Charlie Widdoes breaks down the evolving Eric Gordon
He remains ice cold from three, and the team is now 0-4, but this, Clipper fans, is what we should love about Eric Gordon. When everyone spoke of his budding confidence coming off a summer starring for team U.S.A., they were talking about his will to take over, his refusal to defer to teammates who would not, or could not, deliver the goods. No, his team didn’t beat the Spurs, in fact they lost by nine, but he played possibly the best game of his career, and gave us all a glimpse of the team leader that he has become. Not only did he wind up with a career high 11 assists, but he scored 23 points on 59% from the floor, going extremely hard to the rack. And he did it with the controlled chaos that makes him a truly unique player.
Very few players can beat the Spurs by themselves, but tonight we saw that Gordon may be among the few players in the league who can give them as much trouble as he did. At halftime, Rebecca Haarlow reported that the Spurs goal was to contain Gordon’s penetration in the second half, which they were unable to do. With Baron Davis out, he asserted himself on offense as the playmaker many (including myself) wondered if he could become. He showed again that no matter how the team performs, he will continue to attack, but he did so with a more complete game than we have seen from him to this point in his young career. No, he didn’t make a three, but I doubt anyone would question his ability in that area.
As Ralph and Mike pointed out at one point, Gordon was mad. He was mad at the team’s poor start, and he responded with an effort that has no business being associated with a loss to one of the league’s best teams. Chris Kaman finally had a decent shooting night, and we all expect Blake Griffin and the other rookies to continue to improve, but I think it’s important we remember that Eric Gordon is not only an exceptional shooter and defender with athleticism that’s not so sneaky anymore, but he is a ferocious competitor that will do everything he can to help his team win.
It’s always been that way for Eric. His demeanor has always lent itself to under appreciation, but his game has spoken for itself since long before the Clippers had him fall into their lap with the 7th pick of the 2008 draft. Back in 2007, his AAU teammate, Derrick Rose, explained why the two of them are so similar: “We don’t play around. We don’t talk smack when we’re on the court. We take everything serious.”
It remains to be seen how the 2010 Clippers are able to weather yet another rough start, but for those looking for signs of hope, look no further than Eric Gordon, the guy who will absolutely not go down without a fight. Also the guy who, when his shot isn’t falling, will throw down ferocious dunks and decide that it’s time to become a playmaker.