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NBA Awards – Special Staples Report: Clips/Indy

Took my boys to the game…5 & 7 yrs old…great night:
 – Found $8 parking…nice bonus, well off Clipper official parking rates.
 – The 3 of us couldn’t quite finish off a $17 Jack In The Box order by the time we parked.
 – Inside we find the big merchandise store, and open space where both boys are furiously dribbling balls, against store rules and fully supported by dad – ‘guys, don’t dribble too wild or you’ll get caught’ – which they eventually did. 7 yr old has a nice handle.
 – Seats are just a tad behind baseline opposite the Clipper bench, lowest bowl…great angle on the action at that end. Thanks StubHub.
 – Fans getting a thrill out of Gerald Green, Paul George, Blake, Bledsoe, and somewhat Lance Stephenson putting on quite a dunk show in warm-ups…boys are LOVING it.
 – Boys are amping for the start of gm, and when it comes, it’s a crusher.
 – Clips immediately down 10-0 as first play is bad omen – Paul George steal and breakaway dunk. It would be a theme for George, who had 4 in the game and gave one of his biggest fans (me) a nice present – 23/6/10, 4 stl, 1 blk, 2 treys, and 7 FTM…one of the dimes was a great driving, falling down, bounce pass right before George hits the ground for a layup – athletic play by PG.
 – Hibbert is EN FUEGO, and goes 7-7 in the 1st Q for 15 pts…very nice touch, smooth release, too tall to guard. 26/10, 11-14 FGs before fouling out with 1:35 left.
 – Clips cut it to 3, but it gets back to 8 by halftime, 51-43.
 – Indy opens the 3rd and blitzes the Clips 28-12 out of the gate (24 pt lead) – George is on fire, but my 5 yr old is fading after cheering himself out in the 1st Q…I explain that it’s likely we’re gonna leave with 7 or 8 min left in the 4th, Pacers up by 20+, so try to hang in there…
 – Clippers wake up and get a little frisky, but it’s still 81-65 end of 3rd…Pacers fans feeling good.
 – Clippers continue slowly chipping away, Bledsoe playing well…looking like a taller Barry Sanders playing hoops (and yes, Sanders was a bad-ass hoopster who loved to play – imagine trying to guard him – no thanks!). The more I see of Bledsoe the more he reminds me of an NFL running back who’s really good at hoops…a bigger Nate Robinson, who has major football bloodlines at Washington.
 – The clawback on the large lead is done mostly by Clips bench.
 – 10 pt lead Indy, 8 min to play…fans getting very into it, much louder…5 yr old can’t stand the noise while the 7 yr old is screaming along, impressing the fans around us with his over-the-top enthusiasm, and eventually loses his voice by the end of the 4th Q.
 – 5:41 to go when Odom makes a great pass to Ryan Hollins for a dunk…95-86.
 – Just two min later, 3:38  – a Crawford trey makes it a 4 pt game, 97-93. Crowd is crazy.
 – Lead goes back-n-forth between 4 & 2 pts up until a P. George foul pre-inbound that gave Clips a free throw and the ball, now down 107-104 only 9 sec left. Barnes puts back a CP3 trey miss…George hits 2 free throws at the other end, about 2 sec left…Clips heave the ball down court to Blake, great catch and immediate pass to a wide open Lamar Odom top of the key…and miss…Pacers win 109-106.
 – note on George at free throw line: my 7 yr old was imploring me to boo him, but I explained I can’t boo ‘my guy’.
 – 5 yr old note: after whining and moaning much of the last 3 quarters, he is a burst of energy walking out of the stadium well past 10pm…running all over the place like a scatback…very lively, quick feet. Funny to watch…reminded me of ‘Smear the Queer’ from 7th grade (1981-82), all the kids running crazily in all directions. How un ‘PC’ is that name now?…ahhh, the good old days.
Other Games
Kind of pressed for time, but noticed some very ‘end of season’ stuff happening in box scores: Telfair getting 18 min of PT…Irving DNP – Rest…a depleted Olo squad going all-in on youth withHarkless (28 pts) & Harris (18/11/4, 3 blk) showing very nice game last night…Spurs didn’t play Duncan, K Leonard, or Manu last night (92-90 loss to Griz)…in what could have a been a huge Easter Day game between Mia & S.A., Miami sat Wade & Lebron, and even Chalmers didn’t play, but they still won…Finally, just cuz I like this scrappy team of underdogs, I noticedMilwaukee crushed Charlotte last night and Larry Sanders set another career-high in scoring (24), to go along with 13 rebs. Monta went off for 14 dimes, 6 stl & 50% (7-14) shooting in the win…oh…and the Jazz kept the pressure on the Lakers by beating Portland Monday…Al-Jeff & Favors were nice, while Mo-Will flashed back (20/9 asst) at PG.
The Akeem Olajuwon Award —  Paul George  —  23 pts, 6 rebs, 10 asst, 7 FTM, 4 stl, 1 blk, 2 treys, and 7-15 shooting…Had to. Treat to watch him play. For the season, he’s at 17.9/7.7/4.1 & 1.8 stls, but still just 42.7% shooting.
The Rafael Araujo Award —   Kyle Singler —  5 pts, 1 rebs, 0 asst, 2 FTM, 0 stl, 0 blk, 1 trey, and 1-5 shooting in 19 minutes…Singler has had some hot stretches this year, but his last 10 games is not one of them – 9.0, 4.4 rebs, .8 asst, and 39.8% shooting in almost 30 min/night. It’s been Stuckey who’s been better of late on Det – 15/2.7/3.5 and 47% in his last 10 gms.

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