The Clippers put together a nice-enough first half tonight (Wednesday) at Orlando and lead the Magic 56-48 at intermission.
Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford lead the Clippers (5-4) with 12 points apiece and Matt Barnes has 11 in his best half this season.
The Clippers shot 46.5 percent in the half, 60 percent (6 of 10) from 3-point range.
Nikola Vucevic, Orlando’s 7-foot post, leads his team with 15 points. He also grabbed a whopping 13 rebounds.
The Magic (5-7) shot just 40.9 percent in the half.
Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
The Clippers’ broadcast team today was talking about how the Clippers are taking more outside shots than they did this past season, and how Blake Griffin in particular is not shooting as much in the paint as he did in 2013-14. To anyone who’s been watching the team, that is not surprising as Griffin has made an effort to extend his game.
However, at the end of that part of the pre-game show on 980 AM radio, it was revealed that Griffin had thrown down only nine dunks in nine games ahead of Wednesday’s at Orlando. That is, obviously, one per game. In ’13-’14 Griffin threw down 176 dunks in 80 regular-season games. That is more than two per game. (The broadcast team said it was 192, but that included 16 dunks in the playoffs).
Not only is that one-dunk-per-game a stunning – in a negative way – statistic for a player like Griffin, who has been one of the most vicious dunk artists in recent seasons, it is the opinion here that his lack of dunks takes away from of the overall ferocity of the team. Heck, even former Lakers forward Pau Gasol – now with the Chicago Bulls – had 11 dunks before Wednesday, and he is not the most hard-nosed player in the world.
By the way, Tyson Chandler of Dallas led the league with 34 dunks before Wednesday. Anthony Davis of New Orleans was second with 33 and the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan was third with 29.
Anyway, the Clippers led the Magic 26-23 after one quarter of play.
Blake Griffin has the 13th-highest salary this season in the NBA; teammate Chris Paul is No. 8, according to HoopsHype.com/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
HoopsHype.com has posted the team payrolls for the NBA, and it’s interesting to see that the Clippers have the third-highest this season at $84,733,649.
Brooklyn is No. 1 at $93,741,207 and the New York Knicks are No. 2 at $89,672,190.
Individually, the top salary belongs to the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant at $23,500,000. Clippers guard Chris Paul is No. 8 at $20,068,563 and Clippers forward Blake Griffin is No. 13 at $17,632,688.
Incidentally, the Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire is No. 2 at $23,410,988. He’s averaging 11 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Where is Cleveland’s LeBron James? He’s at No. 6 with a salary of $20,644,400.
Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Chris Paul is typically very good with reporters, even after a loss. But he seemed to get just a big perturbed late Monday night after the Clippers stunk up Staples Center during a 105-89 loss to the visiting Chicago Bulls, who were minus Derrick Rose (hamstring) and Pau Gasol (calf).
The Bulls moved and passed the ball much better than the Clippers. Chicago had 28 assists with four players having at least five and Jimmy Butler leading the way with eight. The Clippers had only 20 assists with two players with five or more – Chris Paul had seven, roughly three under his average, which now stands at 9.8.
A reporter asked Paul about moving the ball better.
“Man, we’ve gotta change sides of the court, we’ve gotta cut harder,” Paul said. “You know, I honestly think we could watch film from last year and see how some of these other teams play around the league to move the ball.”
The reporter then said to Paul, “We saw that tonight. They moved the ball flawlessly, and you guys settled for jumpers.”
To which Paul responded, “Right, right, well, you come coach us.”
Paul, who was about done anyway, shook his head slightly and got up and left the room.
The Clippers (5-4) begin a seven-game road trip today (Wednesday) at 4 p.m. at Orlando on Prime Ticket). The Magic are 5-7.
DeAndre Jordan goes against Chicago’s Taj Gibson/Staff photo by Andy Holzman
- Did the Clippers drink some kind of potion before the season began? If not, why have they taken on such a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde persona? They were up 46-32 on the Bulls with just under four minutes to play in the second quarter. They were looking good enough. Then they were out-scored 73-43 the rest of the way. Unbelievable. Then again, the way they’ve played this season – they have been ultra-inconsistent – very believable.
- Blake Griffin at times is trying too hard to get a shot off in the paint. When it’s not there, he needs to pass it back out. He admitted afterward he is sometimes forcing things, so that’s a good sign.
- Chris Paul afterward said his team needs to take care of the ball better. As a team, the Clippers had 12 turnovers, which is not horrible. But Griffin had five of those, and that’s not good coming from your best player.
- OK, so we all know the Clippers are not a great free-throw shooting team. On the season, they are shooting 76.4 percent in that department, which is 15th in the NBA. But, seriously, 45.5 percent? That’s what they shot in this one, making just 10 of 22. That is just terrible. That shouldn’t happen even once during the season. Griffin was the worst offender, going just 5-for-10.
- On a positive note, DeAndre Jordan had his second monster rebounding game in succession. He had 18 in Saturday’s 120-107 victory over Phoenix. He came back with 17 on Monday. He’s also starting to block shots the way he did in 2013-14. He had seven blocks Saturday, three more Monday. Jordan is now leading the league in rebounding at 12.4 per game; he averaged 13.6 this past season. Jordan is also averaging 2.78 blocks, third in the league. He averaged 2.48 in ’13-’14.
J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Guard J.J. Redick late Monday night gave his opinion as to why his team lost a 14-point second quarter lead and eventually lost 105-89 to the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center.
“They did a great job of executing throughout the game,” he said of the Bulls. “Even when they got down in the first half, they just kind of stuck with what they do, running their stuff. They got to the second or third option. Much of our initial defense was pretty good. Any good defense can get broken down as (opponents) get to their secondary options and I think they did a good job of doing that.”
Redick hit the nail on the head in that first sentence. Chicago executed at least most of the game. The Clippers – AKA Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – executed only in spurts. This has been their problem through the first nine games of the season.
The Clippers, now 5-4, begin a seven-game road trip Wednesday at Orlando (5-7).
Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
The Clippers played host to the Chicago Bulls on Monday night at Staples Center. It was not a good night for the Clippers, who turned a 14-point second-quarter lead into a 105-89 defeat.
Clippers fans were not happy. But the many Bulls fans in attendance were thrilled. At times, they were chanting, “Let’s go Bulls.” It added insult to injury, to be sure.
Clippers guard Chris Paul took notice. That much was evident when he was asked post-game if he believes the upcoming seven-game road trip that begins Wednesday in Orlando can be a good thing.
“I do, I do, even though tonight felt somewhat like a road game,” he said, somewhat sarcastically.
Paul was asked specifically what he thought about all the cheering for the visiting Bulls.
“I mean, it’s not the first time,” he said. “I’ve played in other places where it’s been like that.”
Paul, in his 10th year, is in his fourth season with Los Angeles.
Paul Gasol/Photo courtesy of Chicago Bulls, NBA.com
Chicago Bulls post Pau Gasol had played the previous six-plus seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers before signing this season with the Chicago Bulls, who tonight (Monday) play the Clippers at Staples Center.
Clippers post DeAndre Jordan said he’s noticed Gasol has a renewed bounce in his step.
“Pau, his game speaks for itself,” Jordan said at the morning shootaround. “He’s a hell of a player on both ends of the floor and he’s going to be a problem for us tonight. He’s definitely got a new energy with him. I’m watching him play and he’s definitely moving a lot better, moving faster, just playing with a lot more confidence.”
Gasol comes in averaging 18.6 points and a team-high 10.6 rebounds.
Derrick Rose/Photo courtesy of Chicago Bulls, NBA.com
The Chicago Tribune has reported that point guard Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls won’t play tonight (Monday) against the Clippers at Staples Center because of a strained left hamstring. It will be Rose’s sixth missed game of 11 the Bulls (7-3) will have played this season.
But Clippers guard Jamal Crawford doesn’t believe that means the Clippers will automatically have an easier time with Chicago.
“He’s missed some time, obviously, the last couple of years,” Crawford said at the morning shootaround. “They’ve found a way to play without him and still do well without him. Obviously, they’re a better team with him, but they’ve gotten used to that, so you still can’t let your guard down.”
Rose did not play in 2012-13 and played in just 10 games in 2013-14 because of knee injuries.
DeAndre Jordan is fouled by the Suns’ Markieff Morris on Saturday night/Staff photo by Hans Gutknecht
Coach Doc Rivers late Saturday night gave DeAndre Jordan the ultimate compliment when he referred to him as the “star of the game.” Jordan had 12 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks in a 120-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. He helped the Clippers hold the Suns to a 38.4 shooting percentage for the game.
“He was everywhere,” Rivers said. “His energy tonight was amazing. He was a one-man wrecking crew. It felt like he had 30 blocked shots. Even the shots that he didn’t block, he changed.”
The Clippers (5-3) host the Chicago Bulls (7-3) on Monday at 7:30 p.m. (on Prime Ticket).