DeMarcus Cousins of Sacramento has been named Western Conference Player of the Week/Photo courtesy of Sacramento Kings, NBA.com
Clippers coach Doc Rivers has said it over and over again – the Western Conference is filled with an incredible amount of talent.
The Sacramento Kings are a good example. They have not made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season, yet they are now a force with which to be reckoned. And their best player, DeMarcus Cousins, on Monday was named Western Conference Player of the Week.
Cousins, a 6-foot-11, 270-pound post, averaged 25.7 points and 16.3 rebounds in leading the Kings to a 2-1 record in games played between Nov. 17 and Nov. 23. Cousins shot 57.7 percent from the field in the three games and also had five blocks. On Saturday, he had his sixth consecutive double-double with 31 points and 18 rebounds in a 113-101 victory over Minnesota.
Sacramento, which went just 28-54 each of the past two seasons, is currently 8-5 and sits in eighth place in the conference standings. The Clippers, at 7-5, are a half-game behind and tied for ninth with New Orleans.
Zach Randolph of Memphis goes up for a shot during the Grizzlies’ 107-91 victory Sunday over the Clippers/Photo by Associated Press
Do the math. Memphis got 30 points and 12 rebounds from post Marc Gasol and 10 points and eight rebounds from power forward Zach Randolph in the Grizzlies’ 107-91 victory over the Clippers on Sunday in Memphis. That’s a combined 40 points and 20 rebounds; Gasol shot 13 of 18, Randolph 5 of 11.
The Clippers got 12 points and just four rebounds from power forward Blake Griffin; he shot just 5 of 17. They got a meager two points and three rebounds from post DeAndre Jordan, who took just two shots and made one. That’s a combined 14 points and seven rebounds.
Suffice to say, the Clippers were thrashed in the battle of the bigs. But coach Doc Rivers wouldn’t put it all on Griffin and Jordan.
“I don’t think it was their entire fault,” Rivers said afterward. “We had great looks that we didn’t make. I thought our guards had trouble in the paint. I thought our bigs had to help a lot tonight. When they have to help that much, it is not good. I felt bad. It looked like the bigs had a breakdown, but it was really a team breakdown. I thought we got great looks and missed them. We never bounced back.
“Blake Griffin is fine. He has played great the last few games. I think Marc Gasol played great and our team was off. Maybe they took us out of it.”
The Grizzlies at 12-2 have the NBA’s best record.
“I told the guys at the beginning of the year, when you look at the Grizzlies’ record when they are healthy, they are a great team,” Rivers said.
Memphis is 8-0 at home, which is FedExForum.
Marc Gasol of the Grizzlies was the biggest reason why the Clippers lost to Memphis on Sunday/Photo courtesy of Memphis Grizzlies, NBA.com
To say Chris Paul was impressed with Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday would be putting it mildly. Gasol, a 7-foot-1, 265-pound post, scored 30 points on 13 of 18 shooting. He also grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked two shots in Memphis’ 107-91 victory over the Clippers.
“I know he (Gasol) is a great, great man along with Zac Randolph, and clearly they know how to play the game,” Paul said. “You can’t let talented players like that get going. And if you do, it’s going to be a long night.”
Randolph, the Grizzlies’ 6-9, 260-pound power forward, had 10 points and eight rebounds in the game.
On the season, Gasol is averaging 19.9 points and 8.1 rebounds. Randolph is averaging 16.1 points and 11.8 rebounds. Memphis at 12-2 has the NBA’s best record.
The Clippers, now 7-5, play today (Monday) at 4 at Charlotte (4-10) (on Prime Ticket).
Blake Griffin had just four rebounds in Sunday’s loss at Memphis/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
- Blake Griffin pulled down just four rebounds in 33 minutes. For a 6-foot-10, 250-pound power forward with a career rebounding average 10.0, that is not good. Griffin is averaging just 6.8 rebounds through 12 games this season. That is easily the lowest output of his career. He averaged 9.5 a season ago, 8.3 in 2012-13, 10.9 in 2011-12 and 12.1 in his rookie season in 2010-11.
- The Clippers were out-rebounded by a whopping 52-32. Aside from Griffin’s poor output on the boards, post DeAndre Jordan pulled down just three measly rebounds in 20 minutes, and he went into the game leading the league at 12.2 per game; he’s now fifth at 11.4. Jordan had four fouls. Still, the Clippers (7-5) will have a hard time beating good teams when they are out-rebounded by 20. Spencer Hawes had 10 rebounds off the bench. Other than that, Chris Paul – a 6-foot guard – was next with five.
- The loss notwithstanding, the aforementioned Paul did his part. Besides the five rebounds, Paul scored a team-high 22 points on 7 of 13 shooting. He made all seven of his free throws, doled out five assists and made four steals with just two turnovers in 34 minutes.
- The Clippers had won the first two games of the road trip – over Orlando and Miami – and looked good doing it. But after getting 31 assists in a 110-93 victory at Miami on Thursday, the Clippers managed only 14 against the high-flying Grizzlies (12-2). Paul’s team-leading five were well under his 9.5 average.
- The Clippers were out-played in many areas. But the biggest item of note is that they were simply dominated by Memphis big-man Marc Gasol, who owned the Clippers by scoring 30 points on 13 of 18 shooting. He also pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked two shots. For the Clippers, Jordan had two points and those three rebounds. And no blocks.
Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Even though the Clippers had won the first two games of this road trip, those victories came against a mediocre Orlando team and a Miami team that not only no longer has LeBron James, but was missing guard Dwyane Wade to injury.
Since Memphis has been so good at the outset of this season, you had to know the Clippers would be in much deeper waters when they took on the Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon at FedExForum in Memphis. Surely, they were as Memphis rolled to a 107-91 victory behind the fine effort of post Marc Gasol. He scored 30 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked two shots.
Memphis out-rebounded the Clippers 52-32.
Jamal Crawford scored 19 points for the Clippers (7-5). He explained.
“The first two games, we didn’t take the ball out of the net as much. I think our defense was a little bit better,” Crawford said. “But tonight we didn’t move the ball as well. We didn’t really push the pace, and we’ve got to do better.”
The Grizzlies shot 49.1 percent from the field. In victories over Orlando (114-90) on Wednesday and Miami (110-93) on Thursday, the Clippers held the Magic and Heat to respective shooting percentages of 39.5 and 44.8.
Of course, it’s always tougher to play solid defense against the team with the best record in the NBA, and Memphis is that at 12-2. The Grizzlies top the Western Conference standings with a one-game lead over Golden State (10-2). The Clippers are tied for ninth with New Orleans.
The Clippers shot just 35.1 percent (13 of 37) and 20 percent (2 of 10) from the field in the first half at Memphis and trail the Grizzlies 53-40 at intermission.
Chris Paul and Matt Barnes scored nine points apiece for the Clippers (7-4) , who were out-rebounded by a whopping 28-15 in the half.
Memphis (11-2) got 20 points and six rebounds from post Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies shot 50 percent (21 of 42) in the half.
Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Sixth-man Jamal Crawford had nine assists and just five points in 25 minutes off the bench Thursday in the Clippers’ 110-93 victory at Miami. Afterward, he said he didn’t remember the last time he had more assists than points.
“No, I don’t, actually,” he said. “I think they (teammates) made a point of emphasis when I was coming off the pick-and-roll to stay with me and have me pass the ball. That’s fine. I trust the guys I am out there with. If I attract two people, some guy is open and I try to pick that apart.”
Part of the reason why Crawford had more assists than points is because he shot just 1 of 6 from the field, 1 of 5 from 3-point range.
That said, Crawford is the team’s third-leading scorer at 17.1 points per game.
DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
DeAndre Jordan started out a bit slowly this season, but he once again leads the league in rebounding with a 12.2 average. He’s also averaging 2.45 blocks, fourth in the NBA.
Coach Doc Rivers can’t say enough about his 6-foot-11 post
“He’s just a great player to have on your team,” Rivers said following his team’s 110-93 victory at Miami on Thursday. “He’s won games without scoring. He’s the perfect guy to have on a winning basketball team. He doesn’t complain about the ball and all he wants to do is go get it, meaning blocked shots and rebounds. Every team would love a guy like that.”
Jordan led the NBA in rebounding a season ago with a 13.6 average. He also averaged 2.48 blocks, which was third in the league.
Jordan is averaging 8.7 points this season after averaging 10.4 in 2013-14.
The Clippers (7-4) are 2-0 on the current seven-game road trip. They next play Sunday at Memphis at 3 p.m. (on Prime Ticket).
Chris Paul, far left, scored 26 points and doled out 12 assists in Thursday’s 110-93 victory at Miami/Photo by Associated Press
Guard Chris Paul late Thursday night was asked if he was concerned about his team when it wasn’t clicking. The question came after the Clippers had defeated the Miami Heat 110-93 for their second consecutive victory to start a seven-game road trip.
Paul wouldn’t quite go there.
“No, I don’t think we were worried,” he said, “but at the same time we are not trying to write ourselves off as the champions. That’s two games. This league is all about consistency. We have to keep doing it.”
The Clippers (7-4) have five games left on the trip, beginning with a big game Sunday at Memphis (10-2), which leads the Western Conference.
Chris Paul scored 26 points and had 12 assists on Thursday in Miami/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
The Clippers on Thursday night put on their best performance of the season by defeating the host Miami Heat 110-93 at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Los Angeles shot 55.8 percent from the field, 41.9 percent (13 of 31) from 3-point range. Miami shot 44.8 percent, just 23.1 percent (6 of 26) from beyond the arc.
The Clippers (7-4), who led 39-15 after one quarter, also out-rebounded the Heat (6-6) by a 35-30 count. Los Angeles had 31 assists, Miami just 11.
The Heat were missing guard Dwyane Wade (hamstring), but it’s unlikely his presence would have made much difference, the way the Clippers played.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul scored 26 points apiece to lead the Clippers, J.J. Redick scored 14 points and DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Miami’s Chris Bosh led everyone with 28 points.
The Clippers are now 2-0 on this seven-game road trip. Up next are the Memphis Grizzlies (10-2) on Sunday at 3 p.m. (on Prime Ticket).