On a night when the Clippers couldn’t shoot the basketball straight, when they welcomed back injured guard Eric Gordon, they found another way to win.
The Clippers controlled the backboards, beating up the Indiana Pacers, using that as a big weapon to pull off an 88-72 victory Saturday night at Staples Center.
The Clippers outrebounded the Pacers, 58-34.
They collected 19 offensive rebounds.
Marcus Camby once again was a glass-cleaner, gathering 17 rebounds — six offensive — to go along with 12 points and six assists.
Chris Kaman had 11 rebounds and 16 points.
“When I look at the stat sheet, there are a couple of things that obviously stand out for us,” Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy said. “I thought defensively we were pretty good and on the glass, that was the big advantage for us.”
The Clippers made just 34.9% of their shots.
But with all five of their starters scoring in double figures, the Clippers won for the third time in four games. They are now 9-11.
The Pacers had lost eight of their last nine, that lone victory over the Clippers at home.
Indiana was playing the last of a four-game West Coast swing and lost All-Star forward Danny Granger when he went down with a bruised right heel early in the third quarter.
That opened the door for the Clippers to clamp down on defense, limiting the Pacers to 37.5% shooting.
Gordon had played in three consecutive games before he missed his last game with a sore left hamstring — this after missing eight games with a sore left groin.
He did enough at practice Friday to be deemed ready to play, despite being a little sore Saturday.
Gordon played 32 minutes.
He was three for 10 from the field and scored 10 points.
Early on, Gordon showed some rust. His shot betrayed him, his one-for-four shooting in the first half not what he had expected.
“It’s still really score, but good thing it didn’t really hurt during the game,” Gordon said. “The plan was to see if I was going to be able to play. It worked out fine.”
Gordon was not alone when it came to poor shooting.
The Clippers made just 32.5% of their shots in the first half.
Baron Davis was the worst, making just one of seven shots for two points in the first half.
Still, the Clippers led, 41-39, at the half over because they out-rebounded Indiana, 33-17.
The Clippers are a middle-of-the-road defensive team, at least according to NBA statistics. They give up 98.3 points per game, ranking them 16th among the 30 NBA teams.
Dunleavy is not pleased with how his team has been playing defense this season.
“No, I’m not happy with where we are at all,” he said. “We go in stretches where we have a group that does pretty well and then we have guys that are continuing making mistakes. They’re not doing it for us. When that happens, we are giving up easy points that we can’t afford to give up.”