Five things to take from Clippers’ 120-100 victory over New Orleans

Chris Paul

Chris Paul is shooting a career-high 53.4 percent from the field/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

- It was good to see sixth-man Jamal Crawford rebound from two off games offensively. He scored just four points in Monday’s 127-101 victory over Minnesota and just five in a 114-86 victory over Orlando on Wednesday. He was a combined 2-for-11 from the field in those two games, 0 of 8 from 3-point range. Crawford on Saturday scored 20 points on 6 of 11 from the field, 2 of 4 from beyond the arc. He also made all six of his free-throw attempts.

- The Clippers, in particular power forward Blake Griffin, did a good job of holding the Pelicans’ young superstar power forward Anthony Davis to 26 rather quiet points. Quiet because 10 of them came during a fourth quarter when the Clippers played mostly the second unit with the game pretty much in hand. Davis also had only three rebounds and one block. He entered averaging 11.5 rebounds and a league-leading 3.06 blocks.

- Chris Paul continued on his path to the best shooting season of his career. By making 7 of 13 from the field – 4 of 6 from 3-point range – he is now shooting a career-best 53.4 percent overall. He’s also shooting 44.8 (30 of 67) from 3-point range, easily his best. Paul is a career 47.4-percent shooter. His career percentage from beyond the arc is 36.1.

- The Clippers made 17 of 32 from 3-point range. That’s a percentage of 53.1. They now lead the NBA with a team 3-point shooting percentage of 39.1. Golden State is second at 38.4 with the Atlanta Hawks third at 37.8.

- DeAndre Jordan is continually improving his statistics after getting off to just a bit of a slow start in the rebounding and blocked shots departments. In going for 18 rebounds and five blocks in this victory, he is now averaging 12.2 rebounds (second in the league) and 2.53 blocks (third). He led the league in rebounding a season ago with a 13.6 average and was third in blocks with a 2.48 average.

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Doc Rivers doesn’t like coaching against his son Austin, but he will be Saturday

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers, son of Clippers coach Doc Rivers/Photo courtesy of New Orleans Pelicans, NBA.com

 

Coach Doc Rivers isn’t crazy about going against his son. But he’ll be doing just that when the Clippers on Saturday night at 7:30 play host to the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center (on Prime Ticket). Austin Rivers – a 6-foot-4 shooting guard – is in his third season with New Orleans.

“Well, it is what it is,” Rivers said at Friday morning’s practice. “It’s not anything I think anyone enjoys doing. He wants to win, I want to win and, you know, it’s tough. It’s tough for a parent. I never thought it would be. I thought it would be a lot of fun.”

Rivers found out during his final season coaching the Boston Celtics – his son’s rookie year with New Orleans – that was not the case.

“In Boston, when we did it the first time, I realized it’s really not a lot of fun,” Rivers said.

So, Rivers was asked, who does the Rivers family root for when father and son collide?

“Oh, for my son,” Rivers said, managing a laugh. “Yeah, that’s no doubt. The whole family, in that regard.”

Even the coach himself?

“No,” he said, with a sly smile.

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Clippers make dream come true for leukemia-stricken Robbie Stanford

Robbie Stanford, left, chats with Blake Griffin and then Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Robbie Stanford has been battling leukemia for 15 years. He is in the final stages of his fight with the cancer, and one of his final wishes was to be able to attend a Clippers game with his son. He will do that Saturday when the Clippers host the New Orleans Pelicans at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center.

Stanford did not know that he was also going to be offered the chance to have a practice experience with the Clippers. Stanford, 54, did that Friday at the Clippers’ practice facility in Playa Vista. He met and laughed with players, he spoke with coach Doc Rivers and he wore some practice gear while taking some  shots from the floor. Afterward, he was all smiles.

“Big fan of the Clippers and it was a dream of mine to take my son to one of the games, and I never knew I was going to get invited to come to the practice and actually meet the guys,” said Stanford, who was accompanied by his 14-year-old son Nile and 16-year-old daughter Sydney. “So this has been an amazing experience to be here and put on some gear and go out and shoot a few air balls.”

Stanford, originally from Chicago and a Bulls fan, said he has been a Clippers fan for about five or six years. He was asked which of the players he most enjoying talking to Friday.

“It was all really exciting, so it’s hard to choose,” he said. “But meeting Blake (Griffin), meeting Chris (Paul) … I mean, come on, they’re all amazing.”

Stanford laughed when talking about his time with J.J. Redick.

“Redick told me he was going to give me some pointers because he said my shooting percentage was pretty low,” Stanford said.

Stanford has been in this fight for a long time, and he said that has given him the time to deal with all the emotions of his plight. Along the way, he and wife Jade started a preschool in Culver City that is geared toward helping others in similar situations find affordable day care.

“About 10 years ago my wife and I looked for a preschool for our children and we were basically broke because we had some new medical bills,” he said. “So my wife started a preschool to help families with chronic or terminal illnesses.”

Stanford began to cry. He gathered himself and continued.

“And today, it’s one of the leading schools in the Culver City area,” he said. “And it’s just an amazing, amazing experience, what my wife created. And I can help her. And every day we can help families, is a gift.”

A story done by CBS in 2013 indicates that if a family can’t afford to pay for the cost of the preschool because of a chronic or terminal illness, the school – named Village Tree Preschool – pays it for the family.

Jamal Crawford, one of the players with whom Stanford spent a few minutes, said Stanford’s situation puts things in perspective.

“This is a game,” Crawford said. “Obviously, you care about wins and losses and everything, but there is so muuch more to life than basketball.”

For Stanford, at this point it’s all about family.

“Now I focus on my family and every day is a holiday, so we just love each other,” he said.

As Stanford spoke, his children were in the background, looking lovingly at their father.

 

 

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Orlando’s Kyle O’Quinn fined $15,000 for flagrant 2 foul on Blake Griffin

Kyle O'Quinn

Orlando’s Kyle O’Quinn/Photo courtesy of the Orlando Magic, NBA.com

 

Kyle O’Quinn of the Orlando Magic has been fined $15,000 by the NBA for his flagrant 2 foul on the Clippers’ Blake Griffin midway through the second quarter of Wednesday’s 114-86 Clippers victory over the Magic at Staples Center.

With the Clippers leading 38-35 at the time, Griffin drove the paint and as he was going up he was raked hard across the face by O’Quinn. Griffin went down.

In a statement, the NBA wrote that O’Quinn received the fine “for making excessive contact above the shoulders” with Griffin. The punishment was meted out by Rod Thorn, president of basketball operations for the NBA.

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Former Clippers guard Willie Green, now with Orlando, misses old teammates

Willie Green

Former Clippers guard Willie Green misses his former team/Photo courtesy of Orlando Magic, NBA.com

 

Journeyman guard Willie Green spent the two previous seasons with the Clippers before signing with the Orlando Magic during the off-season. Apparently, they were two fun seasons because Green – though happy in Orlando – is longing for those days.

After the Clippers routed Green and the Magic 114-86 on Wednesday at Staples Center, Green was asked to talk about returning to face his former team.

“It’s bittersweet,” Green said. “It’s bitter because you obviously would love to be with your teammates and with an organization that, for me, had some great years. But on the other hand, I’m in this (Magic) locker room with these guys and we are battling together. It’s a young group and we are building something here. I think it’s going to be special in a few years.”

Green, 33, is averaging 4.1 points and 16.1 minutes for Orlando.

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Flagrant 2 foul by Orlando’s Kyle O’Quinn on Blake Griffin is debated

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin (top) was sent to the deck via a hard flagrant 2 foul by Kyle O’Quinn (below) of the Orlando Magic on Wednesday/Photos courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando Magic and NBA.com

Kyle O'Quinn

 

Although it appeared that Kyle O’Quinn got what he deserved when he was called for a flagrant 2 foul on Blake Griffin in the second quarter of Wednesday night’s 114-86 Clippers victory over Orlando, Griffin was somewhat surprised by it.

“I didn’t really see much, I closed my eyes,” Griffin said, drawing laughter from reporters in the post-game news conference. “I got hit in the face. But, honestly, I didn’t think it was going to be a flagrant 2. I didn’t think there was anything vicious or anything like that.”

With the Clippers leading 38-35 at the time, Griffin drove the paint and as he was going up he was raked hard across the face by O’Quinn. Griffin went down. To Clippers coach Doc Rivers, the flagrant 2 was warranted.

“That’s a flagrant 2 in this generation,” Rivers said. “I don’t think he was trying to hurt Blake or
anything like that. It was a hard foul and the way the game’s called now, it has to be a flagrant 2.”

With Nikola Vucevic not playing because of back spasms, the flagrant 2 and mandatory ejection of O’Quinn put the Magic down two bigs. After it happened, the Clippers went on an 8-2 run and the rest was history.

“We know Kyle and we know that there was not anything malicious about that,” Orlando power forward Channing Frye said. “They (O’Quinn and Griffin) are 250-pound men. These are two gigantic oxen going up. But that’s the way it went, and I think emotionally we just felt kind of let down from that and they took advantage of us.”

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Doc Rivers got big kick out of Monday’s rare dunk by Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis

Glen Davis

Glen “Big Baby” Davis threw down a rare dunk in Monday’s win over Minnesota/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Glen “Big Baby” Davis can dunk, but the 6-foot-9, 290-pound backup power forward rarely does. Carrying that much weight, he has little in the way of liftoff.

But Davis did dunk early in the fourth quarter of Monday’s 127-101 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center. The rare dunk gave his team a 36-point lead and the starters roared their approval from the bench.

Coach Doc Rivers was asked about that moment ahead of Wednesday’s 114-86 victory over the Orlando Magic at Staples Center. His reaction to the dunk?

“Shocked,” Rivers said.

The reaction from the starters on the bench?

“That was the best excitement I’ve seen from our bench, probably this year,” Rivers said, “so I love when stuff like that happens.”

 

 

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Chris Paul among those convinced that 6-1 road trip paid big dividends

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Count point guard Chris Paul among the Clippers players who believe that the recently concluded road trip, during which the Clippers went 6-1, was a good thing for a team that was struggling at 5-4 ahead of it.

“I think somebody said before we went on the road, that the teams either find themselves or lose themselves and we had no choice but to start playing better on the road,” said Paul, whose team followed the trip with a rout of Minnesota on Monday night at Staples Center. “Obviously, we spend a lot of time together with each other and when we go on the road, you really have to be together.”

The Clippers, now 12-5, on Wednesday will play host to the Orlando Magic at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center (on Prime Ticket).

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Blake Griffin says foes need to know they are in for ‘fight’ at Staples Center

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin scored 23 points in Monday’s victory over Minnesota/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers had just defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-101 on Monday night at Staples Center, when Blake Griffin was asked how vital it was to win the first game back after a seven-game road trip.

Griffin went on to talk about the importance of winning at home, period.

“Well it’s important,” said Griffin, whose team went 6-1 on the road trip. “We have already dropped three games at home, so we obviously need to get off to a better start than that. Throughout this whole beginning stretch of the season, I think the biggest thing for us to do is just relax and stay calm; we are going to be OK, and we are going to win games.

“I’d much rather be playing at our best come March and April stretch than right now. As far as the home-court thing, it has to be a tough place to play and teams have to know when they come in here they are going to be up for a fight.”

Griffin and J.J. Redick each scored 23 points Monday.

The Clippers, 5-3 at home and 12-5 overall, next play host to Orlando on Wednesday night at 7:30 (on Prime Ticket).

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T’Wolves’ Zach LaVine went off against Lakers, but not against the Clippers

Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine/Photo courtesy of Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA.com

 

Zach LaVine, who played all of one season at UCLA before entering the NBA draft, in the past few days has seen what it can be like in the pro ranks. On Friday, he scored a team-high 28 points off the bench on 11 of 14 shooting in 26 minutes to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 120-119 victory over the Lakers at Staples Center.

On Monday, he shot just 4 of 11 and finished with 10 points in 24 minutes in the T’Wolves’ 127-101 loss to the Clippers at Staples Center.

“Whenever you step on the court, you want to prove yourself,” LaVine said. “You’re not going to have a performance like that (against the Lakers) every time. I shot (11-for-14). You’re not going to do that every time. You strive for it, but I went out there with the same demeanor. I want to go out there and put out a show to do the best for my team.”

LaVine, a point guard, had five assists against the Lakers. He had one against the Clippers.

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