Baron Davis’ star-crossed early Clippers career took another unsettling twist Friday night when he suffered another injury, leaving the game against the Denver Nuggets because of a sore left hip.
Davis exited early in the second quarter and did not return in the Clippers’ 113-103 overtime loss at Staples Center. He is not expected to travel to Utah for tonight’s game.
The Clippers, who squandered an 18-point halftime lead, had a chance to win it in regulation, but forward Tim Thomas couldn’t get a shot off under pressure from Kenyon Martin in the waning seconds.
“He was just swiping at the ball,” Thomas said. “He swiped down at my hand and I lost the ball. Situations like that, at the end of the game, the referee doesn’t want to blow the whistle, make a tough call. I should have been stronger with the ball. I should have turned my back on him and got a better shot. He has quick hands.”
Denver’s Allen Iverson took control of overtime, scoring nine of his 25 points in the extra period.
Davis’ injury occurred with 9:30 remaining in the second quarter when he fouled the Nuggets’ Dahntay Jones and came down hard on what looked to be his tailbone.
He said before the game that there was a “little swelling and soreness” in his sprained left ring finger, adding that he would have to learn to live with the injury. Two injuries could be another story.
Davis had paced the Clippers’ early with six points, four rebounds and an assist in 13 minutes. Filling in for him at point guard were Jason Hart and rookie Mike Taylor, who combined for five points
Forward Al Thornton led the Clippers with 30 points, adding 11 rebounds, and Thomas had 20 points and seven rebounds. Center Chris Kaman had 15 points and 15 rebounds, and shooting guard Cuttino Mobley 14.
Thomas had spoken the other day about the Clippers’ run of bad luck, telling a story about how a mirror once fell off the wall and shattered in his hotel room. And now this Halloween sidebar.
“Yeah, to be up 15, 16 or whatever it was, 18, and lose a game, especially at home,” Thomas said. “It was one of those weird nights. It’s definitely Halloween.”
So much for the theory that the Clippers caught a break in that the Nuggets were without All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony. Anthony was serving the second game of a two-game suspension stemming from his drunk-driving arrest last spring.
Denver’s starting forwards, Martin and Linas Kleiza, who filled in for Anthony, were a combined six for 22 from the field.
The Nuggets were ragged early with 14 first-half turnovers and faced a 55-37 halftime deficit before pouring it on in the fourth quarter and pulled even with 9.4 seconds remaining in regulation.
Next up for Denver tonight: the Lakers. The same Lakers who crushed the Clippers on Wednesday.
Davis had spoken about that season-opening loss before Friday’s game, saying: “It was a reality check and something we probably needed at the time, and I hope that it’s going to inspire us to come out with focus for 48 minutes.”
You might say Davis has had enough reality checks in his brief Clippers career.
Center Andrew Bynum is glad his contract has been finalized, allowing him to play the game without worrying about his future. PAGE 5