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The CW (Clipper Weekly), 2nd Edition

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First off, I have to give a shout-out to sharky over at drunkenaudible, author of The Terry Teagle Rundown, since the previous title of the Clipper Weekly inadvertently mimicked the title of his Laker report.

Current Record: 5-1, 1st Pacific

Last Week: Three home games, three double digit victories. Legendary broadcaster Ralph Lawler perhaps said it best during yesterday’s telecast against the Hornets, calling the Clippers’ performance “workman-like”, playing just well enough to escape with a win when there was really nothing else good to say about it. The Clippers have always been the team that would find ways to lose games they should have won, where any win was cause for celebration. It is a testament to how far they’ve come that we critique a 16-point win over a solid team as not being pretty enough, or think that they can play much better (even though they can). They were barely tested in any of last week’s games, including a drubbing of the defending Western Conference champion Mavericks.

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Quick Take: The versatility of the Clippers is startling – they can win in myriad ways. The win over Portland exhibited a balanced attack, with crisp ball movement and five players in double figures in points and shots (none of whom were Elton Brand). Against Dallas, Coach Dunleavy went to a small lineup with the 6’4” Cuttino Mobley playing power forward, who harassed All-Star 7’0” Dirk Nowitzki into a terrible shooting night while scoring 28 points himself. Finally yesterday, EB looked back in regular form yesterday, scoring and causing double teams which opened up the floor for everyone else. Although it remains to be seen whether this eight-man rotation can stand up to the rigors of a full season – the rest of the team played only eight combined minutes the entire week – it is clear that the Clips are not overly reliant on any one cog to generate their success.

This Week:

Tuesday: at Utah (PRIME, 6:00 pm) – the surprising Jazz are the only team with a better record than the Clippers. Kirilenko, Boozer, and Okur may sound more like an international law firm, but is actually one of the most formidable frontlines in the NBA. This three-headed monster is the primary reason that Utah is second in the league in both rebounding and rebounding margin, which will present some interesting matchup issues for the Clips. Paul Davis may see more action than he’s seen all season. It’s early, but this could be the best Jazz team we’ve seen since the Stockton-to-Malone days. Thankfully, we won’t have to see Stockton’s short-shorts.

Saturday: vs. Philadelphia (KTLA-CW, 7:30 pm) – the Sixers have been a team with a serious identity crisis. After heavy speculation that Allen Iverson would get traded in the offseason to help begin the rebuilding process, the Answer ended up staying. Along with the woefully immobile Chris Webber, Philly has two aging, highly paid, past-their prime players that dominate the ball (the duo has taken over 46% of the team’s shots so far), alongside a young group of role players that are forced to fit into this scheme. As you would expect, this has produced mediocre results. Iverson is still incredibly entertaining to watch, continuing to make plays worthy of the And 1 Mixtape tour. (Ohhh baby!) Meanwhile, C-Webb looks like he’s trying out for the Washington Generals.