Five things to take from Clippers’ 114-104 victory Monday night at Minnesota

- 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.

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Blake Griffin will be held out of Monday night’s game at Minnesota

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.

 

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Blake Griffin listed as 50-50 for Monday night’s game at Minnesota

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.

 

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Blake Griffin nearing a milestone and heading toward some history

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.

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Blake Griffin, Kevin Love not certain to play in Monday’s 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.

 

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 118-107 victory at Houston

- 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.

 

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Without Blake Griffin most of the way, Clippers still win at Houston

Despite having Blake Griffin for only six minutes, the Clippers on Saturday defeated the host Houston Rockets 118-107 at Toyota Center.

Griffin went out in the first quarter with back spasms. He did not return. Also, reserve Glen “Big Baby” Davis was sent to the locker room in the second quarter by coach Doc Rivers following a verbal confrontation between the two near the Clippers’ bench. He, too, did not return.

Chris Paul led the Clippers, who clinched a playoff berth, with 30 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and three steals and only one turnover in 39 minutes.

DeAndre Jordan contributed 20 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks for Los Angeles. He did not have to face Rockets center Dwight Howard, out with a sore ankle.

Matt Barnes, who hit a big 3-point shot down the stretch for a 10-point lead, had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

James Harden led the Rockets (49-23) with 32 points and Chandler Parsons scored 28.

The Clippers (52-22) moved two games up on Houston in the Western Conference standings.

Next up, Monday at Minnesota.

 

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Blake Griffin out with back spasms, Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis disciplined by Doc Rivers

Clippers forward Blake Griffin had back spasms in the first half of Saturday’s game at Houston and was deemed unlikely to return.

Also, Glen “Big Baby” Davis was sent to the locker room during the first half after some kind of verbal confrontation with coach Doc Rivers. Clippers broadcasters on Prime Ticket did not expect Davis to return, either.

The Clippers, who entered one game ahead of the Rockets in the Western Conference standings, led 61-58 at halftime.

Houston was without center Dwight Howard (ankle) and point guard Patrick Beverley (knee). Also out for the Clippers was reserve Danny Granger.

The Clippers entered play with the ability to clinch a playoff spot with either a victory over the Rockets or a loss by the Dallas Mavericks.

 

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A look at the big fellas ahead of Saturday’s game against the Rockets

Just a quick look at how the two big fellas have fared for the Rockets and Clippers in their first three games – all won by the Clippers – ahead of Saturday’s game between the teams at Houston. Prime Ticket will televise at 5 p.m.
In the first game Nov. 4 at Staples Center, DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who won 137-118. Dwight Howard went for 13 and nine.
In the second game Nov. 9 at Houston, Jordan had 12 points and 18 rebounds for the Clippers, who won 107-94. Howard went for 21 and eight for the Rockets.
Then, Feb. 26, Jordan scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 10-93 Clippers’ victory at Staples Center. Howard had 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Jordan has the clear advantage in blocks with eight in the three games to four for Howard.

The third-place Clippers (51-22) are a game ahead of Houston in the Western Conference. The Clippers have nine games remaining, Houston 11.

It should be noted that Howard had recently missed three games with a sore left ankle. He has played in two consecutive games, but he told the Houston Chronicle after Thursday’s victory over Philadelphia that his ankle was sore.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ come-from-behind victory over Mavericks

- Thursday’s rally from down double digits in the fourth quarter was the third time the Clippers have done that to the Mavericks this season. Thursday’s final was 109-103. In the other two, Los Angeles emerged by scores of 119-112 and 129-127.

- Superstars like Chris Paul don’t stay down long. He missed all 12 of his field goal attempts in Wednesday’s surprising loss at New Orleans. On Thursday he was 9 of 18 overall, 4 of 8 from 3-point range for a game-high 31 points. Enough said on that.

- Any time a team shows the wherewithal the Clippers showed Thursday, that makes playoff opponents take notice. They know the Clippers have heart, and that can be worrisome to said opponent.

- DeAndre Jordan averages 2.38 blocks as of this writing. He had a rare no-block game against Dallas. But when you score 16 points and grab 15 rebounds, it’s all good. Man, Jordan has been a beast this year. He’s now averaging a league-best 13.7 rebounds.

- Other than Jamal Crawford, who had 14 points, the bench contributed very little. Then again, other than Crawford – who played 28 minutes – no one really played enough minutes to get into a rhythm. Jared Dudley and Danny Granger each played 10 minutes, but the other two players who saw time played a combined 11 minutes. The five starters played 40, 38, 38, 40 and 25 (Darren Collison) minutes.

Next up, Saturday at Houston.

 

 

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