Mike Dunleavy would probably like to know from Baron Davis just how long he plans to be out with that bruised tailbone.
The injury situation with the Clippers is getting more ridiculous as the season wears on. Already playing without Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph, Mike Taylor and Ricky Davis, the team found out before their game against the Suns that Baron Davis would have to sit it out (no pun intended) with a bruised tailbone. That left L.A. with just 10 of their 15 roster members available, and those that were left couldn't prevent a loaded Suns team from grinding out a 106-98 victory in Phoenix.
For the third game in the team's last four, the Clippers' slow start pretty much did the team in by the end of the first quarter. The Suns led at that point by a count of 33-15, and even though L.A. put on a late rally and forced Phoenix to play their starters more minutes than they would have liked, they simply couldn't make it all the way back with the players that were in uniform. But it certainly wasn't for a lack of effort.
After the first quarter, the Clippers actually played well enough to outscore the Suns in each of the next three periods. And after trailing by 21 points with 6:30 left in the game, L.A. put on a nice rally to end the game on an 18-5 run. Their comeback had Shaquille O'Neal, Amare Stoudemire, and Jason Richardson in the game until almost the final buzzer, and had Mike Dunleavy fouling to stop the clock and calling timeouts up until the very end as well.
There's something to be said for the fact that Dunleavy has the team competing and not giving up, even when they're severely undermanned and playing without three of their top players. Marcus Camby is one of the few that are healthy, and he dominated for the team inside, finishing with 19 points and 23 rebounds. Jason Hart started in place of Baron Davis, but played just 10 minutes and did not return due to tendonitis in his elbow. If he can't go Sunday afternoon when the team hosts the Pistons, that will leave the Clippers with just nine healthy players.
Dunleavy bemoaned the fact that his club's own miscommunications on defense were a big reason for the loss to the Suns. But he's continuing to try to use this time to teach the proper rotations, and he knows that once he can get everyone back healthy, the Clippers' front line will be a tough matchup for just about every team that they face.
"All I know is, before Kaman got hurt, he was playing at a really high level -- shooting 58 percent from the field, rebounding and defending," Dunleavy said. "I know before Zach got hurt, he was playing at a real high level. So, if we can get all those guys back together -- with Marcus, you know, our front line is ... the other team doesn't have any time off, as far as when we go to the bench. We have a low post game that we can go to, and that'll make things easier for all our other guys."
Indeed it will -- eventually. But as the injuries continue to pile up for the Clippers, it looks like we're still weeks away from getting anywhere close to seeing what this team might be capable of, if and when they can get all of their top players onto the court at the same time.