Clippers win ugly over Pacers, 88-72
LOS ANGELES (AP) As NBA games go, it doesn’t get much uglier than this. One team had to win, though, and the Clippers had a better finishing kick than the Indiana Pacers.
Los Angeles shot 34.9 percent from the field Saturday night in its 88-72 victory over Indiana, and the Pacers finished at 37.5 percent in their lowest-scoring game of the season after losing leading scorer Danny Granger after the opening minute of the third quarter.
Each team committed 21 turnovers. The Clippers were 4 for 16 from 3-point range and the Pacers were 5 for 21. Neither team had 20 assists because of all the abysmal shooting, but the Clippers compensated for that with a 58-34 rebounding advantage.
“It was one of the ugliest, but I’m definitely not giving it back,” Marcus Camby said. “The way we shot the ball and turned the ball over and still got the win, we’ve definitely got a lot of improvement to do. But I’m more than happy to get the W.”
All of the Clippers’ starters scored in double digits en route to the team’s fifth victory in seven games. Al Thornton scored 19 points, and Baron Davis got eight of his 12 points during a game-ending 18-4 run. Chris Kaman had 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Camby grabbed 17 rebounds and scored 12 points.
“It’s a win, man. It was real ugly, but we’ll take it. Sometimes you have those,” said Thornton, one of three Clippers with four or more turnovers.
Troy Murphy led Indiana with 13 points. The Pacers, who have lost nine of their last 10 games following a five-game winning streak, concluded an 0-4 trip that began right after an 86-73 victory over the Clippers at Canseco Fieldhouse on Nov. 25.
Granger, who didn’t play in the first meeting because of a sprained ligament in his left knee, finished this one with 11 points in less than 18 minutes.
“Danny is one of our key players, so losing him early in the second half really hurt us,” coach Jim O’Brien said. “We did not have the firepower to play defense. We don’t know how serious the injury is yet, and we won’t until we get back home so he can get an MRI.”
Eric Gordon was back in the Clippers’ lineup after sitting out Wednesday night in a loss to Houston because of a left hamstring strain. The second-year shooting guard, who was born in Indianapolis, played his high school ball there and was drafted by the Clippers following his freshman year at Indiana, missed eight games with a groin injury before returning to play in the other loss to the Pacers.
“He probably rushed himself back, with them being his home team and everybody back home probably watching tonight’s game,” Camby said. “But he’s a competitor. He’s one of those special players we have in this league, and I’m happy he’s on our team. He’s a big part of what we do around here, and I’m glad he’s finally able to get back out there on the basketball court.”
After leading the Clippers to a 41-39 halftime lead with 14 points, Kaman was bogged down by foul trouble in the third quarter and picked up his fifth with 9:35 to play and Los Angeles ahead 65-57.
Mardy Collins’ 3-pointer made it 68-59 before the Pacers responded with 3-point shots by Troy Murphy and Mike Dunleavy Jr. and a running bank shot by Earl Watson to close to 70-68 with 6:56 remaining. But the Clippers restored their nine-point margin with a 15-footer by Davis, a pair of free throws by Thornton and a 3-point bank shot by Davis after Camby’s jumper from the right corner went over the basket and Thornton hustled after the ball.
Kaman followed with a pair of free throws and Thornton capped the pivotal 11-0 spurt with a layup that gave Los Angeles an 81-68 lead with 1:48 remaining. The Pacers made only one field goal over the final 6:56, an 11-footer by Brandon Rush.
The Pacers used their seventh different starting lineup and fell behind by nine before taking their only lead, 27-25, on a dunk by Granger with 8:21 left in the second quarter.
After playing 15 scoreless minutes with just one rebound in Friday’s 96-87 loss at Utah, Pacers center Roy Hibbert came off the bench for the third time this season while Jeff Foster started in his place. O’Brien went back to Hibbert after less than 5 minutes of play, and he made four of his first five shots.
Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy improved to 13-6 when he’s coached against his son in the NBA. Mike Jr. had 10 points in 23 minutes and shot 4 for 11 in his fifth game back from right knee surgery that sidelined him for the Pacers’ first 34 games. The last one he missed was the home win over the Clippers. He also sat out the final meeting last season, a 106-105 win at Staples Center, having undergone that surgery a week earlier.
NOTES: Dunleavy Sr.’s 1,300th game as an NBA head coach tied Red Holzman for 16th place. Dunleavy’s overall record was eight games over .500 when he took the Clippers job in 2003, but he is now 106 games below .500 – despite the fact that he guided them to a playoff berth in 2005-06 with a 47-35 record and got within one victory of the Western Conference finals. … Pacers point guard T.J. Ford was 0 for 1 from 3-point range, and has missed his last 31 shots from behind the arc since making his only attempt back on March 28 at Chicago.
Updated December 6, 2009