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Clippers and their stars are getting worn down

Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon have been playing major minutes, and it showed against the Trail Blazers.

January 21, 2011|By Lisa Dillman
  • The resurgent Clippers have been led by third-year guard Eric Gordon (10), veteran point guard Baron Davis (5) and rookie power forward Blake Griffin (32) this season.
The resurgent Clippers have been led by third-year guard Eric Gordon (10),… (Harry How / Getty Images )

Youthful enthusiasm and energy were nowhere to be found in the Clippers' locker room in Portland late Thursday night.

A loss, naturally, has the way of swiftly whisking away those two attributes. So does playing four games in five nights.

Running on empty was the general theme.

"We were a little fatigued," Baron Davis said. "But the most important thing I was proud of is that we continued to fight. We just probably ran out of gas at the end. Our shots got short."

Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon both looked exhausted after logging 44-plus minutes against the Trail Blazers.

Griffin started on a new double-double streak, scoring 20 points and adding 18 rebounds. He had seven points and six rebounds in the second half and went scoreless in the third quarter.

Griffin, who matched a career high in rebounds, was asked if this was the most tired he has been in his short NBA career.

He nodded, saying: "Yeah, probably. I've been playing a lot of minutes both nights, and before that, Lakers and Indiana, back to back. Just got to make sure I do a good job of getting my rest."

But the Clippers need to find a way to stop Griffin and Gordon from wearing down, especially with a daunting upcoming schedule. Of their next 19 games, only five are at home and that stretch includes five back-to-back situations.

Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said after the loss that the team couldn't rely on just Griffin and Gordon, who had 35 points against Portland and a career-high seven three-pointers.

In the last 10 games, Griffin has logged four games in excess of 42 minutes. Gordon, in that same stretch, has had six games in excess of 40 -minutes. His low, of 30:13, came against Minnesota, but that was when he tore a ligament in a finger and was in the locker room for treatment and X-rays most of the first half.

Little in reserve

Del Negro wasn't pleased with the output from the bench, and with good reason. Portland's Rudy Fernandez gave the Trail Blazers a major lift and boost of energy, outscoring the Clippers' bench by himself, 17-14.

Overall, Portland's bench had a 25-14 edge. The most productive bench player for the Clippers was rookie Al-Farouq Aminu, who had seven points and four rebounds in 10 minutes.

And finally

Portland's Andre Miller got off to a rough opening with a quick turnover and missed his first four shots. He finished with 15 points and seven assists … and no confrontations with the Clippers.

It was unlike the last meeting between the Clippers and Trail Blazers, when Miller went after Griffin and received a one-game suspension.

"That's NBA basketball," Miller said Thursday night. "I think he [Griffin] understood."

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