November 29, 2007 |
Last week, Clippers forward Al Thornton received his first career start. This week, he received his first benching. Such is the roller-coaster ride of an NBA rookie trying to find his way. Thornton, who sat out Monday's loss to the Houston Rockets, said he was keeping his head up. He is averaging 5.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in 16.6 minutes through 11 games. Thornton is shooting 31.4% overall and 35.3% from beyond the three-point arc.
October 18, 2007 |
At long last, the Clippers are posed with one of those problems a team wants to have. Exhibit A: Corey Maggette, athletic, long and an explosive finisher near the basket. Exhibit B: Al Thornton, athletic, long and an explosive finisher near the basket (Disclaimer: He must adjust to the NBA level of play during his rookie season). The issue is how Coach Mike Dunleavy will manage a group that includes the two, both of whom are naturally small forwards.
October 23, 2007 |
Perhaps in another life, Guillermo Diaz was a wide receiver, Corey Maggette a defensive back and Sam Cassell a quarterback. In a lighthearted moment at the end of Monday's practice, several of the Clippers turned the court into a gridiron field, running routes and using a basketball as a football. "Charlie Ward, baby, Charlie Ward," Cassell said as he dropped back, an ode to his fellow Florida State alumnus who won the Heisman Trophy and also played basketball for the New York Knicks.
November 6, 2009 |
The number one, as in the number of Clippers wins, was lodged in Rasual Butler's mind, but so were some others from his performance Monday, such as his three-for-15 shooting from the field. That's why he stayed after practice Thursday, going well into extra time. Butler worked on his shot long after his teammates had departed for lunch or other errands before their afternoon flight to the Bay Area for tonight's game against the Golden State Warriors. "I was just a little disappointed in the way I shot the ball the other night," said Butler, who was also five for six from the free-throw line.
January 21, 2008 |
On one hand, it seemed like a giant mismatch. Vince Carter, a perennial All-Star against Al Thornton, the Clippers' rookie forward. But with Carter guarding Thornton for much of the final stretch during the Clippers' 120-107 overtime victory against the New Jersey Nets on Saturday, Thornton put together one of his finest pro quarters. Thornton made all four of his shots in the fourth quarter and made four free throws in helping the Clippers beat a team twice for the first time this season.
April 6, 2009 |
The much-talked about NBA rookie wall has been more like a speed bump for the Clippers' Eric Gordon. One of those disruptive moments, however, came Saturday night against the Denver Nuggets. Gordon was one for 10 from the field and finished with seven points in 35-plus minutes. He said he was tired and described his play as "awful." He has a way of getting those games out of his system -- and quickly.
April 4, 2009 |
Being on the outside with face pressed against the playoff glass -- not a pleasant view, to be sure -- had the Clippers' Marcus Camby thinking about the future. "This is the first time in five years I've missed the playoffs," he said. So he plans to go someplace else. No, not New York. Or Denver. Las Vegas. "A couple of weeks ago, me and Baron [Davis] and Zach [Randolph] were talking about how we need to get together during the summertime," Camby said Friday at the Clippers' practice facility.
December 25, 2009 |
Looks as if that Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill arrived at the Clippers' training facility just in time. It was, of course, supposed to be for one injured patient named Blake Griffin , representing another step in his long-and-winding rehabilitation assignment. The Clippers' rookie power forward went through the paces on the machine Thursday, and his close buddy and teammate DeAndre Jordan decided to try it out and looked like a cartoon character, clowning around on the high-tech apparatus.
October 13, 2009 |
Rasual Butler may have been happier about Blake Griffin's first points as a Clipper than, well, Blake Griffin. Butler was kicking back in the locker room after a preseason victory over Portland last week, and the general consensus was that a clip of the No. 1 overall draft pick's scoring had to be on ESPN since Griffin's firsts have been recorded at every turn. If not EPSN, then YouTube. Meaning plenty of Butler. After all, it was Butler's behind-the-back pass that set up Griffin's dunk in the first quarter.
January 18, 2010 |
Wins over Boston and Denver, and close calls against Cleveland at Staples Center the last two seasons, plus one big breakthrough victory against the Lakers on Jan. 6. Good teams? The Clippers don't seem to have much trouble rising to the occasion when the lights on the marquee are a bit brighter and the very best arrive in town. (Well, there was that 40-point loss to the Lakers on Friday.) Still, often rising to the occasion against the better teams has its flip side.