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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Report: Blake Griffin charged with misdemeanor battery in Las Vegas

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Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Blake Griffin has been charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly slapping and grabbing the neck of a man at Tao Nightclub inside the Venetian in Las Vegas on Oct. 19, hours after the Clippers had played the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 18 in an exhibition game at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, TMZ has reported.
The alleged victim – identified by TMZ as Daniel Schuman – was allegedly taking flash pictures from his cell phone near Griffin, who allegedly grabbed the phone from Schuman.
If this goes to trial and Griffin is convicted, he would face up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine. However, it is highly doubtful Griffin would do any jail time.
Jesse Roybal, public information officer with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, confirmed to this newspaper last month that the alleged incident did involve a flash from a camera.
Seth Burton, in charge of public relations for the Clippers, said Wednesday the team will not comment at this time because it is an open case. Coach Doc Rivers didn’t say all that much when the alleged incident first took place.

“I trust Blake 100 percent,” he said in October. “He’s a great kid. We’ll figure it out and get through it.”

Complaint against Blake Griffin

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Blake Griffin’s assessment of Clippers seems right on the money

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Blake Griffin battles in the paint during 89-85 loss to San Antonio on Monday/Staff photo by Andy Holzman

 

One could say that Blake Griffin summed up his team’s 89-85 loss to San Antonio on Monday in one short thought.

“At times we do a good job of executing defensively and offensively,” he said. “At times, we do a poor job at both ends. The biggest thing is when we are not executing offensively, our shots are not falling, we have to really come out on defense.”

All true. That was evident when the Clippers were outscored 14-3 over the final 5:18 Monday after leading the Spurs by seven points. The Clippers shots weren’t falling, but their defense was not good enough to stop the Spurs from scoring.

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Blake Griffin praises the play of San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard

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Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard/Photo courtesy of San Antonio Spurs, NBA.com

 

Kawhi Leonard contracted pink eye during the preseason. The San Antonio Spurs’ small forward then missed the team’s first game of the regular season, and he entered Monday night’s game against the Clippers at Staples Center struggling with a 9.0 scoring average. He told several publications he was suffering from blurred vision.

Well, he appears back to normal. Leonard scored a game-high 26 points on 10 of 18 shooting in the Spurs. 89-85 victory over the Clippers. He also had 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals, including a key steal late from Chris Paul.

His performance brought this reaction from Clippers forward Blake Griffin.

“He’s tough,” Griffin said. “He hits shots, he plays, he steals and he gave a little bit of everything. He is tough to play against. He’s a good player.”

Leonard, out of King High School in Riverside and San Diego State, talked about his recovery.

“I missed about three weeks,” he said. “No contact. I didn’t see anybody on my team at all. I was just really isolated out. So I knew it was going to take time, but I’m still trying to push through it and get healthy with my right eye.”

Leonard, just 23, is in his fourth season. He averaged a career-best 12.8 points in 2013-14.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 89-85 loss to San Antonio Spurs

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Chris Paul

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

 

- The Spurs are the defending NBA champions, but the Clippers were leading the entire game until a 12-0 run that began with 5:18 left in the game and culminated with 32.8 seconds remaining sealed their fate. San Antonio took its first lead at 83-82 with 1:44 left in the game, and by then it was obvious the Clippers were deflated. This is not the makings of a Clippers team picked by many experts to get to at least the Western Conference Finals.

- The 15 turnovers the Clippers had were their most so far this season. Previously they had committed 11, 14, 8, 10, 14, 7 turnovers, respectively. It didn’t help that their two best players – Chris Paul and Blake Griffin – combined for seven of those turnovers. Paul had four, Griffin three. Each had a pivotal turnover in the waning moments, though the one Griffin had was perpetuated by a pass into the paint from Jamal Crawford that seemed to surprise Griffin.

- Perhaps lost in the defeat was a fine defensive game from DeAndre Jordan. He blocked five shots and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Jordan had 14 rebounds in Saturday’s victory over Portland, and his season average is up to 11.0; he led the league at 13.6 a season ago.

- Even though Paul had the ball stolen from him by Kawhi Leonard with under a minute to play, Paul nearly had his second triple-double of the young campaign. He scored 13 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and doled out nine assists.

- One thing is certain, this game tells us that the Clippers have a lot of work to do. Sure, the Spurs are the defending champions, but they did not play well all night and then somehow emerged victorious over a Clippers team that couldn’t get out of its own way in the second half of the fourth quarter. The Clippers got a layup from Paul with 5:49 to play, then got only three more points on free throws from Jamal Crawford the rest of the way.

 

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