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LA Clippers Fall From Grace Drop to

I've been hearing innumerable comments of how well the Clippers are doing this year. Yet they've won just 4 of their last 12 games and have looked downright awful in some of their recent appearances, including blowout home losses to Sacramento and Boston. In fact I'm going on record right now saying that these darling Clippers won't make the playoffs.

Before the bashing, I do have to admit that the Clippers are a fantastic story.

People have leaped from "LA has two basketball teams?" to "It's about time the Clippers beat the Lakers". Mike Dunleavy should be right up there with Flip Saunders for the Coach of the Year award. However the fašade is unraveling at the seams.

It began several weeks ago when SF Corey Maggette got injured for a month and won't be seen until February. Howard Eisley was waived and now Shaun Livingston is playing backup to Sam Cassell, which takes away the veteran feel this team had going for them.

Injuries have to be of some concern; I doubt Chris Kaman or Elton Brand can withstand the remaining 50 games without at least one abrasion.

The Clippers haven't done well protecting their home court. Sellouts make the home court bounce but they're rather scarce (which is the obvious downfall of having two teams play in the same city and arena).

With Maggette they have enough components to score 100 each night. Without him they are perhaps too old and struggle to reach triple-digits. Brand and Mobley can score a combined 40 points when they have Cassell feeding them the ball.

But Cassell's struggles last year make me doubtful that he can keep up the pace with the Clippers for a whole season.

I admit that my cynicism of a legitimately good Clippers team is holding my opinion. The day the Clippers or the Arizona Cardinals make the playoffs is the day the sun burns out. This losing streak proves that everything's right with the world. If they so happen to cling to the #8 seed, I'll root for them.

.There are Free Picks in Basketball available daily.

By: David Pincus

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