J.J. Redick played only half a season, but his presence was felt in positive ways

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JJ Redick Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

J.J. Redick just completed his first season with the Clippers. Or should we say half-season as he played in only 35 regular-season games because of a bulging disc in his back.

However, if there was one thing Redick showed was the ability to move extremely well without the ball, then hitting big-time jump-shots with a quick catch and release once he received it. He is the perfect complement to a team with superstars like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and high-scoring sixth-man Jamal Crawford.
Redick, 29, shot a career-best 45.5 percent (181 of 398) from the field. Considering that nearly half of his shot attempts were from 3-point range, that is not too shabby at all; he shot a very solid 39.5 percent (73 of 185) from beyond the arc.

Once Redick came back April 3 after missing two months, the burning question to him was, “Will you end up having off-season surgery?” Redick didn’t know if that would
be the case. But it must be said that he was never pain-free once he came back, all the way through the Western Conference semifinals. He’s that courageous player all
coaches want, and Doc Rivers never made any bones about how much he liked Redick and his mettle.

If Redick is ready to go when spring training begins in about four months, there seemingly is no reason why he shouldn’t be right back in that starting lineup.

Redick is signed through the 2016-17 season. He is slated to make $6,792,500 in 2014-15.

 

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Chris Paul selected first-team All-NBA, Blake Griffin is on the second team

Point guard Chris Paul was selected first-team All-NBA and power forward Blake Griffin made the second team, the NBA announced Wednesday. It was the fourth first-team selection of Paul’s career.

Joining Paul on the first team are forward Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City, forward LeBron James of the Miami Heat, center Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls and guard James Harden of the Houston Rockets.

Durant was the only player to be selected to the first team on all 125 ballots; James was first-team on 124.

Joining Griffin on the second team are guards Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, forward Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves and center Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets.

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Hard-nosed Matt Barnes took positive steps in controlling his temper

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Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes left Clippers forward Blake Griffsecond from left tangle with OklahomCity Thunder forward Serge Ibaksecond

Photo by Associated Press

Matt Barnes just completed his 11th season in the NBA, and he put up some of his better numbers. He averaged 9.9 points – his career-best is 10.3 – while pulling down 4.6 rebounds and doling out 2.0 assists. He also shot 43.8 percent from the field, 34.3 percent (97 of 283) from 3-point range.
One of the things about Barnes, he is one tough hombre. He doesn’t shy away from contact, he is not afraid to take a crucial shot with the game in the balance. If he is
having a good game, the energy with which he plays seems to pump up his teammates.

Barnes also took some positive strides when it comes to technical fouls and such. In 2012-13, he had 10 technical fouls, four flagrant and two ejections during the regular season. In this just-concluded 2013-14 campaign under first-year coach Doc Rivers, Barnes had just four technical fouls, three flagrant, two ejections.

This was an issue that both Rivers and Barnes discussed with reporters many times during the season. Rivers said he tried to impress upon Barnes that playing hard and committing needless technical and flagrant fouls are not the same thing. One can play very hard without creating unnecessary hardship for his team, the thinking was.

Barnes also had some very bright moments on defense, making him an important part of the Clippers’ lineup.

That doesn’t mean Barnes should rest on his laurels. After all, there were some games where he contributed very little. Invisibility is the type of thing that every player wants to avoid.

Barnes should be in the fold again next season as he is signed for 2014-15 for $3,396,250, with a club option for 2015-16 for $3,542,500.

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Chris Paul makes All-Defensive first team for the fourth time

Point guard Chris Paul has been selected to the NBA’s All-Defensive first team for the fourth time during his nine-year career.

Paul, who led the league in steals with a 2.48 average, received 64 first-team votes. Joining him on the first team are Defensive Player of the Year center Joakim Noah (105 first-team votes) of the Chicago Bulls, forward Paul George (65 first-team votes) of the Indiana Pacers,  forward Serge Ibaka (54 first-team votes) of the Oklahoma City Thunder and guard/forward Andre Iguodala (57 first-team votes) of the Golden State Warriors.

Voting consisted of a panel of 123 sports writers and broadcasters.

The second team is made up of forward LeBron James of the Miami Heat, guard Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets, guard Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls, forward Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs and center Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers.

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Chris Paul has nothing but upside on his side, so next season should be interesting

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Photo by the Denver Post

Point guard Chris Paul has now been in the NBA for nine seasons. But he’s never made it past the second round of the playoffs, and that is something he said during this recently concluded post-season that he really wants.

With that in mind, let’s examine the 2013-14 campaign he put together. Paul averaged 19.1 points, a league-high 10.7 assists and a league-high 2.48 steals. Not a darn thing wrong with any of those numbers, even though none represents a personal best. With scoring machines like Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford around, it would have been difficult for Paul to surpass his highest scoring season of 22.8 set in 2008-09 with the New Orleans Hornets.

If anything, the one thing Paul showed that may have been somewhat surprising is that – gasp – he’s human. In 62 regular-season games – he missed 20 games because of injury – he had the league’s best assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.57.

During the first four games of the Western Conference semifinals against Oklahoma City, Paul had committed just six turnovers while doling out 46 assists. But in Game 5 at Oklahoma City, he had a very uncharacteristic five turnovers – two down the stretch that played a big role in his team losing the game after it led by 13 points with just over four minutes to play and by seven with 49.2 seconds left.

Paul and the Clippers were not able to rebound from that, and lost the series in Game 6 at Staples Center.

Since Paul doesn’t really have to improve upon any particular part of his game, all he really has to do moving forward to next season is forget about what he called the toughest moment of his basketball life in the Game 5 post-game news conference.

If Paul can do that – and the feeling here is he will – he will be able to use that experience as a springboard toward the success he and every other NBA player wants to reach – the NBA Finals.

Paul is under contract with the Clippers through the 2017-18 season, so he’s not going anywhere. He will make $20,068,563 in 2014-15.

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Jamal Crawford doesn’t want to speak on possible sale to Steve Ballmer until it is official

No sooner did the news hit Thursday that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would likely be the Clippers’ new owner pending NBA approval of his $2 billion bid to buy the team, did it become know that guard Jamal Crawford and Ballmer know each other.

We got a hold of Crawford through an exchange of direct messages on Twitter on Thursday night. He didn’t want to say much just yet, however.

“Hearing about the news, but don’t wanna speak on it until everything is official if that happens,” Crawford wrote.

Fair enough.

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L.A. Times reporting Steve Ballmer to purchase Clippers for $2 billion

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has won a bidding war to purchase the Clippers for $2 billion.

The Los Angeles News Group hasn’t confirmed the report and there are many steps before any sale is final. Following the Times’ report, Donald Sterling’s attorney Max Blecher, in an email, told our reporter Jack Wang : “He is resisting and will resist any sale of the team forced by the NBA.”

Any sale still must be approved by the NBA Board of Governors.

We will update as more information becomes available.

L.A. Times story

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E-Poll: Donald Sterling is the most hated man in America

Results of a poll released Thursday by E-Poll Market Research identified shamed and lame-duck Clippers owner Donald Sterling as the most hated man in America.
According to a story on ESPN.com, Sterling was disliked by 92 percent of people polled who were familiar with Sterling.
The rest of the top 10 poll in order included Bernie Madoff (90 percent), O.J. Simpson (88 percent), Conrad Murray (Michael Jackson’s doctor, 88 percent), Justin Bieber (86 percent), Phil Spector (83 percent), Aaron Hernandez (Patriots tight end accused of three murders, 81 percent), Michael Lohan (father of Lindsay Lohan, 76 percent), Eliot Spitzer (former New York governor who resigned after being named in prostitution scandal, 73 percent) and Jon Gosselin (reality TV personality, 71 percent).
Sterling has been banned by the NBA for life for his now-infamous racist comments, particularly toward African-Americans.

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DeAndre Jordan made solid strides, but still has lots of work to do

Photo by Associated Press

Center DeAndre Jordan made terrific strides this past season. He became one of the most feared defenders in the league, as well as its best rebounder. For his efforts,
Jordan finished third in voting for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, fifth for Most Improved.

But his season-long troubles from the free-throw line – which at times had opposing coaches ordering him fouled on purpose – as well as his random disappearing acts in
the playoffs demonstrated he still has lots of work to do.

Jordan shot just 42.8 percent from the free-throw line in 2013-14. Sure, that was up from 38.6 percent a season earlier in 2012-13. Then again, he shot a career-best 52.5 percent in 2011-12. Sometimes, he’s not even close to making his free throws. Air balls are not uncommon.

It’s not that he doesn’t take them seriously. Jordan is obviously a player who cares very much about everything he does on the basketball court. The pained expressions
he wears after a bad trip to the line bear that out. Go to a Clippers practice or shoot-around, and there is Jordan working with a coach on his free throws.

Perhaps he should think about using Rick Barry’s granny-style free-throw shot. And we’re not saying that to be sarcastic. Barry shot 89.3 percent from the line over a
14-year career; he shot over 90 percent seven times, including the last six seasons of his career. All due respect, Jordan probably couldn’t get much worse. So why not give it a shot?

As for Jordan’s 13-game playoff run that saw the Clippers lose 4-2 to Oklahoma City in the Western Conference semifinals, it’s interesting to note Jordan’s statistical lines in the four defeats to the Thunder. Keep in mind that during the regular season he averaged 10.4 points, 13.6 rebounds and 2.48 blocks. In a Game 2 loss to the Thunder he had seven points, eight rebounds and zero blocks. In a Game 3 loss he had 10 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. In a Game 5 loss he had zero points, just four rebounds and no blocks. In Game 6 he had nine points and 15 rebounds, but again no blocks.

Some of this was due to foul trouble, which just adds to the negativity. But these off games were not the result of poor free-throw shooting getting into his head. He shot a combined four free throws in those four losses, making two.

The thing about Jordan is he wants very much to become a star in this league (as evidenced by his emotion in the above Associated Press photo). If anyone can improve upon some of these things, it’s got to be him. He must start with his free throws because being the second-worst in the league in that department – Detroit’s Andre Drummond shot 41.8 percent – is just not acceptable. He must do whatever it takes to turn this around.

Here’s something else: Jordan next season will be in the final year of his four-year contract; he’ll get $11,440,124 in 2014-15. Currently just 25, Jordan will be 26 after the season. Not saying the Clippers won’t re-sign him if he doesn’t get better from the line, but Jordan might be hard-pressed to get what he believes he deserves if he shoots under 50 percent yet again, and/or doesn’t have a better overall post-season performance.
He was 33 of 76 from the line this post-season. That equates to 43.4 percent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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