J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
The Clippers haven’t played a game since Monday, so when they take the court Saturday night against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center,. they will have gone four days without playing.
That’s not to mention coach Doc Rivers gave the team two days off from practice Tuesday and Wednesday. To guard J.J. Redick, it’s all a bit strange.
“I’m ready to get back playing,” he told reporters ahead of practice Friday in Playa Vista. “It’s always weird to have this long of a break during the season. It’s good on the body for a couple of days, it’s good on the mind, too, to get away and have a couple of days off.”
But, Redick said, “When you’re in season mode and you’re mind is wanting to play, your body wants to play, it’s a little weird.”
Redick and the rest of the Clippers will have plenty to do Saturday. The Suns are 5-3 and are tied for the fourth-highest points-per-game average in the NBA at 104.8.
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.”
Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
The Clippers are 1-1 since coach Doc Rivers inserted two-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford into the starting lineup, replacing Matt Barnes.
Rivers told reporters ahead of Monday night’s 89-85 loss to San Antonio that he made the move for the team, and intimated it was to inject more offense into it.
Crawford scored 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting in Saturday’s 106-102 victory over Portland. But he scored just 10 points on 3 of 13 from the field – he was 1 of 7 from 3-point range – against San Antonio.
Following the loss to the Spurs, Crawford suggested he is determined to make this work because that’s what Rivers wants.
“I am fine,” said Crawford, who admitted being in the startling lineup “is an adjustment. But I will get used to it. As long as (Rivers) wants me there, I will get used to it.”
Rivers said this will be a game-by-game deal, which means we could see Barnes starting again at any time.
Barnes, incidentally, told yours truly before Monday’s game that he had no issue with being taken out of the starting lineup. First of all, he said during training camp he’d rather come off the bench, and he also conceded that he had been struggling on offense. He was averaging 6.0 points ahead of Monday, and he scored eight points against the Spurs.
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.
Spencer Hawes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Spencer Hawes wasn’t around in 2013-14, signing with the Clippers during the off-season. But the 7-foot-1 post’s assessment of this team seems to be right on the money.
“I think it’s obvious, there’s a lot of stuff we’re not doing right, a lot of things we need to address,” said Hawes, whose team is coming off a 121-104 defeat at the hands of Golden State on Wednesday night in Oakland; the Clippers trailed by as many as 29 points. “Until we can get together and start to do that, the results are going to be like they have been; there is not going to be that consistency. We’ve gotta play better individually, we’ve gotta play better as a unit; we have to play more together.
“And not just offensively. I think that’s kind of the thing that stands out. But I think defensively, the times we’ve done it, it’s just made everything so much easier.”
The Clippers are allowing opponents 104.2 points per game. Only the Lakers (116.8), Boston (109.3), Dallas (105.6), Denver (105.5) and Utah (104.2) are giving up more.
Hawes is not worried, yet.
“We’re not going to panic, but we’d rather be going through this now than in April,” he said. “There are a lot of things we have to address, and we don’t have a lot of time to waste.”