Eric Gordon says drug use was a problem for Indiana

Just came across an explosive story in the Indianapolis Star in which Clippers rookie Eric Gordon said that members of Indiana’s basketball team, which he played on last season, used illegal drugs and it caused a vast division within the team.

“Sometimes it felt like it wasn’t even a real basketball team because of all the turmoil that went on,” Gordon told the newspaper. “I was just thinking about that the other day. It was so crazy that all that stuff threw off a good season and made it a waste, basically.
“It was really tough for us to be around each other all the time off the court because we were so separate.”

Clips win two in a row, Baron Davis pleased (relieved?)

His beard has grown long and shaggy. The clean-cut look Baron Davis brought into the season long since overgrown by a more grizzled look.

These first few months back in his hometown have been tough. A lot tougher than he expected, if we and he are being honest.

“I’m always optimistic, but I think I was too optimistic in the beginning of the season,” Davis said after the Clippers beat Houston 95-82 on Saturday night, marking their first two-game winning streak of the season.

“I just thought things were going to start clicking from the beginning. But missing training camp, with all these new faces, it was tough. For me, it was a humbling experience.”

Keeping the beard trimmed, in other words, was the least of his worries.

After 23 games, two games past a fourth of the NBA season already gone by, the Clippers have just six wins to show for their efforts.

But for the first time, since maybe the beginning of training camp, they have reason for optimism again.

Saturday’s win over Houston was their second in as many nights against one of the NBA’s elite teams. Houston and Portland, whom the Clippers beat in double overtime Friday night up in Portland, were two of only eight teams in the league with at least 15 wins coming into Saturday night.

“You’ve just got to feel your way out of it,” Davis said.

In terms of challenges he’s faced during his career, Davis said the Clippers woeful 4-17 start ranks “right up there” with the toughest situations he’s had to overcome.

“But now … I’ve never been more optimistic than I am now with this team.”

Strong words for a star player who has uttered few of them in the last month or two, preferring to keep quiet until a brighter day, if it ever came.

But with new power forward Zach Randolph turning in his second straight impressive game, Davis’ mood was starting to brighten, even though his face still looked grizzled and worn.

Saturday night Randolph finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Add that to Friday’s 38 points and 11 rebounds and you’ve got a dependable, if not dominant low post scorer.

“Zach is as good as advertised,” center Marcus Camby said. “There’s not a shot he can’t make. He’s a real great basketball player.”

Randolph, impervious to the early-season woes his new mates suffered through, didn’t even know it was the Clippers first back-to-back wins of the season.

“Really?” he asked, when a reporter asked for a reaction. “It’s a building block. We’re trying to build. That’s what we got to do every night. Come out and play hard and don’t worry about the offensive end until we get stops.”

Saturday night, that was the key against a Houston team that scored 119 points against Golden State on Friday night and 103 points against the Clippers back on December 3.

The Clippers held Houston to just 34 points in the second half Saturday. Only Yao Ming (24 points) and Tracy McGrady (19 points) finished in double figures.

“Games like this, when we don’t move he ball and move ourselves,” Rockets forward Shane Battier said. “We normally lose.”

Al Thornton scored 26 points for Los Angeles. Camby added 12 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. Davis had 13 points and nine assists.

Clippers tickets….

The Clippers, like many teams around the NBA in this down economy, have had to get a bit more creative in the packaging of their tickets these days. What does that mean for the average fan?

Seats to some of the best games left on the home schedule and autographs from some of the players …

The packages include the Clippers’ contests vs. the Lakers on January 21, the Boston Celtics on February 25, the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 10 and the Portland Trail Blazers on April 11.

Two tickets in the upper level corners for each game.
A private autograph session with rookies DeAndre Jordan and Mike Taylor.

Two tickets in the upper level center for each game.
A private autograph session with the choice of two (2) of the following players:

Marcus Camby, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph and Al Thornton.

Two lower level seats in the end zone for each game.
A Limited Edition 25th Year Anniversary Official Cap, woven in black and autographed in silver by Clippers guard Baron Davis.
A private autograph session with your choice of three (3) of the following players:

Marcus Camby, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph and Al Thornton.

Mobley officially retires

Former Clipper Cuttino Mobley announced his retirement Thursday afternoon at a press conference in New York after being diagnosed with the potentially fatal heart condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. He, and the four clubs he’d previously played for, had believed his heart condition was merely a benign condition called an enlarged heart, also known as an athletic heart. But a recent series of tests following his trade from the Clippers to the Knicks on November 21 revealed the more serious condition.

It’s not known if his previous condition had worsened since his September physical with the Clippers, or if the more serious condition had gone undetected in the past.

According to the New York Times:

Mobley made his decision after visiting three highly regarded medical specialists, including Dr. Barry J. Maron, a leading expert on HCM who is based in Minneapolis. Mobley had been aware that he had an enlarged heart, also referred to as an athletic heart, which can be a benign condition.

“The specialists I’ve seen made it clear that my heart condition has gotten worse, and I couldn’t continue to play professional basketball without putting my health and life in serious danger,” Mobley said in an afternoon news conference at the Knicks’ training center here. “As much as I want to keep playing in the N.B.A., I have no choice but to follow the advice of my doctors and step away from the league.”

Mobley’s most recent physical examination with the Clippers, in September, showed he had an irregular heartbeat, an indication of his enlarged heart. But the Knicks’ director of player care, Dr. Lisa Callahan, was concerned by what she saw in Mobley’s test results here and ordered a magnetic resonance imaging test.

“Getting the M.R.I. basically saved my life,” Mobley said.