‘Frothing at the mouth’ hatred against Eric Gordon forged his calming court presence

Clippers guard Eric Gordon controls the ball during a loss to the Golden State Warriors on March 2. Gordon has played a big role in revitalizing the Clippers’ playoff push. (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Seeking stability in a season featuring little of it, the Clippers have turned to a player who wasn’t on the roster until a month ago.

“I think he gives us a calmness when he is on the floor,” coach Tyronn Lue said.

Amid a rotation where playing time is constantly undergoing evaluation, the Clippers have needed little time to embrace the new face as part of the lineups most often closing out tight games.

“It comes down to trust, we trust him with the ball,” All-Star Paul George said. “He’s going to make the right plays.”

That player is Eric Gordon, the 34-year-old, 6-foot-3 reserve guard whose 89 fourth-quarter minutes since his Clippers debut Feb. 14 are the team’s second-highest total in that span, surpassed only by George’s 104. The Clippers have outscored opponents by 47 points in those Gordon minutes, a plus/minus that is not only a team high but the sixth-best fourth-quarter plus/minus in the NBA since Feb. 14.

After 14 third-quarter points Wednesday against Golden State, Gordon played the final six minutes of the fourth quarter to finish off the Clippers’ vital, fourth consecutive victory.

“I’ve always been this glue guy, calming sensation to a team where I can go into a game and I can change the game and just different facets and know how to fit in,” Gordon told The Times. “Every team I’ve been on, good team, bad team, I’ve always been figuring out ways to fit in.”

The Clippers traded for Gordon believing he could provide their lineups with this sense of security. It is a role he feels eminently comfortable in, given the stakes — even amid the Clippers’ championship aspirations — don’t feel so weighty once you have played through basketball seasons surrounded, in fact, by security.

Before Gordon was a 15-year NBA pro, he was one of America’s top recruits, a guard built like a safety who could will the ball into the hoop. His verbal commitment to Illinois caused…

Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/frothing-mouth-hatred-eric-gordon-211329998.html?src=rss

Author : LA Times

Publish date : 2023-03-16 21:13:29

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