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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Chris Paul leads All-Stars in assists

Chris Paul, left, of the Los Angeles Clippers, talks to Russell Westbrook, of the Oklahoma City Thunder, during the first half of the NBA All-Star basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

While Russell Westbrook took home the MVP and nearly set a scoring record for the NBA All-Star Game with 41 points on 28 shots, the Clippers’ Chris Paul led the game with 15 assists. Paul is the all-time leader in assists per All-Star game (12.5). Magic Johnson has the top two single game assist totals, with 22 in 1984 and 19 in 1988.
In case you want to see what 163-158 looks like on paper, here’s the 2015 All-Star Game box score.

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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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Chris Paul gets a bit perturbed with reporter’s assessment after loss to Bulls

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Chris Paul

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

 

Chris Paul is typically very good with reporters, even after a loss. But he seemed to get just a big perturbed late Monday night after the Clippers stunk up Staples Center during a 105-89 loss to the visiting Chicago Bulls, who were minus Derrick Rose (hamstring) and Pau Gasol (calf).

The Bulls moved and passed the ball much better than the Clippers. Chicago had 28 assists with four players having at least five and Jimmy Butler leading the way with eight. The Clippers had only 20 assists with two players with five or more – Chris Paul had seven, roughly three under his average, which now stands at 9.8.

A reporter asked Paul about moving the ball better.

“Man, we’ve gotta change sides of the court, we’ve gotta cut harder,” Paul said. “You know, I honestly think we could watch film from last year and see how some of these other teams play around the league to move the ball.”

The reporter then said to Paul, “We saw that tonight. They moved the ball flawlessly, and you guys settled for jumpers.”

To which Paul responded, “Right, right, well, you come coach us.”

Paul, who was about done anyway, shook his head slightly and got up and left the room.

The Clippers (5-4) begin a seven-game road trip today (Wednesday) at 4 p.m. at Orlando on Prime Ticket). The Magic are 5-7.

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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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Chris Paul noticed all the cheering for the visiting Chicago Bulls

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Chris Paul

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

 

The Clippers played host to the Chicago Bulls on Monday night at Staples Center. It was not a good night for the Clippers, who turned a 14-point second-quarter lead into a 105-89 defeat.

Clippers fans were not happy. But the many Bulls fans in attendance were thrilled. At times, they were chanting, “Let’s go Bulls.” It added insult to injury, to be sure.

Clippers guard Chris Paul took notice. That much was evident when he was asked post-game if he believes the upcoming seven-game road trip that begins Wednesday in Orlando can be a good thing.

“I do, I do, even though tonight felt somewhat like a road game,” he said, somewhat sarcastically.

Paul was asked specifically what he thought about all the cheering for the visiting Bulls.

“I mean, it’s not the first time,” he said. “I’ve played in other places where it’s been like that.”

Paul, in his 10th year, is in his fourth season with Los Angeles.

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Chris Paul says coaches want him to be more aggressive on offense

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The Clippers’ Chris Paul #3 shoots during their game against the Suns at the Staples Center Saturday, November 15, 2014.  (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Chris Paul goes up for a shot against Phoenix on Saturday/Staff photo by Hans Gutknecht

 

Chris Paul is a point guard, so he has not really taken an enormous amount of shots during his NBA career. He has averaged 13.7 over nine-plus seasons. He took 13 shots in Saturday’s 120-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns. He made 10 of them, going 5-for-6 from 3-point range for a game-high 32 points.

Paul said new Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell has been trying to get him to be more aggressive and take more shots.

“Sam is constantly on me,” Paul said late Saturday night. “He thinks I pass up a thousand shots. I do pass up a few shots here and there, and I am working on that. They (the coaches) constantly stay on me about being aggressive.”

Paul made three of his 3-pointers during a 42-third quarter that broke open a game that was tied at halftime.

 

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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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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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