Reggie Evans has grabbed Memphis by the nuts (in the figurative sense)

 

Two things about Reggie Evans:

-He’s not really a Basketball player. Not in the traditional sense, anyway. More like a Football lineman in baggy shorts.

-He’s my Girlfriends’ favorite Clipper, even if she shrieks in horror everytime he shoots.

Ask around the league about Reggie Evans, and you’re gonna get alot of dirty looks and deep sighs. He’s the kind of guy you’d prefer to have on your team, but  it’s not that everyone wants to play with him so much as they don’t wanna play against him. The consensus seems to be that he’s the dirtiest player in the league, even though I’d vote for someone inherently dangerous like Matt Barnes or Andrew Bynum before a guy like Evans. Even if he is channeling battling Gay Bob from the 80’s movie “tough enough” (watch out for him in the clinches!) would you rather go up against a 9th degree dirty hoops blackbelt who is the master of all the shirt tug, rib-poke, step on your foot-type maneuvers, or have your fucking lung collapsed like Gerald Wallace?

 

 

Easy call. Gimme the guy whose worst offense was squeezing Chris Kaman’s nuts. Better to get fondled than to end up in the hospital, all things considered.

The Clippers picked up Evans right before the season started because they had nobody, and I mean nobody (Yes, I don’t consider Brian Cook to be “somebody”) to back up the big guys, and even though he played about 14 minutes a game and probably drops more passes-per-minute than anyone not named Kwame Brown, he brought hustle, toughness, and a “you don’t want to fuck with me” demeanor. Seriously, that kind of thing goes a long way in this game, especially from a 6’8, 260 pound guy with a scraggly beard and a wild pair of eyes.

Reckon he’s a pretty good teammate too, and not just because you’d rather be with him and against him. He’s got a kind of weird charm about him, even if you can’t be sure that he’s all there or whatever. In a sport where the season can stretch out to eight months, you need guys who have it in them to do shit like this.

 

 

What’s not to love?

Look, nobody would argue that Evans is a limited-usage player and nothing less than a gigantic offensive liability, but this is basketball, not baseball or some other sport where you can stick a bunch of offensive guys out there with no regard to chemistry. Against some teams, he’s best left on the bench. Against others, specifically a team like Memphis than can physically dominate almost anybody, he’s the proverbial fire extinguisher.

So as great as Chris Paul has been in this postseason, the Clips would be cooked without Reggie. Sure, the stat sheet tells you he’s a rebounding machine (42, more than anyone in this series), but you wouldn’t know he’s made a ton of big defensive plays, made a slew of miraculous 4th quarter and tossed a few Memphis players aside with reckless abandon unless you were actually watching.

"Wasn't me. I was out of town when that shit happened."

The winner for me had to be the possession in the late stages of game 1, when about 24 of the Grizz’ 27 point lead had evaporated and they rushed Zach Randolph back in the game to stop the bleeding. The idea was to give Z-Bo the rock and let him back Evans down with ease, only that’s not how it turned out. What ended up happening involved Randolph wasting 10 or so dribbles while bouncing off a proverbial brick wall until finally launching a 17 foot fadeaway that had no prayer of going in, all while Clipper analyst Mike Smith screamed “he can’t move him, Ralph. HE CAN’T MOVE HIM!!!”

And that’s says it all about the impact Reggie Evans has had on this series, and who he is as a player. He can’t shoot for shit. He can’t dribble a ball any better than your average 9 year old. Nothing good tends to happen if he has a ball in his hand for more than three seconds at a time. His hands are as hard as any boxers, meaning every pass thrown his way is a probably bad idea. Still, Memphis would be on their way to Oklahoma City by now if it weren’t for him throwing his body every which way, tossing Grizzlies like yesterday’s newspaper and almost single-handedly negating Memphis’ interior advantage.

Yeah, he’s not a Basketball player, but the Clippers have plenty of those. In this series, they needed a Reggie Evans.

Every good team does.

-John Hathwell

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