Torrid Clippers Go Afoul in End
Despite the Clippers’ torrid shooting, nearly everyone in the New Jersey Net locker room at halftime believed the Clippers could be beaten.
They were right as Armon Gilliam scored seven of his 19 points in the final 3:20 to lead the Nets to a 100-94 victory before 10,441, despite the Clippers’ 84% shooting in the first quarter and 63% in the second.
Rodney Rogers had 23 points and Loy Vaught added 22 and 13 rebounds for the Clippers, who finished the game shooting 52% from the field and the free-throw line.
“We were all right for the first 40 minutes,” Clipper Coach Bill Fitch said. “But when we fell on hard times, our defense just didn’t hold up. I don’t think we made two defensive stops in a row down the stretch. But sometimes that happens when you play back to back.”
The poor foul shooting cost the Clippers, playing their fourth game in five nights. The Clippers made only five of 12 free throws in the final quarter, while New Jersey made 10 of 13.
“We just didn’t execute,” Vaught said. “Coach called all the right plays, but we didn’t execute and the free throws killed us.”
Said Net forward P.J. Brown: “We realized at the half it was just a matter of us picking it up, playing harder and doing a few of the little things we hadn’t done in the first half. Against a team like this, you know if you can keep it close, you have a chance to win it at the end.”
Chris Childs had 17 points and 13 assists as the Nets snapped a three-game losing streak.
“I told them if they applied themselves defensively, we would be OK,” said Net Coach Butch Beard, whose team limited the Clippers to 35 second-half points. “I knew once we tied it, it would come down to who would execute down the stretch and win the game, and that’s what we did.”
The Clippers, who led most of the game after making 16 of 19 shots in the first quarter, tied it for the final time at 91 on a dunk by Stanley Roberts with 2:23 to play.
Trailing, 95-92, Pooh Richardson missed a potential game-tying three-point shot.
Armon Gilliam scored seven of his 19 points in the final 3:20.
Center Brian Williams sat out his third consecutive game because of tendinitis in his right knee. His replacement, Antonio Harvey, had 13 points and a career-best 11 rebounds. . . . Christine Jaksy, formerly a property management consultant for Donald T. Sterling Inc., real estate, filed a sexual harassment suit against the Clipper owner in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming she quit her job after he repeatedly offered her money to have sex with him, then asked her to recruit sexual partners. Joe Safety, the Clipper vice president of communications, said the team was not aware of the lawsuit and “would not comment, in any case.”