[Thanks to Prevenge for today's game preview. Boozer is back tonight (kind of deflates a lot of the Taj-portance below. Kirk is still out -yfbb]
Some of you may think that there's a more important game here, that this game really matters in the big scheme of things, but let's be blunt here: it really doesn't. With Derrick Rose injured, us Bulls have about as good of a chance of winning a title as, um, the Clippers do without Chris Paul.
Luckily for us at the moment, and tragically for basketball fans in general, Paul's injured too for this game, but I digress....
Looking at the season high ppg/etc. stats, two of the players are out [Deng and Paul], and minimum-salary DJ
Rose Augustin is our leading assist-maker? Look, the point is, it would be nice if Hinrich could make good passes out of the pick and roll, or anywhere that weren't around a court in a circle like a drunk carrier pigeon.
The Clippers just lost on the road to the Bobcats and are actually 11 and 12 on the road this season, kind of a worrying thing for them. Darren Collison is basically DJ Augustin but without the whole 'career renaissance' thing, and aside from Jamal Crawford none of LA's other guards can really create [Jared Dudley? JJ Redick has a nice 'create by shooting' thing he can do, but ... ehhh]. So, not having Chris Paul is bad, even worse than it would be normally. Hopefully for their sake he's back and healthy as soon as possible.
The main thing for this game in my humble opinion, is going to be Blake Griffin vs. the Taj Mahal. Taj is having a pseudo-career resurgence like Augustin, though it's more of just gaining an entire half-game [offense!] than being the backup for a point guard whose wheels fell off two years ago. Griffin's an All-Star, but Taj has been playing really well - newfound post game, and suddenly that baseline jump shot looks dependable. And he's always been able to jump much, much higher than Boozer. Boozer's injured, but, uh, is it bad that I don't really mind it? Because now Gibson is starting, which he should have been doing anyways? Why isn't Boozer a sixth-man type bench player? Urghhhh.
Anyways, point being, with Taj, maybe we won't have Blake dunk 50 times, and that would be nice. Maybe he'll outshine Blake, and Taj can make his own All-Star case!... Or maybe that's for next year? One can hope.
Noah vs. DeAndre Jordan should be an interesting matchup as well, though I'd expect Noah to win it. With Griffin and Jordan the Clippers will get their fair share of dunks ... perhaps not with Paul serving them up, but they can still jump and throw a ball through a hoop all by themselves.
If ThibsBall stops the Clippers from taking torches to the nets from 3, and we ... somehow ... score a lot... I still don't know how we score, but I've been assured that it happens by both scoreboards and dumbfounded fans. We can lean on this piece of wisdom, said by the great John Madden: "The team with the most points usually wins the game." If Taj and Noah can limit Griffin and we don't let the Clippers go nuts from 3, well, we should be in this game at the very least.
And with ThibsBall, you're never too far away from a
second-round playoff exit hard-fought game, either way. Here's to hoping that Snell plays, Butler's legs don't fall off, and Taj makes a belated and doomed all-star case. Game is at 7 CST.