Clippers still looking for first win after 102-89 defeat at Utah


Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin had 31 points Monday at Utah/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


The Clippers are now 0-3 in exhibition play after the Utah Jazz defeated them 102-89 on Monday night in Utah.

Down by 17 (56-39) at halftime, the Clippers outscored the Jazz 35-25 in the third quarter to pull within 81-74 entering the fourth. Utah outscored the Clippers 21-15 in the final quarter and is now 3-0.

Blake Griffin led everyone with 31 points. He was 14 of 22 from the field, and also pulled down five rebounds and made two steals. J.J. Redick scored 17 points. Chris Paul had 11 points and 11 assists, but his points came at the expense of a 4-for-13 shooting night.

Spencer Hawes scored six points on 2 of 7 shooting with three rebounds in 19 minutes, and Jordan Farmar had five points on 2 of 6 shooting in 16 minutes; Farmar also had three of the team’s eight turnovers.

C.J. Wilcox (0-for-3) and Reggie Bullock (0-for-4) went a combined 0-for-7 from the field; each played 16 minutes.

Chris Douglas-Roberts started as part of a three-guard Clippers starting lineup. He scored just four points on 1 of 5 shooting in 31 minutes.

The Jazz had six players score in double figures. Leading the way were Trey Burke and Derrick Favors, with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
The Clippers shot 42 percent from the field, Utah shot 50.6 percent.

Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford did not play.’

The Clippers next will play host to Utah on Friday at Staples Center.

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Probable starting lineups for Clippers at Utah Jazz


Reggie Bullock

Reggie Bullock/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Here are the probable starting lineups for tonight’s (Monday) game between the Clippers and Utah Jazz in Utah:

Clippers: SF Reggie Bullock, PF Blake Griffin, C DeAndre Jordan, SG J.J. Redick, PG Chris Paul

Jazz: SF Gordon Hayward, PF Derrick Favors, C Enes Kanter, SG Alex Burks, PG Trey Burke.

If this proves correct, it will be the second consecutive game in which Bullock has started instead of Matt Barnes.

The Clippers are 0-2 in exhibition play, the Jazz 2-0. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. (on Prime Ticket).

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 119-114 loss Sunday at Portland


Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


- First and foremost, the Clippers need to defend better – in particular, the 3-point shot. The Trail Blazers shot 53.9 percent overall from the field, an almost-unbelievable 68 percent (17 of 25) from 3-point range.

- Sixth man Jamal Crawford had his second solid performance in as many exhibition games. He scored a game-high 23 points while making 8 of 13 from the field, 6 of 8 from 3-point range. In the team’s first exhibition – a 112-94 loss to Golden State on Oct. 7 – Crawford had 14 points on 5 of 10 shooting, 2 of 6 from 3-point range. Crawford recently tweeted that even at 34, he believes he’s getting better. Perhaps, he’s right.

- The Clippers shot just 59.1 percent (13 of 22) from the free-throw line. Most of the damage to that percentage was done by none other than DeAndre Jordan, who made just 3 of 9. Jordan needs to find his way at the free-throw line. He has a career percentage of just 42.5; he shot 42.8 percent this past season.

- Newly acquired reserve post Spencer Hawes had his second strong game with 15 points, six rebounds and three assists. He shot just 5 of 13 from the field, but was 3 of 6 from 3-point range. He also had a really strong drive in traffic for a layup that may have opened some eyes.

- Matt Barnes had his second poor shooting night in succession. He was 1-for-7 from the field after shooting 1 of 4 against Golden State. He was 1 of 5 from 3-point range, meaning he is just 1 of 8 from there in two games. Barnes would rather come off the bench, and he did that Sunday after starting Oct. 7.

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Doc Rivers praises the play of former Clippers post Chris Kaman


Chris Kaman

Chris Kaman/Photo courtesy of Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers


Big man Chris Kaman played the first eight years of his career with the Clippers. But he’s moved around the past few years, going from the Clippers to the New Orleans Hornets to the Dallas Mavericks to the Lakers and now to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Kaman, who had a miserable time of it this past season with the Lakers, scored 12 points and pulled down nine rebounds with three assists in Portland’s 119-114 victory over the Clippers on Sunday night in Portland. Kaman played just 20 minutes off the bench, so those numbers were outstanding.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers afterward praised the 7-footer.

“He’s a veteran, he knows how to play,” Rivers said. “When he stays engaged like that, he’s really good. He was great tonight.”

Kaman is still just 32. He made 5 of 8 from the field Sunday, 2 of 2 from the free-throw line. He also had two blocks.

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Doc Rivers takes shot at defenses while praising offenses


Clippers sign Doc Rivers to contract extension

Doc Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer/Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News


Coach Doc Rivers did his best to put a positive spin on Sunday’s 119-114 loss at Portland in exhibition play. He ended up taking a shot at the defenses of both teams.

“Everybody played well,” he said. “The shooting from the 3, I think someone said it was a record if it were a regular-season game. I think combined team 3s would have been an NBA record tonight. The shooting today was phenomenal.

“Now, I would say both coaches probably aren’t happy with their defense. But, offensively, overall I thought we struggled more. I thought we missed a lot of open shots. But that happens.”

The Clippers shot 43.6 percent from the field overall, but a whopping 48.7 (19 of 39) from 3-point range. Portland shot 53.9 percent overall, but an unheard of 68 percent (17 of 25) from beyond the arc. The teams shot a combined 56.2 percent (36 of 64) from 3-point range.

The Clippers (0-2) play tonight (Monday) at 6 at Utah (on Prime Ticket).

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Clippers drop to 0-2 in exhibition play with 119-114 loss at Portland


Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


The Clippers are now 0-2 in exhibition play after losing 119-114 Sunday at Portland.

Los Angeles’ Jamal Crawford led everyone with 23  points. He made 8 of 13 from the field, 6 of 8 from 3-point range.

The Clippers shot a respectable 43.6 percent as a team, 48.7 percent (19 of 39) from beyond the 3-point line. But Blake Griffin had an off night. He shot just 4 of 16 (25 percent) and scored only nine points in 25 minutes. He also only grabbed two rebounds.

Chris Paul scored 15 points and doled out six assists, but he was just 1 of 6 from 3-point range. Spencer Hawes had a solid game off the bench, scoring 15 points with six rebounds and three assists. J.J. Redick scored 14 points and DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and eight rebounds, but continued to struggle at the free-throw line, where he made just 3 of 9.

Reggie Bullock started at small forward instead of Matt Barnes, who told reporters not long ago he would rather come off the bench. Bullock played 19 minutes and scored six points on 2 of 4 shooting. Barnes was just 1 of 7 from the field and scored just three points in 26 minutes off the bench.

Newly acquired Jordan Farmar had 13 points for the Clippers, on 5 of 10 shooting.

Wesley Matthews led Portand (1-2) with 22 points C.J. McCollum had 19 points and LaMarcus Aldridge 16.

Portland shot 53.9 percent from the field, 68 percent (17 of 25) from beyond the arc. You can bet Clippers coach Doc Rivers isn’t happy about that.

The Trail Blazers out-rebounded the Clippers 49-35.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer was in the crowd.

The Clippers play Monday night at 6 at Utah (on Prime Ticket).

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Chris Paul hopeful team plays better defense Sunday at Portland


Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Chris Paul wasn’t happy with the defense played by his team during its 112-94 loss to visiting Golden State on Tuesday in an exhibition opener.

It wasn’t surprising, then, to hear Paul’s response Saturday morning when he was asked what he’d like to see from his team when it plays Sunday at Portland (6 p.m., Prime Ticket).

“I’m hoping that we play defense a lot better,” Paul said. “You know, we’re trying to be a very unique team that defends very well and plays at a very nice pace, up-tempo. That’s not something that usually goes together like that, so we’re trying to put all the pieces together, and trying to keep that continuity going with both units.”

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Blake Griffin likes that owner Steve Ballmer will be into the games


Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


New Clippers owner Steve Ballmer figures to be at a lot of games this season. With his rather wild and crazy enthusiasm, it makes sense that the television cameras will pan to him as much as possible during breaks in the action or directly after a big play.

As much as Blake Griffin has already said he loves Ballmer’s enthusiasm, he said he doesn’t expect to look in Ballmer’s direction that much. But  he’ll still appreciate him.

“Honestly, I probably won’t pay a whole lot of attention to it,” Griffin said Friday ahead of practice. “But it’s great if you do look over and see your owner there really into it, really supporting you. As opposed to maybe not being there, or looking like he didn’t care.”

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Watching L.A. Kings raise banner thought-provoking for Spencer Hawes


Spencer Hawes

Spencer Hawes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Spencer Hawes was one of the Clippers players who went to Staples Center for the Los Angeles Kings’ season-opener on Wednesday, before which they unveiled their championship banner for winning the Stanley Cup title this past season.

“It was awesome,” said Hawes, a 7-foot-1 post signed to a free-agent contract in the off-season. “I hadn’t been to a hockey game in a long time. Especially with the banner going up, it was fun to see.”

Hawes was asked before practice Friday at the team’s training center in Playa Vista if that evoked thoughts of how it might be if and when the Clippers win the NBA title.

“I mean, I think that, ultimately, that’s our goal here,” he said. “I kind of had a similar experience watching the (Seattle) Seahawks put their banner up about a month ago. That’s the ultimate goal as an athlete … and when you’re that close to it, you want it even more.”

Hawes, 26, is from Seattle.

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DeAndre Jordan needs to improve his free-throw shooting


DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Coach Doc Rivers will likely go out of his way again this season to downplay the significance of DeAndre Jordan’s poor free-throw shooting. We can’t blame Rivers for that. If he openly criticizes his big man, that could create an adverse reaction.

Jordan, of course, is a terrific defensive player and can make a big difference in a given game in that regard. But when Jordan is having a very poor night at the free-throw line, it does seem to bother him, and that’s not good.

Interestingly, he shot a career-best 52.5 percent in the 2011-12 season. That followed efforts of 38.5, 37.5 and 45.2 percent in his first three seasons, respectively. Once he made that leap to 52.5, one would have thought he would be on the upswing from there.

Didn’t happen. He shot 38.6 percent in 2012-13 and 42.8 percent this past season. Opposing teams, at times, fouled him on purpose.

Jordan said during the recent media day that free throws were one of the elements of his game he worked on during the off-season. Now, it’s no big deal that he missed both of his free-throw attempts Tuesday in the team’s exhibition defeat to Golden State because they were just that – two measly attempts.

But this is not a situation to downplay. Jordan’s team needs him to improve. Keep in mind that the Clippers now have Spencer Hawes as the backup to Jordan. Hawes, who is 7-foot-1, is a career 70.3 percent free-throw shooter over seven seasons. He shot 78.3 percent in 2013-14. The point being, don’t be surprised if Hawes is in there during crunch-time of games in which Jordan is having a difficult time at the line.

The Clippers’ next exhibition game is Sunday at Portland at 6 p.m. (on Prime Ticket).

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