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Clippers hurting in every way

Down to third-string Ewing at point guard, they struggle and can't take advantage of a late break in a 77-75 loss to the SuperSonics.

March 02, 2007|Jason Reid | Times Staff Writer

SEATTLE — Any point guards seeking work out there?

The Clippers have another opening, and they might soon consider placing help-wanted ads after losing Sam Cassell because of a groin injury Thursday night before a 77-75 loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in front of 14,601 at KeyArena.

With Shaun Livingston already sidelined for the rest of the season because of a potentially career-ending knee injury, the Clippers an hour before tip-off learned that Cassell would not play because of the strained groin he suffered in Wednesday's victory over Seattle at Staples Center.

Third-string point guard Daniel Ewing started and struggled to run the offense as the Clippers shot 40.3% from the field and their winning streak ended at three games. Newcomer Will Conroy, signed from the development league Wednesday, was the Clippers' only other active point guard.

Conroy had a big play on defense with 8.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter, knocking the ball off Seattle's Damien Wilkins on an inbounds play to give the Clippers a final chance to tie the score. But Elton Brand missed a jumper with about one second left and Seattle grabbed the rebound as time expired.

The Clippers (28-30) failed in their bid to move back to .500 for the first time since Feb. 9. Brand scored 22 points and Cuttino Mobley contributed 18.

Seattle star guard Ray Allen, who averages 26.4 points, didn't play because of an ankle injury. Seattle made only 38.6% of its shots, but forward Rashard Lewis scored 31 points and forward Chris Wilcox had 12 points and 13 rebounds against his former team.

Cassell, the Clippers' 37-year-old co-captain, is listed as day to day, but he might benefit from sitting out a few more games, team trainer Jasen Powell said. Cassell is scheduled to be re-evaluated today when the Clippers return to practice, and he said he hoped to play Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers at Staples Center.

The Clippers still have playoff hopes despite their injury problems, but the question is, will they have any point guards left if they get there?

"It's like, 'What else can happen?' " Brand said. "It's like Murphy's Law, whatever bad things can happen, do happen and it's happening right now.

"We know back-to-back games are tough, especially on Sam. We've been hit with a lot, it has been a really tough week, but we still have that resolve to get it done. We have to just find it from within and get it done."

Livingston suffered a dislocated left knee, tore three of four knee ligaments -- anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate and medial collateral -- and cartilage in Monday's victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. Livingston, 21, might miss next season after undergoing surgery, expected to be scheduled within the next few weeks.

Cassell had already been sidelined this season because of calf, ankle, heel and abdominal injuries. He participated in pre-game warm-ups Thursday and considered playing, but sat out because of his limited mobility.

"I've never been through anything like this. It's just unbelievable," said Cassell, in his 14th season. "I would usually get one minor injury a year, and I would find a way to fight through it, but this has been ... calf, ankle, abdominal and now a groin. It's like, 'What else can happen?' "

jason.reid@latimes.com

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