The Clippers were able to build on their recent success by beating the league-worst Oklahoma City Thunder in their building by a final score of 98-88. L.A. led by 12 after one, sustained a rally from the home team which cut it to two at the half, then played steadily in the third and fourth quarters to pull away for a fairly easy 10-point victory. Zach Randolph and Eric Gordon led the way with 22 points apiece, and Baron Davis (despite continuing his poor shooting) finished with 19 points, seven assists and five steals.
The news from Mike Dunleavy afterwards was that basically, the team hasn't altered what they've tried to do offensively since Elton Brand departed over the summer. And since the trade that brought Randolph to town, Zach has been, for all intents and purposes, the new Brand.
"We just kind of plugged him into the plays we had for Elton Brand," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "They work just fine for him. He's just got an ability to score, both in the low post and on pick-and-rolls," Dunleavy said. "The guy competes on every possession. That's what you're always looking for as a coach."
Dunleavy went on to say that the perception of Randolph as a "black hole" -- someone who the ball goes into but who never passes it back out -- simply hasn't been accurate, at least in his time with the Clippers.
"Because of the attention he's going to get in the low post, he's been doing a nice job for us passing the ball,'' Dunleavy said. "People said when I got him that he's a black hole, and I haven't seen that at all.''
Randolph does pass out of the post, but it doesn't always result in big assist numbers. Usually the guy he passes to doesn't end up shooting; instead, they swing it to another player for an easier, more open shot.
L.A. has now won three straight, and a quick look ahead shows that their next three games are on the road against teams with losing records. Getting off slowly to start the season has undoubtedly put them in a hole, but with the upcoming schedule being favorable, it appears that it's one the team might actually be able to climb out of.