Blake Griffin, Chris Paul lead Clippers to 108-105 victory over Phoenix

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Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Blake Griffin scored 35 points and Chris Paul had 34 to lead the Clippers to a 108-105 victory over Phoenix on Wednesday night before 13,477 at Staples Center. Paul also had nine assists.

The Clippers are now 2-5 in exhibition play, Phoenix is 4-2.

The Clippers were outrebounded 43-35, but DeAndre Jordan did not play for Los Angeles. Neither did sixth-man Jamal Crawford.

The Clippers shot 49.4 percent from the field, their highest in seven exhibition games. The Suns shot just 44.3 percent.

Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 27 points and Gerald Green had 23.

Leading 106-105, Paul made a layup with five seconds left for the game’s final points. Phoenix’s Green then missed a 3-point attempt.

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Warriors run away from Clippers in second half in Oakland

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Jared Cunningham

Jared Cunningham/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Down by just two points at halftime, the Clippers did not have a strong second half and the result was a 125-107 loss Tuesday night at Golden State. The Clippers are now 1-5 in exhibition play with just two games left before the regular season begins Oct. 30 against Oklahoma City.

Leading just 62-60 at the break, the Warriors outscored the Clippers 35-25 in the third quarter to lead by 12 (97-85) heading into the fourth quarter.

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were given the night off.

Guard Jared Cunningham led the Clippers with 23 points, but he was just 6 of 15 from the field as the Clippers shot just 38.6 percent from the field. J.J. Redick scored 21, also shooting 6 of 15. Spencer Hawes, starting in place of Griffin, scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds. And DeAndre Jordan had 13 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block; he did most of that damage in the first half.

Matt Barnes’ shooting woes continued. Heading in he had made just 2 of 24 from the field. He went 1 of 7 Tuesday and is now 3 of 31.

Jamal Crawford scored 10 off the bench, but shot just 2 of 8.

Also, Golden State (5-2) not only shot a robust 59 percent – 59.1 percent from 3-pont range (13 of 22) – they outrebounded the Clippers 46-31. The Warriors’ Stephen Curry led everyone with 27 points. Six other Warriors scored in double figures.

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Joe Ingles difficult for Doc Rivers to understand, vice versa?

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Joe Ingles/Photo courtesy of YouTube.com

 

Forward Joe Ingles, who is trying to make this Clippers team, is from Australia and he speaks with a heavy accent. Coach Doc Rivers on Thursday was asked if he sometimes has difficulty making out what Ingles says.

Rivers had some fun with his reply.

“There are times because, it’s English, I think, right?” he said, drawing laughs from reporters at the team’s training headquarters in Playa Vista. “But it’s English spoken from Australia. So, yeah, there is clearly things … and I guarantee you, there are things I say that he doesn’t understand. It’s a two-way street. And I would think that would be to his advantage. If he doesn’t understand everything I say, it would probably make him a better person, for sure.”

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Darren Collison was a vital part of the Clippers this past season

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Darren Collison

Photo by Associated Press

Reserve guard Darren Collison proved to be a vital part of the Clippers this past season. He not only played with passion, he came through with some big performances when his team really needed them.
For example, he scored 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against Oklahoma City that helped his team to a 101-99 come-from-behind victory that knotted the series at two games apiece. Collison, who is 6-foot, also had seven rebounds in that one.

Indeed, Collison – out of UCLA – is a good player to have on your team. He averaged 11.4 points and 3.7 assists on the season, 8.5 and 2.4 during 13 playoff games. He did have some poor games during the post-season, but at 26 years old there is plenty of time for him to improve in that regard.

One of the regular-season statistics that stands out was his 37.6-percent shooting percentage from 3-point range. It was the second-highest of his five-year career – he shot 40 percent in his rookie season – but it should be noted that he took 189 3-point shots this past season compared to just 115 in that 2009-10 rookie campaign. That shows a player who is getting much more comfortable with his long-range shot.

It will be interesting to see what happens with his contract moving forward. He has a player option for next season at $1,985,500.

Collison, by the way, also showed versatility in that of the 80 regular-season games in which he played he started 35 because of injuries to other players.

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Shelly Sterling will prevail in Clippers sale, friend predicts

AR-140519500Clippers owner Shelly Sterling and Steve Ballmer had an instant connection, says Sterling’s close friend, Kathrine Baumann.

Baumann had lunch Sunday at a Malibu deli with Sterling, where the pair talked about the pending $2 billion Clippers sale to the former Microsoft executive.

“Shelly just lit up when she talked about him,” Baumann recalled. “She said, “I absolutely adore him.’”

Asked if she thinks that Donald Sterling’s lawsuit will jeopardize the sale, Baumann said: “My money is always on Shelly.”

Ballmer offered the winning bid last Thursday for the Clippers, ending a fast-tracked process to sell the franchise owned by Sterling and her husband Donald since 1981. The NBA gave tentative approval to the deal, while Shelly Sterling agreed not to sue the NBA. She also indemnified the league against lawsuits from others, including Donald Sterling.

However, on Friday, Donald Sterling sued the NBA, seeking to block a forced sale of the team, and throwing into question the Ballmer deal.

Donald Sterling also successfully fought off a stiff fine from the NBA back in the mid 1980s, when the league slapped him with a $25 million penalty for moving the team from San Diego to Los Angeles. The Sterlings paid $6 million in the end.

If Donald Sterling continues his legal battle against the NBA, it’s likely to be a fight of “Sterling versus Sterling,” said a source familiar with the negotiations.

Ballmer has said little since the pending sale was announced. Through a representative, he declined a request for an interview on Monday.

The source said Ballmer offered a “wow factor” when negotiating with Shelly Sterling, ultimately beating out at least two other bidders.

“He put himself in a strong commanding position,” the source said. “He had a plan (for the team).”

The proposed sale comes after the NBA fined Donald Sterling $2.5 million, banned him for life from the league, and initiated a forced sale after a recording surfaced of the 80-year-old making remarks about African-Americans.

Shelly Sterling’s grandchildren were heckled at school after the Donald Sterling audiotape surfaced, Baumann said.

Believing Shelly Sterling will prevail in the sale, Baumann praised her friend’s handling of the deal. Shelly Sterling pushed for a quick resolution because “she didn’t want to tear the city apart, tear the fan base apart, and tear the Clippers apart,” Baumann said.

“She put this together and delivered it in a neat package to the NBA,” Baumann said.

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NBA’s hearing on June 3 on Donald Sterling remains intact

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at a Microsoft event in San Francisco, Monday, July 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at a Microsoft event in San Francisco, Monday, July 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer agreed to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. The sale may have brought some relative clarity as the Clippers went through uncertainty in the past month amid embattled owner Donald Sterling making racially insensitive comments on an audio tape that earned him a life-time ban and a $2.5 million fine. Ballmer’s record-setting purchase may have skyrocketed the value of NBA franchises elsewhere.

But much work still needs to be done. The first step: the NBA revealed in a statement that it still must approve the sale. The league will also still have a meeting on June 3 in New York in which the Board of Governor’s will have to have a 3/4 vote to strip Sterling of his ownership.”

“Commissioner Silver has consistently said the preferred outcome to the Clippers proceeding would be a voluntary sale of the team,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement. “Shelly Sterling advised the NBA last night that an agreement had been reached with Steve Ballmer, and the NBA Advisory/Finance Committee met via conference call this morning to discuss these developments. We await the submission of necessary documentation from Mrs. Sterling. In the meantime, the June 3 special meeting of the NBA Board of Governors remains as scheduled.”

The league vetted Ballmer last year during his unsuccessful attempt to buy the Sacramento Kings. But NBA officials have not returned repeated phone calls and e-mails for comment, including how much of a process this will take place.

Still, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said prior to the draft lottery last week that he would welcome Sterling selling the team before such a hearing in hopes that it would avoid both a lengthy and costly litigation case. Still, numerous league sources have said that process could happen only certain circumstances.

One, the Sterlings would have to sell entire team and have no interest stakes whatsoever. While Shelly Sterling has voiced approval about the NBA forcing a sale, she has maintained she is still entitled to her 50 percent ownership stake. The NBA will not approve such a scenario.

Two, the Sterlings would have to mutually agree on the sale. Though numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, have indicated the agreement was co-signed both by Ballmer and Shelly Sterling, Donald Sterling’s lawyer, Maxwell Blecher, had indicated he will fight the sale. What complicates this issue is that Donald Sterling originally provided written consent on transferring ownership to Shelly with intentions to sell the team. ESPN has also reported experts have declared Donald Sterling mentally incapacitated, leaving Shelly Sterling as the sole trustee with the power to sell the team. The NBA will still want clarity on if Donald feels the same way.

There are likely more variables to weigh considering Ballmer’s involvement and evolving developments surrounding the Sterlings.


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Follow L.A. Daily News’ Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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