Clippers’ loss is their seventh straight
And another Clipper goes down.
And in the process, the Clippers lost yet another heartbreaking game, the losing streak extended to seven games in a row, the 88-87 defeat dealt by the Detroit Pistons on Sunday after rookie Eric Gordon was unable to finish off his best game.
Gordon missed a last-second shot after he scored a career-high 31 points at Staples Center on a day when the injury-plagued Clippers’ new starting point guard, Fred Jones, went down with a sprained right foot early in the first quarter.
“I can’t believe we lost another point guard early to start the game,” Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “But I thought the guys that we had that played for us did a great job.”
Especially Gordon and Marcus Camby, who had his fifth consecutive game with a double-double of 20 rebounds and 14 points, his 17th this season.
Jones, who signed with the Clippers on Dec. 28, suffered the injury 2 minutes 37 seconds into the game when he stepped on someone’s foot.
He had an X-ray Sunday that was negative and will have an MRI exam today.
Jones was forced into starting at point guard for the backup point guard, Jason Hart, who couldn’t play because of right elbow tendinitis. The Clippers had hoped Hart could start for the starting point guard, Baron Davis, who is out because of a bruised tailbone.
That left Mardy Collins to be the point guard after Jones limped to the training room with trainer Jasen Powell.
Jones returned to the bench in the second half, but he did not play.
“I don’t think it’s to the extent where it’s going to keep me out a long time,” Jones said. “In a day or so, I’ll get it back strong and go back out there.”
The Clippers were already down to nine players and were left with eight healthy bodies after Jones’ injury.
But behind Gordon’s play and the effort from Camby, the Clippers pressed on against a Detroit team that was without Rasheed Wallace (sore right foot) and Richard Hamilton (left groin strain).
The Clippers rallied from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter and took an 87-86 lead with 21.9 seconds left on a three-point play by Gordon.
All the Clippers needed was a defensive stop.
Instead, Allen Iverson faked Camby near the top of the key and split Gordon and Collins.
Iverson (18 points and 10 assists) drove to the basket and threw up a finger roll that was blocked by Al Thornton. But Thornton was called for goaltending.
“The goaltending at the end of the game, I knew the call was legitimate. It was just that I was just questioning whether the time was correct,” said Dunleavy, adding he thought the clock should have stopped with 4.2 seconds left.
Instead, the Clippers had 2.8 seconds left to operate with when they called a timeout.
The play was called for Gordon, who was being guarded by long-armed defensive stalwart Tayshaun Prince.
Gordon’s shot over Prince hit the heel of the rim and bounced away as time expired, sending the Clippers to an 8-25 record.
“All year long, we’ve been playing with a lot of adversity,” Dunleavy said. “Our guys have really, I thought, played hard and tried to get through it. Stuff just keeps coming at them.”