Since the Clippers’ success largely rests on the ability of Chris Kaman to control the paint – which, in turn, depends on the Clippers’ distributors getting him the ball where he wants it -- let’s take a look at his boffo 26 point-18 rebound game, point by point:

•    [1st, 6:39] Kaman is the last starter on the floor to convert a field goal, and this one occurs in transition.  After Baron Davis heaves up a lousy shot in traffic slicing through the lane, Kaman grabs the miss, sends it over to Cassell, who starts a controlled break.  Cassell kicks it to Ross on the wing.  Ross drives to the hoop, then hits a trailing Kaman, who leans into an overmatched Davis for an easy layup.

One of Kaman’s biggest assets is his mobility. When he runs the floor and finds an opening in transition, there are easy points to be had.

•    [1st, 4:54]  This is a controlled halfcourt set.  Ross, holding the rock out on the wing, drops it into Kaman – covered by Biendris -- in the left mid-post.  Pietrus leaves Maggette at the stripe to double on Chris.  The minute he does, Corey slashes toward the basket with his hands in the air.  Kaman is sealed off and couldn’t get Corey the ball even if he wanted to.  Instead, he takes a dribble with his right, spins toward the lane, then back to his right for an easy left hand hook.  

We normally kill Chris for putting the ball on the floor against a double-team like that.  But it worked.  And the footwork in the paint was uncanny.

•    [2nd, 9:40] Off a Cuttino Mobley steal, the Clippers are in transition.  Cat races downcourt, then gets it back to Brevin Knight at the top of the arc. Knight, in motion, threads a beautiful pass into Kaman, who’s alone under the hoop.  Easy left-handed slam.  

Ralph Lawler is so giddily bullish on this season’s Clippers team it’s endearing.  

•    [2nd, 8:27] Knight sends it wingside for Al Thornton, who gets it back to the top of the arc and Tim Thomas.  Kaman sets a down screen on Mobley’s guy, Baron Davis.  Thomas kicks a lazy pass over to Mobley on the right arc, so Davis has fully recovered.  Mobley drops it into Kaman in mid-right post, then cuts to the corner.  Kaman steps back and shoots a 14-footer, but Biedrins slaps him on the way up.

Two shots.  Chris hits both.

•    [2nd, 4:07] It goes into Patterson just off the right block against Matt Barnes. Kaman is just below the weak side glass. It’s a nice sequence from there.  Patterson drives left through the lane.  When he approaches the hoop, Barnes leaves Kaman to help.  Patterson find Chris alone underneath for an easy slam.  

•    [2nd, 3:20]  The ball goes into Ruben Patterson in the post (again) against Barnes.  [Is anyone under the impression that this is a favorable matchup?]  Every Warrior stays home (which makes sense).  Patterson drives baseline, finds himself in the air, but is able to kick it back to arc and Brevin Knight.  Knight swings it to Mobley right side.  Cat drives past a flat-footed Baron Davis to the hoop, but gets stuffed by Patrick O’Bryant.  But Kaman swoops in for the loose ball, goes up and jams.

•    [2nd, 0:11]  Off a Cassell miss, Kaman pulls down the board in traffic.  He dribbles once, spins toward the lane, gets blocked by Biendris, grabs it again; it falls off the front rim; Chris finally tips it in.  

The more Chris remembers that he’s the biggest guy on the floor, the better off the Clips will be on both ends.  

•    [4th, 11:48]  Chris actually goes scoreless in the 3rd while he’s back in the MASH tent getting stitched up.  

Kaman has Al Harrington in the halfcourt.  As Harrington steps out to the perimeter to receive the ball from Monta Ellis.  Kaman steps into the passing lane and tips the ball away.  He grabs it and launches a one-man break.  

Clear path foul.  Chris hits both and the Clips get the ball back.

•    [4th, 8:19]  Nice little set.  Knight has the rock up top.  Mobley is out on the right wing, with Kaman at the elbow.  Davis is playing off Mobley, just about where Kaman is standing.  Kaman sets a down screen on Davis.  As Biedrins drops low to prepare for the switch, Kaman rolls off Davis to the foul line.  Knight delivers a perfect bounce pass to Chris, who puts it down for one left-handed dribble, spins left off Biedrins, the puts up a little 4-foot right handed hook off the glass from the right side.   And one.

Prettiest series of a banner night for Kaman.  He hits the free throw, and the Clips extend the lead to eight.  

I wasn’t all that high on the Knight signing, but maybe he becomes a nice dance partner for Kaman?  A PG-C relationship requires some instinct, and you never know when and from whom a quality tandem might emerge.  

•    [4th, 7:46] Mobley is out on the arc.  He dumps it into Kaman at the mid-right post against Biedrins.  Two left-handed dribbles, a spin toward the lane, a little pump-fake, then up with a 10-foot hook against a double team [Harrington].

Chris Kaman is controlling the game, and so do the Clippers once the pace returns to possession basketball.   A lot of fans want the Clippers to run more.  That’s all fine and good, but the Clippers will have to recognize when and against whom deliberate basketball works to their advantage.  It did tonight, as it will Sunday afternoon against Seattle.   

KYP.  

•    [4th, 3:55] The Clips are in transition, then Knight pulls it back and they set up.  This rivals the Knight-to-Kaman possession as my favorite of the night.

Kaman tiptoes along the left edge of the lane while, on the strong side, Mobley is posting up Baron Davis.  Cat gets a strong first step against Davis – whom you often forget is an atrocious defender.  Cat spins baseline and elevates, but just as Biedrins steps over to help, Cat scoops the rock behind the Latvian to Kaman, and Chris goes up for a one-handed slam.

•    [4th, :16]  Up by five inside of thirty second, the Clips are playing keepaway.  Kaman pulls down an offensive board off a Mobley miss, and goes back up strong.  He’s clobbered by Pietrus, goes to the line, and sinks one of two.  

•    [4th, :13]  Down by four, GSW has to foul Kaman after his 18th rebound.  Kaman goes to the other end and hits both.


Chris finished 9-19 from the field, and 8-9from the stripe.

A couple of notes:

•    Ruben Patterson is often characterized as the kind of player who’s “always diving for a loose ball.”   Perhaps.  But this tends to happen when guys are having to recover a ball that they’ve had go off their fingertips.

•    The defensive rotation needs work.  The Clips got lucky on at least three occasions when a wide-open Warrior missed an uncontested 3PA.  Part of the problem is that Cassell is slower than ever and Patterson – though a quality man defender – hasn’t mastered the patterns, and that’s thrown off Corey as well.

•    Don Nelson is smart enough to know that you don’t take a leader off the floor because he picks up his second foul at the eight minute mark of the first quarter.