– It was smart for the Clippers (53-22) to hold Blake Griffin out of this game. He is arguably the team’s best player – though fans of Chris Paul may debate that – and there was no use risking not having a healthy Griffin for the post-season, which is just around the corner.
– Big-time kudos to Jared Dudley, who started in place of Griffin and came through with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. Dudley shot 6 of 10 from the field, 2 of 3 from 3-point range.
– Jamal Crawford, who had recently missed eight out of nine games, was back on the bench with what was described as a calf injury in an Associated Press story on the game. A strained left calf was why Crawford missed those aforementioned games before playing in five consecutive games ahead of Monday.
– DeAndre Jordan had a career-high 24 rebounds. Dude is just a beast. He also had 11 points and four blocks. However, showing he’s not perfect, Jordan also had five of the team’s 18 turnovers.
– Darren Collison had a terrific night shooting the ball. He was 9 of 17 from the field – 2 of 3 from 3-point range – and he made all eight of his free throws for a game-high 28 points. Picking up the offense like that when the team’s leading scorer (Griffin) is out is nothing but positive. Collison did have six turnovers to go with seven assists, but he also played 43 minutes. The points, minutes and turnovers were season-highs.
Next up, Wednesday at Phoenix.
The Clippers have announced they are holding Blake Griffin out of Monday night’s game at Minnesota.
Griffin suffered back spasms during the first quarter of Saturday’s victory at Houston. He had been listed as day-to-day and as much as a 50-50 proposition to play against the Timberwolves.
It’s the first game Griffin will have missed all season.
Blake Griffin has been listed as a 50-50 possibility – a game-time decision – to play in Monday night’s game at Minnesota, according to a story on ESPN.com.
Griffin left Saturday’s game at Houston in the first quarter with back spasms and did not return.
“It has improved since Saturday, that’s for sure,” Griffin told ESPN.com. “I still wouldn’t say 100 percent. … I’ve been dealing with it off and on. Most of the time it’s manageable, but I felt like Saturday wasn’t really manageable. I got bumped, but it wasn’t a hard bump or anything. It was a bump. I feel like if it hadn’t happened there it would have happened the next time I was in the lane. I don’t really think it was the force.”
Griffin has not missed a game this season. He’s averaging 24 points and 9.6 rebounds.
If Blake Griffin plays in Monday’s game at Minnesota, he will become the No. 7 all-time scorer in franchise history. He has 6,431 points and Ken Norman, who is seventh, has 6,432.
It has taken Griffin not quite four full seasons to get to this point; it took Norman six.
The all-time leading scorer in franchise history is Randy Smith with 12,735. Second is Bob McAdoo with 9,434.
Griffin is averaging 24 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists. He could become the first player since the 1975-76 season to average 24 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in one of his first four years in the NBA. The last person to do that was McAdoo. Others who have done it are Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Elgin Baylor.
Griffin went down with back spasms early in Saturday’s victory at Houston. He is questionable for the game at Minnesota.
There is a chance that the best player on each team won’t play Monday when the Clippers (52-22) play at Minnesota at 5 p.m.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin played only six minutes before going down with back spasms Saturday in a victory at Houston. He was listed as day-to-day. And it’s doubtful coach Doc Rivers would take a chance on playing Griffin if he is not 100 percent or very close to it. The playoffs are around the corner.
For the T’Wolves (36-36), Kevin Love had a poor game in a loss Sunday at Brooklyn, going for just 14 points and nine rebounds – well below his season averages of 26.2 points and 12.6 rebounds. A story on ESPN.com said Love said afterward that he was “exhausted” and might be getting sick.
The Clippers are 3-0 against Minnesota this season, the victories coming by just two, four and four points. Love had 45 points and 19 rebounds in a 120-116 T’Wolves overtime loss to the Clippers on Dec. 22 at Staples Center.
– First and foremost, coach Doc Rivers is in control of this team. When Glen “Big Baby” Davis went too far in voicing his displeasure over being taken out of the game early in the second quarter, Rivers sent him to the locker room to stay for the rest of the game. Rivers said this in an Associated Press story: “I thought ‘Baby’ was just too emotional and for me if you’re too emotional I just always send you back to the locker room and keep you back there until the next game. But I love ‘Baby.’ I just didn’t think emotionally he was ready to play tonight.”
– The Clippers are really starting to show the mettle it will take them to make a long run in the post-season. When Blake Griffin went down with back spasms after just six minutes of playing time, and then Davis was sent to the locker room early in the second quarter, they were down 13 points. But the Clippers ended up outscoring the Rockets 38-25 in that second quarter on their way to their second consecutive victory on this road trip that still has stops Monday in Minnesota and Wednesday at Phoenix.
– Chris Paul, like a superstar should, is really elevating his game as the playoffs near. As good as he’s been all year, he has shown the past two games what a leader and a great player do when adversity strikes. Paul was 0 of 12 from the field in a loss at New Orleans on Wednesday. He came back with 31 points in a win Thursday at Dallas and 30 more Saturday, when he also came through with 12 assists, five rebounds and three steals. Oh, and he had just one turnover in 39 minutes. Other than that, he didn’t do a thing.
– Really like what Matt Barnes did in this one. Fifteen points and 10 rebounds, including a big 3-pointer late in the game that helped sealed Houston’s fate. Barnes is a hard-nosed guy who plays with lots of emotion. If he’s playing well, it’s such a boost to the team. One thing, his 10 3-point attempts seem a little much. He made three.
– It’s true that center Dwight Howard (ankle) and point guard Patrick Beverley (knee) were out for the Rockets. But Houston was still at home, and the Clippers were still without Griffin – the best player on either team – and reserve Danny Granger (hamstring). This was a solid victory. Keep in mind that’s three road games in three cities in four days for the Clippers.