Five things to take from Clippers’ big 97-79 victory over Grizzlies in Memphis

Glen “Big Baby” Davis reacts during the Clippers’ 97-79 victory at Memphis on Friday/Photo by Brandon Dill, Associated Press

 

- The importance of this victory should not be minimized. The Clippers (38-21) were coming off consecutive losses for the first time since losing Blake Griffin to an elbow injury. Four days after not playing well down the stretch and losing by three points at home to Memphis, the Clippers dominated the Grizzlies on their home court. Without Griffin. They did it with terrific defense, too, holding Memphis to just 37.9 percent shooting.

- Speaking of Griffin, he has now missed the past eight games because of the staph infection that was surgically removed from his right elbow. Four of those victories were against Dallas (5th, Western Conference), Houston (3rd, West), San Antonio (7th, West) and now Memphis (2nd, West). How many people would have thought the Clippers would have that many quality victories without Griffin? Not many.

- Safe to say, Chris Paul wasn’t tripping off his turnover at the end of Monday’s loss to Memphis that was responsible for the Clippers not getting off a shot that could have won the game. All Paul did in this one was score 19 points with 13 assists, four rebounds, two steals and just one turnover in 40 minutes.

- Man, DeAndre Jordan is not messing around out there, is he? He scored 15 points. But that’s just the start of it. He also grabbed a whopping 22 rebounds with three assists, two steals and three blocks. Other than that, he didn’t do a thing. Jordan is averaging 17.1 points and 18.5 rebounds in the eight games Griffin has missed. He’s averaging 16.0 points and 17.2 rebounds in 11 games in February. In four games, he had at least 20 rebounds with a high of 27 in a Feb. 9 win at Dallas. He entered play Friday averaging 11.2 points and 14.0 rebounds.

- The shooting guard tandem of J.J. Redick and sixth-man Jamal Crawford continues to be one of the best around. Redick scored 18 points on 6 of 12 shooting – 2 of 5 from 3-point range – and Crawford scored 19 points on 8 of 16 shooting, also 2 of 5 from beyond the arc. Crawford has averaged 21.2 points in the eight games missed by Griffin, Redick has averaged 15.0. Teams either have to worry about being out-dazzlied by Crawford or out-worked by runaround Redick.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 110-105 loss Wednesday at Houston

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan had another big game for the Clippers on Wednesday at Houston/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

- The Clippers received another fine overall effort from DeAndre Jordan, who came through with 22 points and a whopping 19 rebounds. Jordan is averaging 17.4 points and 18.0 rebounds in the past seven games, all missed by the injured Blake Griffin. Jordan’s season scoring average is up to 11.2 and his league-leading rebounding average is up to 14.0.

- OK, so the Clippers have now lost two in a row since winning four of their first five without Griffin. But there is no shame in losing to Memphis by three points and by just five on the road at Houston. The Grizzlies and Rockets are second and third in the Western Conference standings, respectively. The problem is, every one of these games is so vital at this point. The Clippers (37-21) are sixth in the West and would love to be in the top four entering the playoffs for homecourt advantage in the first round. As tough as the West is, playing a Game 7 at home could be the difference between advancing and going home.

- Jamal Crawford has been on a roll. He scored 24 points in this one on 10 of 17 shooting and is averaging 21.3 points over his past eight games. His season scoring average is up to 16.5, the same average he held in 2012-13 in his first season with the Clippers. Crawford averaged 18.6 points in ’13-’14. Crawford made three 3-pointers Wednesday and now has 1,808 for his career. He is eighth all-time and is now only 22 behind Chauncey Billups (1,830).

- It’s tough to win close games against good teams – especially on the road – when you have 15 turnovers and 18 assists. By contrast, Houston had 27 assists and just nine turnovers.

- The Rockets also blocked nine shots – five by Terrence Jones. The Clippers – even with the shot-blocking machine Jordan – had only four blocks. Jordan had two of them.

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Clippers lead Magic 56-48 after one half of play at Orlando

The Clippers put together a nice-enough first half tonight (Wednesday) at Orlando and lead the Magic 56-48 at intermission.

Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford lead the Clippers (5-4) with 12 points apiece and Matt Barnes has 11 in his best half this season.

The Clippers shot 46.5 percent in the half, 60 percent (6 of 10) from 3-point range.

Nikola Vucevic, Orlando’s 7-foot post, leads his team with 15 points. He also grabbed a whopping 13 rebounds.

The Magic (5-7) shot just 40.9 percent in the half.

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Blake Griffin had a measly nine dunks ahead of Wednesday’s game

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Blake Griffin

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

 

The Clippers’ broadcast team today was talking about how the Clippers are taking more outside shots than they did this past season, and how Blake Griffin in particular is not shooting as much in the paint as he did in 2013-14. To anyone who’s been watching the team, that is not surprising as Griffin has made an effort to extend his game.

However, at the end of that part of the pre-game show on 980 AM radio, it was revealed that Griffin had thrown down only nine dunks in nine games ahead of Wednesday’s at Orlando. That is, obviously, one per game. In ’13-’14 Griffin threw down 176 dunks in 80 regular-season games. That is more than two per game. (The broadcast team said it was 192, but that included 16 dunks in the playoffs).

Not only is that one-dunk-per-game a stunning – in a negative way – statistic for a player like Griffin, who has been one of the most vicious dunk artists in recent seasons, it is the opinion here that his lack of dunks takes away from of the overall ferocity of the team. Heck, even former Lakers forward Pau Gasol – now with the Chicago Bulls – had 11 dunks before Wednesday, and he is  not the most hard-nosed player in the world.

By the way, Tyson Chandler of Dallas led the league with 34 dunks before Wednesday. Anthony Davis of New Orleans was second with 33 and the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan was third with 29.

Anyway, the Clippers led the Magic 26-23 after one quarter of play.

 

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Clippers have third-highest payroll in the NBA for 2014-15 campaign

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Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin has the 13th-highest salary this season in the NBA; teammate Chris Paul is No. 8, according to HoopsHype.com/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

HoopsHype.com has posted the team payrolls for the NBA, and it’s interesting to see that the Clippers have the third-highest this season at $84,733,649.

Brooklyn is No. 1 at $93,741,207 and the New York Knicks are No. 2 at $89,672,190.

Individually, the top salary belongs to the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant at $23,500,000. Clippers guard Chris Paul is No. 8 at $20,068,563 and Clippers forward Blake Griffin is No. 13 at $17,632,688.

Incidentally, the Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire is No. 2 at $23,410,988. He’s averaging 11 points and 7.5 rebounds.

Where is Cleveland’s LeBron James? He’s at No. 6 with a salary of $20,644,400.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 105-89 loss Monday to Chicago Bulls

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DeAndre Jordan goes against Chicago’s Taj Gibson/Staff photo by Andy Holzman

- Did the Clippers drink some kind of potion before the season began? If not, why have they taken on such a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde persona? They were up 46-32 on the Bulls with just under four minutes to play in the second quarter. They were looking good enough. Then they were out-scored 73-43 the rest of the way. Unbelievable. Then again, the way they’ve played this season – they have been ultra-inconsistent – very believable.

- Blake Griffin at times is trying too hard to get a shot off in the paint. When it’s not there, he needs to pass it back out. He admitted afterward he is sometimes forcing things, so that’s a good sign.

- Chris Paul afterward said his team needs to take care of the ball better. As a team, the Clippers had 12 turnovers, which is not horrible. But Griffin had five of those, and that’s not good coming from your best player.

- OK, so we all know the Clippers are not a great free-throw shooting team. On the season, they are shooting 76.4 percent in that department, which is 15th in the NBA. But, seriously, 45.5 percent? That’s what they shot in this one, making just 10 of 22. That is just terrible. That shouldn’t happen even once during the season. Griffin was the worst offender, going just 5-for-10.

- On a positive note, DeAndre Jordan had his second monster rebounding game in succession. He had 18 in Saturday’s 120-107 victory over Phoenix. He came back with 17 on Monday. He’s also starting to block shots the way he did in 2013-14. He had seven blocks Saturday, three more Monday. Jordan is now leading the league in rebounding at 12.4 per game; he averaged 13.6 this past season. Jordan is also averaging 2.78 blocks, third in the league. He averaged 2.48 in ’13-’14.

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Doc Rivers still OK with Las Vegas, Blake Griffin situation notwithstanding

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Clippers sign Doc Rivers to contract extension

Doc Rivers, left, and owner Steve Ballmer/Staff photo by David Crane

 

Coach Doc Rivers on Thursday was queried as to whether he might re-think having his team play in Las Vegas again in the preseason on the heels of Blake Griffin being charged with misdemeanor battery on a man at Tao Nightclub inside the Venetian in Las Vegas. The alleged incident took play on Oct. 19, hours after the Clippers played Denver in an exhibition game at Mandalay Bay on Oct. 18.

Rivers politely scoffed.

“There are situations in life, I’m sure you guys have some,” he told reporters ahead of practice in Playa Vista. “We just don’t get to read about them; I wish we could. But, really, things happen. I don’t think anyone – I know on this team – intends for them to happen. But a lot of our guys are young and they learn and you look at it as a positive thing, where we all learn from it as a group. … But, no, I think the game we play there is a very good game for our organization and we have a great relationship with Mandalay Bay, so we’re not going to stop going there.”

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Chris Paul says team can fix things that are currently not working well

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Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers are a shaky 4-3 heading into their game Saturday against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. They have been very inconsistent in many areas – rebounding, defense, offense and retaining focus throughout 48 minutes of play.

Point guard Chris Paul on Thursday  morning at practice was asked if these things can be repaired.

“Yeah, they definitely can be fixed,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a collective effort. It obviously starts with us – me, Blake (Griffin) and DJ (DeAndre Jordan).”

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