Blake Griffin scores 15 points in first half as Clippers lead Hornets 59-41

Blake Griffin

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

 

Blake Griffin, in just his second game back after missing 15 with an elbow injury, on Tuesday night scored 15 points in the first half and the Clippers led the visiting Charlotte Hornets 59-41 at the break at Staples Center.

J.J. Redick scored 12 points for the Clippers (42-25) and Nate Robinson had eight off the bench.

Al Jefferson led the Hornets (29-36) with 11 points.

 

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Blake Griffin will return to action Sunday against Rockets at Staples Center

Blake Griffin

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

 

Blake Griffin will return to the Clippers on Sunday afternoon when they host the Houston Rockets at 12:30 p.m. at Staples Center.

Griffin has missed 15 games because of a staph infection in his right elbow. The Clippers (42-24) went 9-6 in is absence.

Coach Doc Rivers made the decision after Griffin participated in pregame drills, but his decision was based on what the training staff had told him.

“The trainers, yesterday they called and say he can go, he’s been cleared,” Rivers said.

Griffin was expected to start. He is the team’s leading scorer at 22.5 points per game.

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There is a chance Blake Griffin will make his return Sunday against Houston

Blake Griffin

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

 

Blake Griffin might return to action Sunday against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center, a league source told us Saturday afternoon.

According to the source, the decision will be made when the team goes through its walk-through ahead of the 12:30 p.m. game.

Griffin on Feb. 9 had surgery to remove a staph infection from his right elbow. He has missed the past 15 games, during which time the Clippers have gone 9-6.

Griffin is the team’s leading scorer at 22.5 points per game.

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It’s highly doubtful Blake Griffin will return Sunday at Golden State

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin will likely not return Sunday at Golden State/Photo by Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Although there seemed a possibility Blake Griffin could be back Sunday for the game at Golden State, Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Saturday indicated that is doubtful.

Rivers said before practice that Griffin did not practice Friday and he did not expect him to practice Saturday. Asked if Griffin might return Sunday, Rivers said, “No, I don’t think so.”

Griffin has missed the past 11 games with a staph infection in his right elbow, which was surgically removed Feb. 9. The Clippers (40-22) are 7-4 without Griffin with five of the victories coming against playoff-bound teams.

 

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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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