Staples Center has turned into a little house of horrors for Eric Gordon.
And it has absolutely nothing to do with his shooting stroke.
Gordon has suffered painful injuries in back-to-back home games, and the Clippers managed to survive his latest one, beating the Warriors, 113-109,, Saturday night.
This came via a determined effort from Blake Griffin, who helped clinch the win with a tiebreaking three-pointer with 46.5 seconds remaining that put the Clippers up, 108-105. Griffin had flirted with the first triple-double of his career, coming within two assists of completing the rare feat.
It was the Clippers’ seventh straight victory at home and Gordon even returned for the final 21/2 minutes of the game despite his injuries. He finished with 23 points.
The Clippers (17-26) have won seven of their last nine games.
Griffin had a career-high eight assists, plus 30 points and 18 rebounds, tying a career high. He also had one of the best dunks of his rookie season, a reverse alley-oop in the first half. He had eight assists through three quarters.
But the Clippers lost Gordon for a stretch when he went down hard on his back with 4:44 remaining in the third quarter. Gordon stayed on the court for several minutes and appeared to be in significant pain as team trainer Jasen Powell tended to him on the court.
Gordon got up and, having been fouled going hard to the basket, managed to hit the two free throws. He eventually went back to the locker room for treatment and returned with his right wrist taped. The Clippers said the injury was a lower-back contusion.
Clearly the Clippers have to be concerned about the pounding Gordon is taking, and the injury toll in the last few days. On Wednesday, he suffered a torn ligament in his right ring finger but managed to return, and then even hit a career high-seven pointers the next night at Portland on his way to a 35-point performance.
His injury was another strange twist in a Clippers season full of peaks and valleys. The peak, of course, is the continued excellence from Griffin.
Before the game, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro spoke about the biggest area of improvement in Griffin’s game.
“Probably his recognition of double teams,” Del Negro said. “Blake gets double- and triple-teamed sometimes. A rookie who has played 40 games or so in the league and you’re already double- and triple-teaming the guy. That’s how dominant he’s been for us.
“The game has slowed down a little bit for him. He doesn’t seem as if he’s in as much of a rush at times. And that’s good.
“The thing that makes it hard in the double team with Blake is that, one, he’s a really good passer, and two, he has really good ball-handling skills.”