Clippers power forward Ike Diogu tries to maintain possession of the ball… (Kelvin Kuo / US Presswire )
Reporting from Miami — It might be time for the Clippers to start combing the health clubs again to supplement their roster.
OK, not exactly.
That theme, however, does have the trappings of a tidy little story: Forward working out at health club recovering from knee surgery signs with NBA team, receives regular minutes and records his first double-double of the season.
If it was a made-for-TV movie, they would neglect to mention that the forward happened to be a former lottery pick and had been biding his team at the health club, waiting for another NBA gig.
Whether it's truth or fantasy, the Ike Diogu story works on both levels. Diogu, along with Baron Davis, was one of the bright spots in the Clippers' one-point loss to Atlanta on Friday night.
Diogu had 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench and did so essentially in the span of the final three quarters, having played five seconds in the opening quarter. Twelve of his 14 points came in a quick burst in the second quarter.
The last time he had a double-double was April 15, 2009, when he was with Sacramento, finishing the season with consecutive double-doubles.
"I didn't play as well as I wanted to against Chicago," Diogu said Friday. "Any good team, the key is going to be the bench players. You've got to come out and play with energy and I knew that coming in.
"And I knew the coaching staff was expecting a big game from me. I was just able to put together a solid performance."
He had eight points and three rebounds off the bench in the Clippers' loss to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. In fact, the Clippers reserves had 16 points against Chicago and there was an uptick to 27 points against the Hawks.
(Of course, Hawks reserve Jamal Crawford outscored the Clippers bench by himself with game-high 34 points.)
"I'm not a guy who is big on moral victories; a loss is a loss," Diogu said. "It was a tough loss, a game we should have won. It's going to sting for awhile. But if we come out and play with that same intensity, and don't allow ourselves to dig a hole like we did, then we should be fine for the rest of the road trip."
The Clippers thought there was a chance that Blake Griffin's flagrant foul, one, on the Hawks' Al Horford would be rescinded.
That did not happen on Saturday when the league reviewed it. But Griffin was not suspended for the play from Friday night's game in Atlanta, which led to the game-winning foul shots from Horford with 0.6 seconds remaining.
Horford missed the Hawks' game on Saturday night at Washington with an injured lower back and told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he didn't think it was a "dirty play," saying he thought Griffin was going for the ball. . . .
Coughing and sneezing … not the good way to open a marathon trip. But there was center DeAndre Jordan unable to get through an interview without sneezing and sounding generally awful.
Jordan had enough for about one quarter, scoring nine points and grabbing two rebounds in Atlanta. He had one rebound the rest of the way in limited playing time.
After a strong showing Monday, it was a rough week for Jordan, who was scoreless against the Bulls
"There's going to be some games where you don't play as well as you'd like," Jordan said. "You just have to come out, perform and still play all the same. I've just got to get over that."