Wilkins Has Clippers Believing in Themselves : Pro basketball: L.A. beats the Warriors, 120-117, in overtime for its third consecutive victory.
The Clippers are playing like a different team since acquiring forward Dominique Wilkins last month.
Wilkins has helped rejuvenate the Clippers, who defeated the Golden State Warriors, 120-117, in overtime before an announced crowd of 10,086 at the Sports Arena on Sunday night.
“I think they’re a better team and a faster paced team (with Wilkins),” said Warrior rookie forward Chris Webber, who had 35 points, seven rebounds and six blocks after sitting out three games because of a hip injury. “I think they’re more confident. They’ve been in the same position for so many years, and maybe he brings a big light of hope.”
The Clippers, who have won a season-high three consecutive games, are even starting to think about the remote possibility of overtaking the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff berth.
“We’re definitely looking at the box scores, looking for the miracle on Figueroa Street,” Clipper Coach Bob Weiss said.
Guard Mark Jackson, who had a season-high 16 assists in his last game, got his first triple-double of the season with a season-high 17 assists, a career-high 13 rebounds and 11 points as the Clippers got their first victory over a team with a winning record since Jan. 25.
“I look on the right side of me and there’s Ron Harper, and I look on the left and there’s Dominique, and I’m trying to run the show,” Jackson said. “We feel good about our position down the stretch.
“We’re a team that will be very dangerous. We are right now, but just imagine if we played this way (the entire season).”
Harper, who had averaged 31 points in his last two games, had a season-high 39 points, one shy of his career high. Harper, who had 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in his last game, barely missed his second triple double in a row, getting 11 rebounds and nine assists.
Wilkins, who had averaged 30.6 points in his first seven games with the Clippers, had 24 points, six rebounds and three steals.
Rookie forward Charles Outlaw, signed for the remainder of the season last week, had a season-high 19 points and 12 rebounds and center Elmore Spencer had 14 points and 13 rebounds.
After losing their first two games with Wilkins, the Clippers have won four of their last six. The Clippers, who averaged 101.5 points in their first 52 games, have averaged 113.4 points in eight games with Wilkins.
The addition of Wilkins also seems to have had a positive effect on Jackson and Harper.
Jackson, who averaged 11.4 points, 8.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 52 games before the trade, has averaged 9.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 10.5 assists in eight games since.
Harper, who averaged 19.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 51 games before the trade, has averaged 27.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and six assists in six games since.
The Clippers, who lost their first three games to the Warriors this season, including a season-worst 46-point defeat in Oakland on Dec. 23, almost let this one get away.
With the Clippers leading by 110-106, Billy Owens made two free throws with 1:03 remaining and Chris Mullin, who had 26 points, made a 17-footer with 30 seconds remaining.
The Warriors had a chance to win it in regulation after Jackson missed a layup and Spencer missed a tip-in with two seconds remaining. Golden State called time out to set up a play, but Outlaw stole Mullin’s inbound pass.
The Clippers scored the first six points of the extra period to take a 116-110 lead as Harper, who had 25 second-half points, had a layup and a tip-in.
The Warriors pulled to 118-117 on Latrell Sprewell’s basket with 16 seconds left, but Harper made two free throws with 11 seconds left.