Play of the game from Monday – Blake Griffin’s 1-handed touch pass to DeAndre Jordan for the dunk. (Video by @cvbg22 on Vine).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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).”
“I trust Blake 100 percent,” he said in October. “He’s a great kid. We’ll figure it out and get through it.”
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.