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So far, they aren't at a loss for new ways to lose

November 09, 2008|Lisa Dillman

Marcus Camby was saying the other day that he thought the Clippers had found five different ways to lose five games.

They discovered a sixth.

This time, it was a slow start, a good middle and a gasping-for-breath collapse in a 92-83 loss to the Rockets on Friday night.

The winless Clippers trailed by 15 late in the first quarter. Houston forward Luis Scola tore through them with 14 points in the first quarter. Carl Landry took the baton, so to speak, from Scola and dominated late.

"Certainly, I wasn't crazy about our start," Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy said. "We got ourselves behind in the first quarter and we had to fight our way back in. After that, we had a lot of guys come in and give us really good efforts and play at a pretty high level

"We're still not there yet."

The drop-off, in terms of the bench, wasn't as precipitous as in other losses. Still, the Rockets' bench had a 25-17 edge on the Clippers, though 20 came from Landry.

Dunleavy was asked about his players getting discouraged. "Our regular season here is having to be part of training camp for us," he said.

"We've got to stay positive. I think our guys are."

It hardly looked that way. The phrase "moral victory" was rejected, bluntly, in the dressing room afterward. Baron Davis said there was "no such thing," and Al Thornton echoed that sentiment, in less-sanitized terms.

"It's not supposed to feel good, but look, the bottom line is so far the teams we've played have been really good teams that put up a lot of wins in the Western Conference," Dunleavy said.

"Right now, I guess if you're injured and not feeling good and hurt in certain ways, it is better off losing to really good teams as opposed to teams you think you're supposed to beat."

Growing pains

Rookie guard Eric Gordon took a step in the right direction against the Rockets, picking up more playing time and scoring seven points in 17 minutes.

Thornton, in his second year, recognizes the plight of a rookie, and in particular, Gordon's struggles.

"Yeah, I can, I went through it a little bit last year," he said. "I can sympathize. You got to try to come out and compete and practice so the coach still knows you're in it, still in it mentally.

"At times, I got down, not used to it coming out of college."

He said he has spoken about the transition to Gordon, the quietest of the three Clippers rookies. The other two are guard Mike Taylor and center DeAndre Jordan.

"Other two rooks are crazy. They've got issues," Thornton said, joking. "They've got some real issues."


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