Clippers’ barren times end
Things fans were able to do at a Clippers-Warriors game, other than welcome the resumed presence of Zach Randolph and Marcus Camby:
Boo Corey Maggette.
Rip Baron Davis (at least before he came within one rebound of recording a triple-double).
Appreciate Eric Gordon’s three-point acumen.
Marvel at Fred Jones’ explosive offensive skills in the third quarter.
Yes, all of that happened in the Clippers’ 118-105 victory over Golden State on Monday night at Staples Center. The Clippers were 13 for 24 from three-point range and Gordon hit six of seven three-point shots on his way to a 27-point performance.
Indeed, the former longtime Clipper turned Warrior, Maggette, was a popular target every time he stood at the free-throw line.
And, yes, disgruntled Clippers fans were able to voice their displeasure, early on, of Davis, the symbol of a season seriously gone wrong.
Of course, that stopped when Davis started looking more like the Davis of old, recording 25 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists against his former teammates.
“It’s been a progression,” Davis said. “I showed some stretches in the previous game. In the Portland game, I came out a little more aggressive in the limited minutes I was playing. I just really wanted to keep that aggression and keep pushing myself every game.”
But what about Fred?
Jones erupted for two highlight-worthy dunks in the third quarter, driving past and over Ronny Turiaf for a one-handed jam and bringing Clippers reserves out of their seats with a second slam, making rookies DeAndre Jordan and Mike Taylor look like they were admiring their big brother.
Actually, Jones could be their big brother, considering he will turn 30 next month.
“I felt like I was back at 22 today,” said Jones, who won the dunk contest at the 2004 All-Star game. “Back when I was their age, I used to dunk and play it to the bench.”
The way the Clippers (14-43) sliced their way through Golden State in the third quarter, the Warriors looked like the bright orange pylons you see on Caltrans projects.
Team Under Construction.
That appellation more typically applies to the Clippers, an overly kind description of what they have been going through this season. Actually, the word “destruction” was probably more accurate in summing up an especially grim post-All-Star break performance that saw them lose three games by a combined 92 points.
This time they didn’t get run over in a basketball game-turned-track meet (two losses to the Suns) or allow anyone to match a league record (Portland guard Steve Blake’s 14 first-quarter assists).
Little has come easily for the Clippers and this naturally was no exception. They opened an 18-point lead during an inspired third quarter but gradually let the Warriors edge back into it. Golden State pulled to within seven in the final two minutes before the Clippers composed themselves.
The Clippers had sorely missed Randolph and Camby. Randolph, who had been suspended, had 27 points and 11 rebounds in 35 minutes, and Camby, who had been out because of a migraine and subsequent ear infection, had nine points and six rebounds in 23 minutes.
It was Randolph’s first game since he punched the Suns’ Louis Amundson on Tuesday, resulting in a two-game suspension. He had learned that his father was critically ill before that game but said it was no excuse for getting into it with Amundson. “I let my emotions get to me,” he said.
Chris Kaman (injured foot) is still a couple weeks away from returning. Coach Mike Dunleavy said Kaman traveled with the team to Phoenix last week and was making good progress before he suffered a setback, getting hit with a bout of flu. Al Thornton (sore right foot) missed his second straight game after having been the picture of consistency until getting hurt against Phoenix on Wednesday. Thornton said he thought he would be able to return Wednesday against the Boston Celtics.