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Clippers.com: Game Recap, 3/2/11

Clippers.com: Game Recap, 3/2/11

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Published by Dennis Lin

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Published by: Dennis Lin on Jul 01, 2011
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07/01/2011

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Tickets
for every home game
are on sale now! Call 888.895.8662, visit the STAPLES Center, or Ticketmaster. For season tickets, ticket packages and group tickets, call 888.895.8662.
NEXT GAMELOOKING AHEAD
Saturday, March 5 vs. Denver Staples Center, Los Angeles, CATime: 7:30 PM
Click here to purchase tickets »
Monday, March 7 @ CharlotteTime Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, NCTime: 4:00 PM
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS-VS-HOUSTON ROCKETS
Game #62Staples Center, Los Angeles, CAWednesday, March 2, 2011 - 7:30 PM (PST)
TEAMQtr 1Qtr 2Qtr 3Qtr 4FINAL
HOU(31-32)21331534103 LAC (22-40)23262631106
AUDIO
The Voice of the Clippers, Ralph Lawler provides the postgame recap:
Listen here
or play below:
Click here for Ralph's Recap archive »
CLIPPERS vs. ROCKETS RECAP -- DENNIS LIN
 –
 After months of playing with less than a full deck, the Clippers were finally whole again. The return of EricGordon, who suffered both a fractured right wrist and a bruised back in a Jan. 22 win against theWarriors, meant the Clippers, for the first time this season, were completely healthy. And in his firstgame in more than five weeks, a 106-103 win over the Rockets, Gordon showed why he remains histeam's MVP. An hour before tip-off, Gordon sat in front of his locker, telling reporters he expected to play with pain for 
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the next couple months. But when the game started, other than wearing a black brace on his wrist,Gordon gave little indication of any lingering effects from his injury. On the opening possession of thenight, he took a pass from Blake Griffin on the run and drove all the way to the basket for a layup. Thenhe pulled up from the top of the key for a jump shot that fell softly through the net. On the very nextseries, he went to the rim again, this time earning two free throws.It was as if he'd never left.“I think he was the same,” Clippers forward Ryan Gomes said, alluding to the player who had beenaveraging 25 points a game in January before he went down. “We're just happy to have him back fromwhat he was doing for the first three months of the season, to have him back still scoring 20, stillcausing havoc.”Gordon showed some rust on more than one occasion. After poking the ball away from Kyle Lowry, hetried to draw contact by jumping into Lowry on the ensuing break, but no whistle came and his layupattempt didn't even clear the rim. On another drive, he air-balled a short floater. With the game close latein the fourth quarter, he had a defensive rebound taken away from him by Lowry.But Gordon kept driving and kept shooting. And with every physical foray to the hoop and every swished jumper, the Rockets' tires deflated a little more. By the end of the game, Gordon had gritted his way to24 points in 35 minutes, helping the Clippers break the Rockets' five-game winning streak in front of asellout crowd at Staples Center.Griffin, who recorded his 52nd double-double of the season with 20 points and 14 rebounds, may still bethe team's most electrifying weapon, but at this point in their young careers, Gordon is the Clippers' bestplayer on both ends of the floor.When Courtney Lee spotted up for a wide-open corner 3 late in the third quarter, it was Gordon flying over from seemingly nowhere for an acrobatic rejection. When the Rockets reduced the Clippers' lead to 99-97 with a minute left, it was Gordon bulling his way to the basket, tipping in his own miss when a layuprimmed out. Then it was Gordon, who scored nine points in the final five minutes, drawing a foul andcalmly sinking two free throws.These were the kinds of plays the Clippers had been missing all of February, when they lost all but twoof their 14 games. With Gordon on the court, the Clippers' offense was smoother and more potent, the
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defense tighter and more decisive.“I think we missed that since he's been gone,” Gomes said. “We've been in a lot of games, but we didn'thave that closing person because we were used to him when we were winning, him being a guy thatcould draw fouls, handle the ball, knock down big shots and make plays.”Of course, you could argue that much of Gordon's success is a by-product of playing with Griffin. Gordonhas made striking jumps in his production this season – he's averaging 24.1 points and 4.5 assists agame, after recording 16.9 points and three assists a night last year – but it's hard to imagine himplaying this well without Griffin's menacing post presence or devastating finishing ability on pick-and-rolls.But what about Griffin? Would he be shining this brightly or putting up the same gaudy numbers withoutGordon's understated, floor-spacing brilliance? Freed from the overwhelming bulk of the opposingdefense's attention, Griffin had one of his most efficient games in weeks, going 7-for-12 from the field and6-for-6 from the free-throw line. And it's worth pointing out that the rookie big man, in the absence of Gordon, shot 48 percent from the field in February, well below his season mark.There were other players who, at least in the box score, seemed to have a bigger impact on the game.Chris Kaman had his most impressive performance of the season, scoring 21 points in 23 minutes off thebench and hitting several critical shots in the fourth quarter. DeAndre Jordan also had his best showing inquite some time, finishing with 16 rebounds and three blocks to give the Clippers a two-headed monster at the center spot. Mo Williams, in just his second game as a Clipper, fought through the ankle sprain hehad sustained in Monday's loss in Sacramento with 17 points and 11 assists.Yet it was important to remember that all this had coincided with the return of Gordon, and against aRockets team that had been playing very well. Gordon was the one with the ball in his hands in thefourth quarter, willing the Clippers to victory, bum wrist and all. If Griffin is the drink for this young,promising squad, Gordon is the straw. And as for that wrist?“It's going to be sore for a while,” Gordon said after the game, his wrist heavily iced and wrapped. “But itcan only get better.”So can the Clippers, finally healthy and – after 61 games of not having all the pieces to the puzzle –finally learning how to put it together.
QUOTES
Gordon
Eric Gordon
“It (the wrist) felt good. When I had the chance to get back, I was ready to play and inshape. I just try and play basketball like the way I’ve played all year.”Del Negro
Vinny Del Negro
“It’s nice to have some guys back. I thought we played really well considering wehaven’t had one real practice together as a unit. It was nice to see Eric Gordon outthere, it was nice to get Chris Kaman going a little bit tonight. I thought DeAndreJordan did an excellent job controlling the paint for us with 16 rebounds. Blake Griffinwas solid as usual.”
CHAT RECAP
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