Mike Schuler had an advantage against his former team - sort of.
Schuler designed a high-powered offense last season as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, so it would stand to reason that he knows how to stop it. But Schuler's new club, the Los Angeles Clippers, still needed Ken Norman's buzzer-beater from the top of the key to beat the Warriors 109-107 Sunday night."I told the team at every opportunity that we could win this game," Schuler said. "I looked at their eyes during the timeouts and I know I had their full attention. I knew they were really in tune with what we were doing."
The Clippers, already fielding a skeleton lineup because of injuries to Benoit Benjamin and Danny Manning, fell behind by 18 points after the first quarter. They then had to survive the second half without starting forward Charles Smith, who sprained his left foot in the second quarter.
To make matters worse, reserve center Ken Bannister missed 10 of 11 free throws as the Clippers went just 28-for-50 from the foul line.
"We showed a lot of team depth," rookie guard Bo Kimble said. "We needed to win one of these kinds of games, close and tough."
While with Golden State, Schuler designed the Warriors' up-tempo attack, which led the NBA last season with 116.3 points per game
"He knows what we're doing because he knows our personnel," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "That's one of the negatives when a guy leaves your staff. He knows all about your people, what you do best and how to stop you. I'm happy that he got a head job, but I'm not happy that he beat us."
Tom Garrick rebounded teammate Jeff Martin's miss in the waning seconds before Gary Grant's errant pass for Garrick was deflected out of bounds by the Warriors. Grant inbounded the ball with 4.7 seconds left and Norman swished a 20-footer.
"That's a shot I feel really comfortable with," Norman said. "I gave him a pump fake, but he didn't go for it. Then I felt I could go over him. I had a clear shot, but it was a tough shot."