The game definitely started off on a high-note, as Eric Gordon swished in the first shot of the game, a 3 pointer from the top of the key. From the moment he touched the ball, it seemed like he decided that he was going to be a lot more aggressive tonight. Maybe just by having Baron on the floor encouraged the young 2-guard to do so. Perhaps he was inspired by his old friends at Butler playing for the National Championship tomorrow. Whatever the case may be, it was refreshing to see the 2010 version of Eric Gordon playing like the 2009 version of Eric Gordon. He finished the first quarter with 10 points and looked to be on pace to setting a new season high in points, but unfortunately he seemed to disappear after his strong start. After a short breather, he checked back in but couldn't maintain the aggressiveness he showed at the start of the game. He reverted back to form and only managed to score 7 more points in the remaining 3 quarters, leaving him with a 17-point performance.
Tonight's Clippers game was a homecoming of sorts - the first home game after a disastrous 0-3 road trip and also the return of Baron Davis back to the line-up (and not a moment too soon, after Steve Blake's forgettable 9 turnover game last night in Denver. The Knicks haven’t won a single game against the Clippers at the Staples Center. The Clippers also haven’t lost a home game to an Eastern Conference team with a losing record all season. LA’s other team even lost by 19 just a few hours ago in the same building. It seemed like all the pieces were right there to set up a Clippers home win. A win tonight on Easter Sunday would be proof that there’s resurrection and can jump start the team over the last few remaining games.
Another factor in the Clips loss was the performance of Gordon's teammate and fellow starting wing Rasual Butler, who put up a 3 for 12 shooting night. During yesterday’s telecast, Milph said that Butler had no idea that he was only a few 3 pointers behind Terry Dehere for the Clippers record for 3PM in a single season. Today, it looked like it was the only thing on Rasual’s mind.
In the battle of unlikely All-Stars, Chris Kaman quietly put together a 22 point, 16 rebound performance while his counterpart, David Lee, emphatically scored 29 points and grabbed 10 boards. Yes, the same David Lee who made the game winning tip-in when the Clippers last played against the Knicks. Speaking of Lee, he is putting up some ridiculous numbers that you just can’t ignore. Donnie Walsh, this means you. By the way, can Chris Kaman just keep a shaved head all season long? Can we all just agree that it’s the better look?
In a very intriguing match-up, there were stretches when Danilo "The Situation" Gallinari was guarding Baron Davis. Having Gallinari chase around the bearded one may have led to him having such a hard time scoring. A game after Gallo shot 10 for 20 against the Warriors, he struggled with his shot from the beginning and finished shooting 4 for 14. Gallinari insisted on posting up the smaller Davis, but Baron just wouldn’t budge. It left Danilo uncomfortable and he was never able to find his rhythm from outside.
The 18 turnovers the Clippers coughed up were eerily similiar to their previous game when they had 20 turnovers, which ultimately cost them the game. None were bigger than the ones late in the 4th quarter. Allow me to refresh your memory. Baron Davis made a smooth jumper from a nice pick from Kaman that tied the game at 103 apiece at the 2:54 mark of the 4th quarter. Following an Al Harrington jacked up 3 pointer, Baron rebounded the brick and went coast to coast, only to have Rasual Butler fumble the pass. On the next Clippers offensive possession, Chris Kaman was indecisive under the basket which caused the Clippers to get a 3 second call. A possession later, Danilo is switched up on Chris Kaman and does a good job forcing Chris to elbow him in the face. That makes it three consecutive turnovers on the Clippers with a chance to take the lead. What happens when you cough up the ball three times in a row and allow them to take the lead back after you’ve tied it? Well, you and I have watched enough Clipper games to know how this one ends. The next two sequences show Al Harrington punking Baron Davis that ultimately sealed the victory for the Knicks. Looks like Harrington got his revenge after last year’s two brain farts. Well Lebron, I know you’re reading this. You saw two teams that are vying for your attention. Please don’t let this game be an indication of things to come for next year.
For those of us who attended the game, we all felt something was different. It was unusually quiet when the Knicks shot their free throws. We expected to see Clipper Darrell leading us in a cheer or poking fun at the opposing team’s player, however, he missed his first home game in 9 seasons due to being in the hospital. Let’s all send Clipper Darrell our best wishes for a speedy recovery.