It took the Clippers seven games, but they finally got their first win of the season this afternoon at Staples Center by beating Dallas 103-92. In what L.A. hopes is a sign of things to come, they were able to finally get strong minutes from both Baron Davis and Marcus Camby, along with some solid production off the bench that allowed them to keep the Mavericks playing catch up for most of the afternoon.
The Clippers had a balanced scoring attack, with six players finishing in double figures, and Camby would have been number seven had he not missed the mark by a single point. Baron Davis played 37 big minutes, and led the team with 22 points and 10 assists. Camby led the club defensively, grabbing 14 rebounds and blocking two shots. L.A.'s starting unit was projected to be pretty good once they finally got on the floor together for extended minutes. But it was the play of the bench that solidified what the starters had begun.
Paul Davis had 10 points off the bench, and his highlights included a great look inside to a wide open Camby along the baseline for a two-handed jam. Rookie Eric Gordon had struggled to find minutes in Mike Dunleavy's rotation, but today he received 30 of them, and made the most of his time by playing consistently and chipping in 11 points, along with two assists, two steals, and just one turnover.
It's not surprising that when the Clippers finally were able to get 30-plus minutes out of all of their starters, they defended well and were able to break through to get their first win. But it's really the bench play of the Clippers that will be the difference between them winning and losing most nights, because it's a long season, and you can't expect Davis, Camby, and Kaman to go 48 minutes. So it was encouraging to see the likes of Paul Davis and Eric Gordon be able to contribute. Hopefully for the Clippers, this will be the beginning of a trend rather than a fluke performance.