Posted by Royce Young
It seems like it's been years since we've had a quality Baron Davis dunk. Seems like the last one stuck in my brain is his cram over Andrei Kirilenko when he was still with Golden State.
But last night against the Heat, Baron turned back the clock and stuffed one over Miami.
This makes three consecutive good games for Davis after starting the season relatively slow. Against the Heat, Davis had 20 points and nine assists and I think only one dribble-the-shot-clock-out-and-shoo
t-a-3 play. Progress!
But it's becoming evident as the Clippers start to win a little that Davis is absolutely vital in their success. He doesn't have to go for 20 and nine every night, but having him locked in and focused is big. He's got to be there to steady the ship when things get crazy. Like last night against the Heat, the Clippers led by 21. Naturally, they blew this lead.
Instead of completely wilting though, Davis was there to assert control and get his young guys where they needed to be. He hit a huge runner in the lane late, made some nice passes for easy looks and just played a stellar game.
The big knock on Davis has always been his desire and focus, but he looks rejuvinated to me. Playing with Blake Griffin and lobbing him all those oops seems to have Davis having fun again. The Clips' awful, horrible start to the season will essentially doom 2010-11, but there's a lot to play for. Los Angeles is now 13-24 and winner of eight of 11. They've beat six teams over .500. For reference, the Heat have beat eight. They have wins over the Thunder, the Heat, the Spurs, Chicago and beat New Orleans when it was the best in the league.
It's just about consistency for this young Clipper team. I thought Kenny Smith put it great last night on NBATV. He said that the Clippers have to start playing the course, not the opponent. In golf you don't worry about who you're paired with. You worry about the hole you're on. The Clippers clearly bring some extra focus and energy when they're playing a big name team. If they brought that against everyone, then they wouldn't have started the way they did.
But let's fantasize for a moment. What kind of record would the eight-seed in the West have this year? Right now Portland is eighth and hovering around .500. So let's say 41-41 gets you into the postseason. That would mean the Clips would need to go 28-17 the rest of the way. Doesn't that seem totally possible right now? Heck, I could see them going 30-15 at this point if they start playing every night.
Again, that's fantasy. The Clips could easily come back to earth and lose six straight at the drop of a hat. Young teams a like that. Combustible. There is a lot of talent there and while the hole might be too deep to get out of this year, there's at least a real reason to be excited about what's to come for the other tenant at Staples.