Jamal Crawford stoked Clippers clinched homecourt advantage for first round

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers (55-26) still don’t know who they will play in the first round of the upcoming playoffs, but they have clinched homecourt advantage for that first round, thanks to their 110-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night at Staples Center.

Jamal Crawford had a poor shooting night – he was 1 of 6 for three points – but his 3-point play down the stretch helped stave off a Denver team with nothing to lose; the Nuggets  are 30-51.

Crawford was stoked to hear his team will start the playoffs at Staples Center.

“That is huge,” Crawford said. “Like I talked about before the game, the fans have been there through good and bad times. I think they can help push us to the next level, so that is good for us.”

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It’s Fan Appreciation Night at Staples Center as end of regular season nears

Chris Paul

Clippers point guard Chris Paul is averaging 19.1 points and a league-high 10.3 assists/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers and their radio affiliate – The Beast 980 – tonight (Monday) will host Fan Appreciation Night in honor of the Clippers’ final home game of the regular season. They will take on the Denver Nuggets at 7:30 p.m.

The festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. outside at the Star Plaza VIP area and continue inside, where all fans will be given a cheering fan. Other prizes and merchandise will be given out during the course of the game.

The Clippers (54-26), third in the Western Conference standings, are still waiting to find out who they will play in the first round of the playoffs. They finish their regular-season slate Tuesday at Phoenix.

 

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Memphis Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph thinks a lot of DeAndre Jordan’s defense

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Coach Doc Rivers has been saying that Clippers’ center DeAndre Jordan is the best defensive player in the league. It sounds like Memphis’ Zach Randolph thinks a lot of Jordan, too.

Randolph on Saturday led the Grizzlies with 21 points in their 94-86 loss to the Clippers at Staples Center. But he shot just 8 of 19 (42.1 percent) from the field. Jordan was at least partly responsible, Randolph intimated.

“DeAndre is just long,” Randolph said. “DeAndre is long, athletic and one of the best defenders in the league.”

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Check out the latest standings and potential first-round playoff matchups

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin leads the Clippers in scoring with a 22.0 average/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers have two games left in the regular season, Monday at home against Denver and Tuesday at Phoenix.

After Sunday’s slate of games, here’s a look at where the Clippers are in the Western Conference standings.

Also, these are the current matchups for the first round if the playoffs began today.

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Blake Griffin trying to figure out what it all means in Western Conference standings

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

With their 94-86 victory Saturday over the Memphis Grizzlies, the Clippers are now 54-26 – as are the Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs. They are tied for the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference standings.

But with not one first-round playoff matchup yet set in the West with the eight teams having either two or three games left in the regular season, Blake Griffin is not sure what it all means.

“To be in the position we are in is great,” said Griffin, who scored 18 points Saturday. “I don’t even have an idea of what it all breaks down to as far as who we are going to play, who we might play, what all the scenarios are. … I was just talking about it with somebody and we just came to the conclusion that we have no idea.”

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Blake Griffin on Clippers: ‘We’re playing some of our best basketball’

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers (53-26) have won 11 of their past 12 games heading into their game Saturday night with the Memphis Grizzlies (54-25). Blake Griffin likes what he’s seeing, but is keeping things in perspective.

“We’re playing some of our best basketball,” he said. “We haven’t really played the
same caliber of teams down the stretch, but I think we’re playing good basketball. I think everybody’s locked in. It’s kind of just like a business atmosphere.”

Of the 11 victories, only four have come against teams currently in position to make the playoffs.

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Jamal Crawford remembers the buzz in Game 7 against Golden State in ’14

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

With the playoffs fast approaching, the Clippers still don’t know who they’ll play in the first round or whether they will have the homecourt advantage, which proved vital to the Clippers in 2014 when they took on Golden State in the first round.

The Clippers had homecourt advantage in that one, and it was a good thing because the Warriors have a great crowd at Oracle Arena and had Game 7 been there, the result might have been different. As it was, the Warriors were up by eight points at halftime in Game 7 at Staples Center before the Clippers emerged with a 126-121 victory to advance to the second round against Oklahoma City.

Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford remembers the buzz at Staples Center.

“I remember when we came on the court, it was electric,” Crawford said. “The crowd was into it, they were fired up and it was truly a win-or-go-home moment for us because we had to get it done.”

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Clippers do not re-sign Lester Hudson, might bring back Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The 10-day contract of guard Lester Hudson is over and he was not re-signed to a second one, though that happening is not out of the realm of possibility. Doc Rivers, coach and president of basketball operations, said he expects to fill the spot.

“There is nothing right now, but we may, we will,” Rivers said. “We will sign someone.”

Rivers wasn’t sure if that would happen before Saturday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center.

“Most likely will, but not sure yet,” Rivers said at practice Friday morning.

The Clippers signed Hudson when Nate Robinson’s second 10-day contract expired. Robinson was not re-signed for the remainder of the season at that time because he was nursing a knee injury. Rivers was asked if Robinson is in the conversation to to be brought back.

“He’s in the conversation, yes,” Rivers said.

Rivers said Robinson’s knee has improved.

“I think it’s better, yeah,” Rivers said. “Probably not where you’d like it, but it’s better.”

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CP3: Blake Griffin’s improved mid-range jump-shot paying dividends for Clippers

 

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Blake Griffin has made a concerted effort to improve his mid-range jump-shot, and he has done that as this season he is shooting a career-high 40.7 percent from 16 feet and beyond; his previous best was 38.2 percent in 2011-12.

Teammate Chris Paul suggests Griffin improving his game in that way has been highly beneficial.

“It makes us very hard to guard,” Paul said. “A lot of teams would try keep us on one side of the court, but you have to make a choice. If two (players) are going to guard me, then you are leaving Blake open.

“When Blake is shooting and passing well, it makes us that much more dangerous.”

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There was joy in Clippers’ locker room after Duke won NCAA Tournament title

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick/Photo  courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Clippers coach Doc Rivers after Tuesday night’s victory over the Lakers was asked to talk about what Duke winning the NCAA men’s title a night earlier might have meant to J.J. Redick, who played at Duke from 2002-06.

“He was happy,” Rivers said. “Him and Austin (Rivers) were obnoxious as ever. But it was good for them. Duke did what they needed to do. Even Ryan Kelly was talking to me during the game. He now has two rings (in his family). His freshman year, and his brother’s a walk-on, which is really cool that coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) did that and gave him a scholarship.

“So the Duke love is pretty strong right now, that’s for sure.”

Austin Rivers played at Duke from 2011-12. Neither he nor Redick won a title while there. Lakers forward Ryan Kelly played at Duke and the Blue Devils won a title while he was a freshman. Sean Kelly, Ryan’s brother, was a senior reserve this season for Duke. Another member of the Clippers, Dahntay Jones, also toiled at Duke, from 2001-03.

Duke won a title in March 2001, but Jones did not begin playing for the Blue Devils until the fall of 2001 for the ’01-’02 campaign.

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