There's always a little extra satisfaction after a win in which your best player has one of his least productive outings of the season. With the exception of Elton, for everybody in the rotation who played more than 20 minutes, FGA<PTS. I'd cite three factors for Elton's struggles. First, despite his reputation as a soft defender, Abdur-Rahim played the Brand S/R tightly. He was physical and persistent. In addition, Sacramento's double-team was quick to Elton - Kevin Martin in particular. The Clips would've been well-served to set up Cat on the weak side, if only to put more responsibility for the double-team on Bibby. Finally, Jason Hart was determined to get his shots. There were a number of instances in which Hart had Elton coming off the Side S/R, but decided to take it himself. Elton still managed to get off 16 shots, but they were of the off-brand [ugh] variety, deep in the shot clock, sometimes over the double team.
How satisfying was that for Jason Hart, scoring 16 against a team - and a lousy team - that relegated him to the far end of the pine? A nice Jason Hart set:
- [1st, 6:03] Credit Aaron Williams and Elton Brand with getting Jason this shot: Thomas gets the ball to Mobley in the low right post. Artest hesitates for a second. When Cat sees Artest laying off TT, he quickly shoots the ball back out to TT at the top of the arc. Artest tries to recover, but Aaron Williams sets a firm screen on Artest, Bibby has to rotate over from Hart in the left corner to close on Thomas, which he does quickly enough to deter Thomas from launching a 3PA. Hart is all alone in the corner. It's 'Reef's rotation, but Elton throws his body between 'Reef and Hart. Thomas swings it over to Jason, who hits.
It's elementary, but when you set two solid screens like that in a set, what you basically set up is 5-on-3 basketball. And there isn't a team in the league who can't score in that situation.
All night, Bibby lays off Hart, which you can tell incites him to make Billy pay. When Bibby finally realizes that this is a losing strategy, guys like Tim Thomas begin to initiate the high S/R for Hart to free him up for open looks.
Quality Corey Maggette set for you:
- [2nd, 8:25] Hart up top gets a little half-drag screen from EB. What this does is force Artest to stay in the lane and pick up the diving Brand, rather than stay with Maggette as Corey moves out to the left wing. Hart gets it to Corey who, with Artest well off him, drives toward the lane. Before Artest can pick him back up, EB sets a quality down screen on Artest. So now Brad Miller has to collapse on the driving Maggette. Instead of sling up a lousy shot, Corey finds Miller's guy - Tim Thomas - now alone in the right corner. Corey dishes a pass to TT between the two collapsing defenders, and Thomas hits the three.
Chris Kaman? An efficient 5-6 night from the field with 12 boards. What was different? Absolutely nothing. Same opportunities as the other night, but this time he actually hits the chippies.
 What was that anyway? If ever there was a team you'd think Elton could destroy, it would be Sacramento with Miller and SAR defending the post.
 No easy task.