Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
We’re only three games into the exhibition season, yet the defensive woes of the Clippers are already a hot topic. In losing to Golden State, Portland and Utah, the Clippers allowed those teams to shoot 48.6 percent, 53.9 percent and 50.6 percent from the field.
Even worse, Portland shot 68 percent (17 of 25) from 3-point range and Utah shot 46.7 percent (14 of 30) from there.
Point guard Chris Paul was asked Wednesday at practice what his team needs to do to shore things up in this regard. He said part of the problem was that the second unit has so many new faces.
“I think we all know what to do,” said Paul, whose 0-3 team will take on Utah on Friday at Staples Center. “Just right now, part of it is being the preseason. Everybody’s a step slow, second-guessing and stuff like that. We’ll get it there. You know, our first unit, we’ve been together. Our second unit, guys haven’t really played together yet.”
The Clippers allowed an average of 101 points per game, 14th best in the NBA. Through three exhibition games, they are allowing an average of 111 points.
Matt Barnes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
Matt Barnes told reporters Wednesday at the team’s training facility in Playa Vista that he believes the Clippers are, perhaps, trying too hard to get off on the right foot after such an emotional 2013-14 campaign. That’s why they are 0-3 in exhibition play ahead of Friday’s game against Utah at Staples Center.
“I think everyone’s pressing a little bit,” Barnes said before practice. “I think on paper we have the team to beat, I personally think, and I think we feel that way. And after everything that happened last year, you know, we want to come out and have it so bad. And I think everyone’s just overthinking the game a little bit. And we’ve been talking to ourselves a little bit about this lately and everything seems to come down to playing basketball.”
His advice to himself and his teammates?
“Relax, relax,” Barnes said. “I mean, I found myself overthinking. I’m talking to Chris (Paul) and J.J. (Redick) and some of these guys, and we’re pressing a little too much. Like I said, we want this so bad and want this to be such a magical season that our foot’s all the way on the gas right now. We have to realize that, like Doc (Rivers) said, ‘You have to appreciate the process, enjoy the process and continue to get better.’ “
DeAndre Jordan had four blocks Monday/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
- After the game, coach Doc Rivers intimated his 0-3 team is not yet in the shape he’d like it to be in. “Conditioning. That’s about it right now,” he said, when asked what he took from the game. “We’re not playing great. We’re having spurts here and there, but it’s still games. I think (exhibition) games help get you ready for the real thing.”
- Perhaps that is why the Clippers are not doing well on defense. They have allowed 112, 119 and 102 points in their three exhibition losses. And they are awful at guarding the 3-point shot. In their past two losses, Portland shot 68 percent from there, Utah shot 46.7 percent.
- The good news is, power forward Blake Griffin tried everything he could to will his team to victory. He scored 31 points to lead all scorers, making 14 of 22 shots with two steals and five rebounds. That was coming off of a poor outing a night earlier in Portland, where Griffin scored just nine points on 4 of 16 shooting.
- After getting just one block on Sunday night in Portland, it was good to see DeAndre Jordan get back on track there with four against Utah; he had three in the exhibition opener Oct. 7 against Golden State.
- The bench made just 6 of 26 shots (23 percent) from the field, and that won’t cut it most nights. Struggling mightily were Reggie Bullock (0-for-4) and rookie C.J. Wilcox (0-for-3). Spencer Hawes was just 2 of 7, Jordan Farmar 2 of 6.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.”