Monday, May 08, 2006
Small forward: Quinton ross against James Jones. I have to give the edge to Ross. Jones a decent shooter and can run, but ross a lockdown defender who’s got a nice (and improving) jumper as well. Not even sure they’d put ross on jones here, I’m honestly a bit baffled, the matchups with phoenix are so weird. Ross could guard bell, but I’d love to see him guard marion, but then who would brand guard? Will be interesting. Anyway, advantage clips.
Power forward: Elton Brand vs. Shawn Marion. Wow. This is a battle of the titans. Marion can run run run & never runs out of gas. Elton can run too but I think Marion is definitely faster. Brand is much better in the post. They both have good jump shots, marion obviously has more range and could pull Elton out of the paint. When it comes to who gives their team more here, though, I gotta go with EB, and I’m not just being a homer. Brand was borderline MVP candidate in my mind; Marion great player, but if I had to pick one for my squad, I’d take brand all day every day.
Center: Chris Kaman vs. Boris Diaw. Boris has been huge. This is a very similar argument to everything at the 4 spot. Neither player is as good as the 4’s either. They’re such different types of players, but I think I’d have to give the edge to phoenix here. Diaw is so fast, such a slicer, I think Kaman will give him a nice battle, and if he’s patient and pounds down low and doesn’t get frustrated if/when diaw gets transition baskets, he’ll be OK and maybe even dominate. Kaman is 10 times the player kwame brown was, he will not be missing all those layups. Shit, tough call. I’ll give, reluctantly, phoenix the edge here, not sure why, diaw a rookie, but Kaman is a bit green too, though he has been quite impressive all season.
2 guard: mobley vs. raja. Mobley. Raja decent defender and ok shooter, but mobley’s D has blossomed (huh?) and I think he’s a better shooter than raja, plus this is one spot where the clippers run the floor better. Cuttino has a knack for being at the right place at the right time. Advantage clippers.
Point: Sam I am vs. the mvp Steve Nash. Well, he’s the MVP, so you gotta give the advantage to Nash, right? I guess so, but Sam is a gamer, always has been, and he will be huge, and steve nash plays no defense. Just as fascinating is the 2nd wave, here, with Livingston and barbosa coming off the benches for the clips & suns respectively. Livingston a monster playmaker, kinda a baby nash, and barbosa just a crazy fast instant offense.
Bench: Livingston, vladdie, maggette for the clips, barbosa, tim Thomas, eddie house (very sparingly, so far) for the suns. Huge advantage clips. Thomas has been a great postseason story, and I already mentioned barbosa, but c’mon, a force like maggette coming off the bench? And vladdie bombing threes? And the way young mr. Livingston changes a game when he steps on the court? Clips. Clips. Clips.
Coaching: d’antoni (suns), dunleavy (clips). Both great coaches. Both know the strengths & weaknesses inside out of their teams. I’ll call this one a draw.
Clips in 7. heartbreak in the desert. LA finally makes good. Stay in phoenix and get drunk and rested up for the trip to dallas or san Antonio, ok cancel the drunk part, get crunk? I dunno, but I feel good about it. Win or lose, and I think the clips can pull it out, this’ll be a great series, balls to the walls, YOUR la clippers are gonna get the job done and you will not see pouting dogshit a la el otro equipe de los angeles, no mein, this is the real. Gracias.
update: clipperblog has got all the clipper suns preview prognostication & analysis you could possibly require. plus free existential popcorn for the first 72 thru the door, theoretically.