Eric Gordon happy to be back home with Clippers
It’s almost as if Eric Gordon knew he would be back. Why else did he hang onto his Los Angeles home for a decade before selling it? Gordon started his career with the Clippers after being drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft out of Indiana, settling into Southern California life for three seasons. After three impressive seasons in L.A., the versatile guard was sent to the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans in the trade that brought Chris Paul to the Clippers. Gordon went to New Orleans, but his home stayed behind. After playing five seasons in New Orleans, Gordon signed a four-year contracrt, and later an extension, with the Houston Rockets, where he became an integral part of the landscape for seven seasons, winning the 2017 Sixth Man of the Year award and the 2017 All-Star Slam Dunk contest. And yet, his house remained in California. That is, until roughly 18 months ago, when Gordon put it on the market – a year-and-a-half before he came back to Los Angeles last month in a trade with the Rockets, a move that has brought him full circle. “It’s crazy to be in this situation now, but it’s good,” Gordon said. Unlike his previous stints, Gordon finds himself in a different place this season – on the bench, playing behind starter Russell Westbrook. Yet, the guard is in a happy place. “It definitely means a lot (to be back),” Gordon said. “This was a situation I’ve always wanted to be in and looking forward to. We got a lot of talented guys and I think I kind of fit the mold of how they play and how they do things. It’s great to be back.” Gordon has fit seamlessly with the Clippers. Coach Tyronn Lue often sends him in with the starting unit to close out games. Lue said that not only does Gordon’s presence on the floor stretch defenses because of his ability to shoot 3-4 feet behind the 3-point line, but he brings “a calmness when he’s on the floor.” “He’s been great for us, like I said, brings a sense of calmness, especially down the stretch at the end of games. And his shooting ability and ability to guard up (positions) twos, threes and fours on the post, box out and hold those bigger guys off – he’s been really good for us,” Lue said. In Wednesday’s game against the Golden State Warriors, Gordon entered the game in the third quarter and buried four 3-pointers. He returned with less than seven minutes left in the fourth, giving the Clippers that “calmness” that helped them hold off Steph Curry and the hot-shooting Warriors to win their fourth game in a row. And now, with guard Norman Powell out indefinitely, Gordon again is expected to see additional minutes Saturday afternoon against the Orlando Magic. “I have an understanding of what to bring. It’s all about making the right play, knocking down shots and never being afraid to knock down the shots in tough moments,” Gordon said. Lue said that Gordon told him early on that he would accept whatever position or role the coach needed. “Just watching him and playing against him over the years, he just always played his role, whatever the team needed him to do, that’s what he did,” Lue said. “He came in here and told me the same exact thing, like, whatever you need me to do, I’m going to do.” Gordon said his unassuming style of play, maybe new to L.A. fans, is the way he has been playing at all his stops. “Throughout my career, I’ve had a lot of good years in this league,” Gordon said. “I’ve always been floating under the radar through my whole career. But I’ve always done a lot of good things in this game, so it never surprises me.” POWELL OUT INDEFINITELY Powell, who suffered a shoulder subluxation in a game against the Warriors on March 3 and has missed the past five games, did not practice Friday and is not set to return soon, according to Lue. “He’s going to be out for a little bit longer,” Lue said. Powell has been a key reserve, averaging 16.6 points and shooting 41% from 3-point range.