6 night for 26 point night for EB. In the second quarter, there were two perfect Livingston-feeds-Brand moments:
- [4:09, 2nd] Shaun brings the ball up left side. EB sets up on the left elbow, Kaman on the right. Mobley is at the left garden with Maggette on the weak side wing. Mobley cuts to fill the right wing. From there, it's very basic: Shaun penetrates down the lane, and as Warrick steps out to meet Livingston, Shaun delivers a perfect bounce pass to Elton, who is now alone under the basket.
- [3:29, 2nd] After a Memphis timeout and a Kaman steal, he gets it ahead to Maggette. Corey doesn't have numbers, so he slows it down and leaves the pill for Shaun as the Clips set up. Same exact setup as the last possession. Shaun gets a nice screen at the elbow from Kaman, then dribbles right. As Stoudamire tries to recover from Kaman-to-Livingston, Kaman drops toward the basket, which means that Warrick has to rotate up. This leaves Dahntay Jones alone on the weak side [Maggette on the wing and EB at the left elbow]. Once Elton realizes that Warrick has committed to Kaman and that Jones is behind him, EB cuts down, where Livingston somehow finds him with Warrick unable to recover. I stress somehow because Shaun delivers a hard chest pass through traffic, the likes of which we haven't seen all season. It's a miraculous play, though when you're working off the ball like the Clips did on this possession, these kinds of things tend to happen.
Overall, the Clippers didn't play a terribly good game. The teams played fairly even, but the Grizz couldn't hit a free throw to save themselves. Looking at the sheet, that was primarily the difference. The one thing we can say is that this looked like the team that Dunleavy will have going forward. Shaun got 36 minutes, as did Kaman and Brand. I'm pleased that Chris is getting minutes. It seems like the more he plays, the better he gets. He ended the evening 5-9 from the floor, with three steals, eight rebounds and three turnovers. What's encouraging is that Kaman didn't take a bad shot all night. He's got his moves down. The shots are there - now it's just a matter of executing.
Shaun didn't shoot well, but I think we're seeing a seismic shift here. It's possible that we'll look back on this stretch as the glasnost at point guard - no insult intended toward Sam, who got the Clips out in front in the first half. Frankly, that's the role I'd like to see Sam in going forward - as the Clips' microwave. In the last two weeks, Shaun has made tremendous strides toward becoming a starting NBA point guard. This will quiet the national press, who don't see him on a regular basis, but have been tempted to (and occasionally do) call him a bust.
Favorite moment of the night:
Mike: Think about how many point guards in the league are diminutive ....[Mike blathers on]....
Ralph: A lot of those diminutive point guards are real small, too.
Earnest response from Mike.