Clips 116, Sacramento 112

Since the moment Eric Gordon was drafted #7 overall by the Clippers, there's been a persistent skepticism about him in the Naçion.  Clipper fans have been slow to embrace the glowing, c. 2007 scouting reports that touted Gordon's sweet stroke, his brute strength, his innate ability to sniff the basket from anywhere on the floor.  To Clipper fans, EJ had all the markings of a classic Clipper draft day bust -- injury-prone, a stubborn shooter with tunnel vision, a combo guard who really isn't, and that familiar star solipsism displayed both on and off the court.   

As drama swirled around the Clippers this summer, Gordon became an afterthought.  Few Clipper fans regarded him as a potential plus-factor coming into the season.  Reports of an ankle injury and subsequent comments that he didn't feel that he was "really missing anything" soured Clipper fans even more on EJ.  He saw his first action in a Clippers jersey on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City, putting up a forgettable 2-8 line from the field. 

But last night, Gordon had arguably his finest night since he graduated North Central High in Indianapolis.  In simplest terms, EJ took over the game in the fourth quarter.  He scored 33 points -- 21 in the 4th quarter -- on 26 true shot attempts [63.4 TS%].  That paralyzing crossover and sweet follow-through were on full display, as was the handle that EJ-partisans insisted could translate into legitimate PG duties.  Neither Bobby Brown or Bobby Jackson had a chance against EJ in the 4th, as the Clippers rolled. 

The challenge going forward into the regular season for Gordon will be leveraging his ability to nail shots from beyond into something better closer in -- be it a little stop-and-pop at 15, a driving layup to the hole, or finding a big on the block or Thornton on the wing.  At IU, Gordon displayed good instincts of the court.  If he can parlay impulse into presence for the Clippers, he'll endear himself to the skeptics.