Five things to take from Clippers’ 100-93 victory Sunday at Miami

Los Angeles Clippers forward Lance Stephenson, right, goes to the basket as Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Miami.

Lance Stephenson of the Clippers goes to the basket as Miami’s Hassan Whiteside defends/AP photo by Lynne Sladky

 

Chris Paul began this game 0 of 9 from the floor. He went 2 of 15 in the first half. He finished 8 of 23, meaning he made eight of his final 14 shots. Consecutive 3-pointers by Paul down the stretch helped seal Miami’s fate. The clutch baskets no doubt made it easier for Paul to forget his early shooting woes. Paul made a 5-footer for a 100-88 lead with 53 seconds left, for the final nail in the coffin.

– The Clippers did not shoot particularly well. They made 45.7 percent of their field goals overall, 36 percent (9 of 25) from 3-point range. They were not good at all from the free-throw line, making just 51.5 percent (17 of 33). DeAndre Jordan was 3 of 14. But the Clippers still won because they took care of the ball, committing just six turnovers, and because they helped hold Miami to 39.8 percent shooting; the Heat also had 13 turnovers, with Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic making four apiece.

– The bench had another strong showing, outscoring Miami’s 46-25. Jamal Crawford had 20 points, Wesley Johnson scored 10 and Lance Stephenson nine. Johnson and Stepheson both shot 4 of 5, with Crawford going 7 of 19 from the field, just 2 of 7 from beyond the arc.

– Speaking of the bench, Cole Aldrich pulled down 11 rebounds in just 13 minutes and 18 seconds of action. Too bad he couldn’t make his free throws, going 1 of 5 from the line. He had two baskets and scored five points.

Hassan Whiteside entered this game averaging a league-high 4.0 blocks. But Whiteside played his third consecutive game off the bench after he missed the previous six with a hip injury. He played just under 17 minutes – he averages 28.6 – and did not have a block. When Whiteside is on, he can be a dominant force. It was just Friday when Whiteside had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks for a rare kind of triple double. So for him to have no blocks in this game is kind of a big deal. He did have 10 rebounds to go along with 10 points.

Chris Paul knew if he kept shooting, things would change

Chris Paul drives to the basket during Sunday’s game as Goran Dragic, middle, and Amar’e Stoudemire of Miami look on/AP photo by Lynne Sladkee

 

Statistics show Chris Paul made 8 of 23 shots from the field during the Clippers’ 100-93 victory at Miami in a Sunday matinee. What the box score doesn’t show is that he missed his first nine shots before finally getting one to go in.

Paul ended up scoring 22 points and hit a couple of big 3-pointers down the stretch to help the Clippers (34-17) to their 17th victory in 21 games without Blake Griffin.

Paul intimated afterward he was confident the early struggles wouldn’t continue. He made eight of his final 14 shots.

“Yeah. I was frustrated early because it wouldn’t go in,” Paul said. “Luckily, and unfortunately, that’s not my first time missing a bunch of shots like that early. I just sort of knew if I just kept shooting, that would change.”

 

Chris Paul knows how important this trip is for the Clippers

 

DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers, left, gets ready to go up for a shot while being defended by Orlando’s Aaron Gordon during Friday’s game won by the Clippers/AP photo by John Raoux

 

Considering how well the Clippers have done since Blake Griffin went out, the last thing they want is to ruin their work by going into a slump before the All-Star break. That’s why Friday’s 107-93 victory at Orlando was big, especially considering the Clippers were coming off an unlikely loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday at Staples Center.

“We just tried to come into the game focused and understand how important this trip is for us going into the break,” said point guard Chris Paul, who scored 21 points, doled out six assists, made four steals but committed six turnovers. “We tried to play with a sense of urgency and that is what we did.”

The Clippers – 16-4 without Griffin – next play Sunday morning at 11 at Miami (29-22). The Clippers (33-17) will play at Philadelphia on Monday and finish the trip Wednesday at Boston.

“We have to keep it going,” Paul said. “At the end of the day, it’s about wins and losses. It is a good win for us and now we have to go to Miami.”

The Clippers return from the All-Star break to play host to San Antonio on Feb. 18 and Golden State on Feb. 20.

Clippers’ J.J. Redick takes a walk down memory lane in Orlando

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick played the first six-plus seasons of his career for Orlando, which drafted him 11th overall in 2006. He spoke in sentimental tones about his days there after the Clippers beat the Magic 107-93 on Friday in Orlando.

“I have nothing but good memories here,” he said. “It is always nice to see familiar faces. One of the ushers is like 82 and he just treated my wife like she was his daughter.

“I caught up with him actually during the game. Just seeing people like that who kind of watched me grow up a little bit from being a rookie to a vet, it is good to see some familiar faces.”

Redick scored 20 points Friday.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 107-93 victory at Orlando

 

 

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Lance Stephenson continued his recent surge by scoring 13 points on 6 of 6 shooting. He hit a buzzer-beating basket at the end of the third quarter after the Magic had cut a nine-point deficit to just two, then scored the Clippers’ first seven points of the fourth to regain that nine-point cushion.

Austin Rivers didn’t play because of a hand injury, so sixth-man Jamal Crawford played 35 minutes. He came through with 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting. However, Crawford was 0 of 4 from 3-point range. He did have three steals.

– Speaking of the 3-point line, the Clippers shot just 29.6 percent (8 of 27) from there. But they shot 54.1 percent overall, so no problem there.

DeAndre Jordan had another monster rebounding game, coming through with 18 to help the Clippers out-rebound the Magic 44-39. Jordan has 19, 19, 17, 20, 15 and 18 rebounds his past six games.

– The down side to this victory was that the Clippers – including one team turnover – committed a whopping 21 turnovers. Point guard Chris Paul had six of them.

Last 2 Minutes report: referee Lauren Holtkamp made right calls in Clippers loss to T’Wolves

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

The NBA’s Last 2 Minutes report from Wednesday’s game between the Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves won 108-102 by the Timberwolves shows that referee Lauren Holtkamp made the correct call when the Clippers’ J.J. Redick was whistled for fouling Ricky Rubio as Rubio was being double-teamed by Redick and Chris Paul with 20.6 seconds left in the game.

Holtkamp subsequently assessed Paul a technical foul when he clapped his hands hard in Holtkamp’s direction after the foul was called on Redick. The Clippers were down by just two points (102-100) at the time. That also was deemed the correct call by the league.