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CLIPPERS FYI

Eric Gordon's shooting is missed

He's still questionable for Saturday's game.

December 04, 2009|By Mark Medina
  • Clippers guard Eric Gordon passes around Golden State's Anthony Randolph in a game last month.
Clippers guard Eric Gordon passes around Golden State's Anthony… (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images )

After nearly every baseline cut, Clippers guard Eric Gordon penetrated, squared up to the basket and swished a three-point shot.

By sinking five consecutive three-pointers in one segment during his 20-minute shooting session following Thursday's practice, a remote control was not necessary to replay his shooting stroke.

With Gordon absent for nine of the last 12 games, his shooting clinic provided a reminder of what the Clippers have been sorely lacking.

Aside from his 18.1 points per game and play-making abilities, the Clippers (8-11) recently have missed Gordon's 38% mark from three-point range.

Gordon practiced Thursday in running drills, but abstained from ones involving contact, and Coach Mike Dunleavy deems him questionable for Saturday's game against the Indiana Pacers.

"There is a chance," said Gordon, who missed Wednesday's game against Houston because of a strained left hamstring, after a strained groin had sidelined him for eight games. "If I practice the whole time [today], then without a doubt I'm playing."

In the meantime, the Clippers are faring poorly from three-point range, making five of 35 in the last three games. It's something Dunleavy brought up during Thursday's practice, when he told his players to look for more open mid-range jumpers.

"There's no need to gravitate toward the three-point line," he said. "We're not that team. We don't have guys that are big-time strokers."

Gordon played in Sunday's come-from-behind victory against Memphis and went one of four from beyond the three-point line, but he's not the main contributor to the team's outside shooting woes.

The blame squares on guard Baron Davis and forward Rasual Butler.

Davis has gone three of 14 from behind the arc in the last three games and Butler has missed all nine from three-point range in the last five.

"We've got to shoot better shots," said Davis, averaging 16.2 points a game. "We shouldn't be shooting contested shots. Instead, we should be moving the ball around."

The Clippers rank toward the middle of the league in field-goal percentage (46.4%), but are 26th in three-point field-goal percentage (29.4%).

The options have become more limited inside, though.

Center Chris Kaman has shot below 50% in seven of the last eight games after scoring at least 20 points in nine games earlier this season.

Because of his poor shooting, Butler recently switched his post-practice shooting routine with assistant coach John Lucas.

He has increased the intensity of his workout to simulate a game situation and improve his conditioning.

Though Davis and Butler, who is shooting only 37.4% from the field, both acknowledged the need for more high-percentage shots, they remain reluctant to scrap the perimeter shooting altogether.

"Everyone goes through their shooting woes," Butler said, who shot 39% on three-pointers last season with New Orleans, compared to 27.6% this season. "That's what makes you a shooter, that you're confident enough to keep shooting."

mark.medina@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesmedina

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