You can almost hear the Marion County D.A. yelling “HIS NAME IS STEPHEN JACKSON!!!” from off-camera.  (video link swiped from JE Skeets and NBA Fanhouse)

During his spiel on “PTI” yesterday, Mavs Owner With A Boner Mark Cuban couldn’t pass up another opportunity to remind viewers that Dirk Nowitzki’s participation in last Summer’s World Championships was “a waste of time.”  On a similar tip, and coming off Elton Brand’s complaints of tired legs, ClipperBlog’s Kevin has a message for David Stern and Jerry Colangelo.

I was annoyed then and even more pissy now that Elton played USA Basketball.  Does that make me unpatriotic?  Fuck you.  I’m the inspector at my polling station, the guy working 18 hours on Election Day for nearly minimum wage to make sure that non-English speakers in Echo Park and the gentrifiers who love them can vote, despite the precinct’s shameful history of opening late and without proper supplies.  No thanks necessary.  I’d do it for free. I love my fucking country.  Rah.

But I hate USA Basketball.

You wanna guess how many of these patriotic players, coaches, and support staff voted on November 7?  Give me an over-under.  Yet, you’ll hear all kinds of cheap shit – as I did from a close friend of Clipperblog who shall remain nameless – about how USA Basketball is “for the country.”

As they say in the finest classical academies: Bullshit.

Just ask Michael Heisley how that Rioja tastes as he watches his Gasol-less Cubs, and he ain’t even Spanish.  To paraphrase Mark Cuban, how many corporations do you know that would lend out a $100 Million asset for free?  Try none…except the Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, etc.

I don’t care if we finished third, or first, or won $10 in a beauty contest.  Doesn’t matter.  And I find the parlor game of coming up with alternatives for USA Basketball pointless.  Personally, I think populating the roster with solid 15-20 minute-a-night NBA role players is the way to go.  Let James Singleton play, or Dahntay Jones.  These are professional American ballplayers who have the endurance and capacity to play 2500 minutes a year, but see less than half of that.  Put them on a plane.

The point is that the Clippers aren’t the team they were last year and all you have to do is watch EB to see why.

The Clippers are 7-7 coming into tonight’s Staples Center Derby, while the Lakers are 9-5.  I don’t think it’s a stretch to figure the latter can withstand the loss of Chris Mimh more than Mike Dunleavy’s side can cope, long-term, sans Chris Kamen.

The Nuggets have sent G Julius Hodge to the NBDL’s Colorado 14ers on a rehab assignment. Hodge will hook up with former Laker Von Wafer, who believe it not, is totally tearing it up for the undefeated 14ers.  The Vonster is averaging better than 21 points per game, and he’s hitting nearly two thirds of his 3 pointers.