The Clippers' Third Quarter Almanac
Number of possessions: 22
Number of field goals made: 7
Number of possessions resulting in turnover: 8
Number of Elton Brand shot attempts: 2
Number of Jameer Nelson layups: 2
Number of Orlando offensive rebounds: 8
Number of times Bob Delaney & Company bailed out the Clippers: 1, for 2 shots [Maggette 1-2]
Number of trips to the line besides aforementioned bailout: 0
Number of times you can reasonably expect to get to the line when you decide to abandon the post: 0
Number of times Shaun, et al, missed EB on the weak side when he was either (a) wide open or (b) had superb, deep position on Battie: At least 3
Number of times Mike Smith persisted with cutesy, obvious remarks about the ball: ∞
Despite the 5-10 line, this was one of Shaun's worst performances of the season as a starter. Being a 6'7" point guard is nothing more than a novelty if you don't assert yourself on the glass [and 3.4 rpg is negligible at any size] and if you're not going to post up the lilliputian who gives up seven inches to you. In the second half, when the Clippers needed a steady hand on the tiller, Shaun couldn't get his guys their touches. With the shot clock winding down on crucial possessions, he prevaricated. And defensively, he showed nothing tonight, torched again and again by Nelson. The box score will show a 50% shooting night and three turnovers, but that's not the whole story. Shaun played rookie basketball tonight in a game his team desperately needed.
The first half was a template for the Clippers' success: If you establish Brand and Kaman, the shot opportunities on the perimeter will materialize. What resulted was one of the best halves of basketball of the season. Why couldn't the Clips sustain that offensive proficiency in the second half? Lousy entry passes. Frittering away possessions and settling for off-balanced shots as the :24 second clock wound down. Crappy spacing that allowed Orlando to hedge and double with little risk.
When your franchise player nets only five FGAs in the second half of a crucial game --- no, he wasn't being doubled off the ball --- your offense is dysfunctional. Plain and simple.