OKC’s Kevin Durant named regular-season Most Valuable Player; Blake Griffin third

Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday was named Most Valuable Player in the NBA, the league announced.

Durant received 119 first-place votes and tallied 1,232 points from a panel of 124 voters consisting of sportswriters and broadcasters. An NBA.com MVP fan vote also was rendered, making for 125 total ballots. LeBron James (891 points, 6 first-place votes) of the Miami Heat was second and Blake Griffin of the Clippers (434 points) third.

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Doc Rivers, Blake Griffin marvel at DeAndre Jordan after Game 5 victory

Like virtually the entire team, DeAndre Jordan was bummed out when he took the floor Sunday at Oracle Arena in Oakland for Game 4 of the Clippers’ Western Conference playoff series against Golden State. Only a day earlier the team found out its owner – Donald Sterling – had spewed racist comments about African-Americans during an argument with his girlfriend V. Stiviano.

The result was a 118-97 victory for the Warriors. In the game, Jordan had zero points, just six rebounds and two blocks.

Two days later, on Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Sterling punished Sterling by banning him for life from the Clippers and the rest of the NBA, with the vow he would try to push Sterling out altogether via a 75-percent vote of the other league owners.

Happy days were here again for the Clippers, and it showed Tuesday night when they defeated the Warriors 113-103 in Game 5 at Staples Center to take a 3-2 series lead into Game 6 on Thursday night at Oracle Arena. Jordan’s numbers? He had 25 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks.

His teammate, Blake Griffin, marveled.

“I mean, he was huge tonight,” Griffin said post-game. “He was unreal. I’ve never seen him play a game like that from start to finish. Obviously, on defense  he was great and when he plays like that, it takes our team to another level. He was dissapointed in Game 4, like we all were and it showed tonight. He bottled up some energy and bottled up some anger and left it all out there.”

Coach Doc Rivers was reminded of what Griffin said during a conference call Wednesday. Rivers took it a step further.

“DJ has to be there every night,” Rivers said. “He’s so important to us and that’s what I’ve been telling everyone all year. His importance to this team, the value of it, almost can’t be measured because he does so many things with his athleticism, his enreryg, his
defense. He bails us out so many times defensively, from a game-plan mistake or just a great play by the other team. The fact that he has the ability to erase our mistakes,
his ability to be just a one-man rebounding machine, gives us extra possessions. His value to our team is unlimited.”

Six of Jordan’s rebounds Tuesday were on the offensive end.

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Blake Griffin doesn’t know why DeAndre Jordan had such an off game Sunday

DeAndre Jordan had 14 points, 22 rebounds – which tied a franchise playoff record – and five blocked shots in Thursday’s 98-96 Game 3 victory over the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena.

He had zero points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in 25 minutes of a game in which he was in foul trouble in the first half of the Clippers’ 118-97 loss to the Warriors in Game 4 Sunday.

His teammate, Blake Griffin, was asked in the post-game news conference if he believes the surrounding events – owner Donald Sterling’s alleged racist remarks – affected Jordan.

“I really can’t speak on that,” Griffin said. “I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you. Everybody has games that aren’t as good as others. I think, honestly, I think we all really had one of those games tonight. So I can’t really … I couldn’t really tell you.”

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Mark Jackson applauds the play of Blake Griffin in 98-96 victory over Warriors

Blake Griffin scored a game-high 32 points in the Clippers’ 98-96 victory over the host Golden State Warriors on Thursday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Griffin made 15 of 25 from the field.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson was impressed.

“He’s playing at a high level right now,” Jackson said. “He’s making plays and making shots and we are forcing him to be a jump-shooter and he’s making jump shots. He’s having an outstanding series capping off an outstanding year. We gave him different looks and he’s making tough shots.”

Game 4 is Sunday afternoon at Oracle Arena.

Griffin, by the way, played 43 minutes and 44 seconds.

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Blake Griffin says team did not hang its head after Game 1 loss to Warriors

The Clippers somewhat surprisingly lost Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series to Golden State on Saturday at Staples Center. They bounced back in a big way Monday by destroying the Warriors to the tune of 138-98 in Game 2, also at Staples Center.

Blake Griffin, who Monday scored 35 points – a career playoff high – suggested Tuesday at practice that the team keeping its collective head up helped.

“After Game 1 you can’t just hang your head and say, ‘This is terrible, this is awful,’ ” Griffin said. “You have to accept that feeling and you have to accept what you did wrong.”

By the same token, the team can’t get too full of itself after one fantastic performance, Griffin intimated.

“You can’t expect every game to go like that,” Griffin said. “So I think it’s just about coming in today and going over what we made mistakes on and correcting them and moving on from there.”

Game 3 is Thursday at Golden State.

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J.J. Redick: We need Blake Griffin to stay on the court

Blake Griffin played only 19 minutes and 14 seconds in the Clippers’ 109-105 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Saturday’s opener of their first-round Western Conference playoff series at Staples Center.

Griffin scored 16 points and grabbed three rebounds – well below his season averages – and his defense in the paint was missed, to be sure. That has to change, guard J.J. Redick said.

“I mean, he’s one of the best players in the NBA, so that was huge for us to not have him over half the game, really,” said Redick, who had a fine game with 22 points on 8 of 11 shooting. “We need him to stay on the court, we need him to play 40 minutes and be involved. He’s made such progress on both sides of the basketball, he’s such an important piece of what we do.”

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Clippers’ Blake Griffin spills cup of water on Warriors fan before fouling out of Game 1 loss

It turns out the Clippers weren’t the only one to receive a cold dose of reality with a 109-105 Game 1 loss to the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.

Shortly before fouling out with 48.3 seconds left in the game, Clippers forward Blake Griffin tossed a cup of water in frustration that soaked a Warriors fan sitting behind him along the scorer’s table.

The Warriors fan appeared upset after being drenched, while Griffin appeared upset for drawing his sixth foul.

“I heard him say something. But I didn’t know exactly what I did,” Griffin said afterwards. “It wasn’t full though after I take my mouth piece out. After I took my mouth piece out and picked up the cup, if I did, I apologize. It’s water.”
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Blake Griffin does not have Jermaine O’Neal’s number, so not sure about hard feelings

Lots has been made about the dislike that exists between the Clippers and their first-round playoff opponent – the Golden State Warriors. Much of it stems from incidents involving Blake Griffin.

On Christmas Day, Griffin was given two technical fouls in a two-point loss at Golden State, his teammates claiming the Warriors were purposely trying to lure Griffin into the technicals. Then, March 13 at Staples Center, Jermaine O’Neal of Golden State and Griffin engaged each other in a verbal altercation during a timeout, and O’Neal – apparently the instigator – was assessed a technical. After the game, O’Neal sought out Griffin and found him outside the Clippers’ locker room. The two got into a heated discussion, by all accounts.

Griffin on Friday at practice was asked if there are any lingering issues with O’Neal.

“I don’t have Jermaine’s number, so I don’t really talk to him,” Griffin said, “so I don’t know if there’s any lingering issues or not.”

O’Neal – typically a backup – is expected to start Saturday when the teams square off at 12:30 p.m. at Staples Center in the series opener. He’s spelling Andrew Bogut, who is out with a fractured rib.

By the way, Griffin was asked about the “hate” that exists between the teams. He said he thought that was too strong a word. He suggested “dislike” is more appropriate.

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