This time, the buzz is good for the Clippers

By Lisa Dillman

Los Angeles Times

December 20, 2009

Reporting from Philadelphia – Al Thornton was hovering near the officials and the courtside replay monitor, but his mind was already far way, in Texas.

Some of his Clippers teammates were not even on the court; they were back in the locker room. Game over, they were thinking.

But more than a mere flicker of hope hit Baron Davis when they showed the first replay of the 76ers’ Andre Iguodala’s contested jump shot at the end of regulation.

And when they quit showing replays at Wachovia Center on Saturday night, that’s when Davis knew overtime was looming.

What had been an apparent buzzer-beater was waved off after replays showed Iguodala didn’t get the shot off in time.

The Clippers, given new life, won it in overtime, beating Philadelphia, 112-107.

And they did it without Chris Kaman, who had fouled out late in the fourth quarter.

Assist, replay. Frame by frame.

“It looked like we had our back broken in regulation,” Davis said. “We came back. We showed some resiliency.

“When I looked at it, I said, ‘Oh, my God. He didn’t get it off. We’ve got a chance.’ Once they stopped playing it on the Jumbotron, I was like, ‘Yeah, no one wants to see it.’

“When the home team stops playing it on the Jumbotron, you know it’s good news.”

Thornton wasn’t so sure.

“Game time. I thought it was game time,” he said. “I even got a piece of it, and he still made it. ‘Let’s go to San Antonio.’ Thank God for the reviewing tapes.”

Not so fast on getting to Texas for the Clippers’ next game.

(Then again, with the blizzard hitting the East Coast, no one could go anywhere Saturday night, resulting in the tiny crowd.)

Clippers Coach Mike Dunleavy raced back to the locker room to look at the video footage from his staff.

Eric Gordon, who was defending Iguodala along with Rasual Butler, nearly stole the ball, but Iguodala made a remarkable recovery to get the shot off.

“Right when he caught it, I thought the buzzer was off,” Gordon said. “I was trying to make sure time ran out.”

Power forward and former Clipper Elton Brand, who had 14 points off the bench, talked about the deflation hitting the 76ers once the game went to overtime.

“I knew we won the game,” Brand said. “And we’re walking off the court. It looked good. It felt good. It was disheartening to have to go and play overtime.”

The Clippers went on a 9-3 run to open overtime, and Butler scored seven of his 18 points in the extra period.

No one can ever accuse the Clippers (12-14) of being boring.

This time, they let a 16-point lead vanish, nearly echoing Friday night’s collapse at New York.

“It was big. We desperately needed this, otherwise we’d be digging ourselves in a big hole,” said Gordon, who had 17 points.

Kaman finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds and was kept in check in the second half when the 76ers started double-teaming him.

Davis had 20 points and 13 assists, and Marcus Camby had another command performance, grabbing 22 rebounds and scoring 11 points.

For the Clippers, the victory could go a long way for a team often lacking in confidence and killer instinct.

“It was important,” Dunleavy said. “I think we’ve been playing well. We’ve having these stretches where we, in a sense, go brain-dead. . . . It’s so much bigger when you do come back from it and you’re able to pull it out, from a confidence standpoint.”