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).
Chris Paul goes up for a shot against Phoenix on Saturday/Staff photo by Hans Gutknecht
Chris Paul is a point guard, so he has not really taken an enormous amount of shots during his NBA career. He has averaged 13.7 over nine-plus seasons. He took 13 shots in Saturday’s 120-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns. He made 10 of them, going 5-for-6 from 3-point range for a game-high 32 points.
Paul said new Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell has been trying to get him to be more aggressive and take more shots.
“Sam is constantly on me,” Paul said late Saturday night. “He thinks I pass up a thousand shots. I do pass up a few shots here and there, and I am working on that. They (the coaches) constantly stay on me about being aggressive.”
Paul made three of his 3-pointers during a 42-third quarter that broke open a game that was tied at halftime.
J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
The Clippers haven’t played a game since Monday, so when they take the court Saturday night against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center,. they will have gone four days without playing.
That’s not to mention coach Doc Rivers gave the team two days off from practice Tuesday and Wednesday. To guard J.J. Redick, it’s all a bit strange.
“I’m ready to get back playing,” he told reporters ahead of practice Friday in Playa Vista. “It’s always weird to have this long of a break during the season. It’s good on the body for a couple of days, it’s good on the mind, too, to get away and have a couple of days off.”
But, Redick said, “When you’re in season mode and you’re mind is wanting to play, your body wants to play, it’s a little weird.”
Redick and the rest of the Clippers will have plenty to do Saturday. The Suns are 5-3 and are tied for the fourth-highest points-per-game average in the NBA at 104.8.
Doc Rivers, left, and owner Steve Ballmer/Staff photo by David Crane
Coach Doc Rivers on Thursday was queried as to whether he might re-think having his team play in Las Vegas again in the preseason on the heels of Blake Griffin being charged with misdemeanor battery on a man at Tao Nightclub inside the Venetian in Las Vegas. The alleged incident took play on Oct. 19, hours after the Clippers played Denver in an exhibition game at Mandalay Bay on Oct. 18.
Rivers politely scoffed.
“There are situations in life, I’m sure you guys have some,” he told reporters ahead of practice in Playa Vista. “We just don’t get to read about them; I wish we could. But, really, things happen. I don’t think anyone – I know on this team – intends for them to happen. But a lot of our guys are young and they learn and you look at it as a positive thing, where we all learn from it as a group. … But, no, I think the game we play there is a very good game for our organization and we have a great relationship with Mandalay Bay, so we’re not going to stop going there.”
Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
The Clippers are a shaky 4-3 heading into their game Saturday against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. They have been very inconsistent in many areas – rebounding, defense, offense and retaining focus throughout 48 minutes of play.
Point guard Chris Paul on Thursday morning at practice was asked if these things can be repaired.
“Yeah, they definitely can be fixed,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a collective effort. It obviously starts with us – me, Blake (Griffin) and DJ (DeAndre Jordan).”
Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Blake Griffin has been charged with misdemeanor battery for allegedly slapping and grabbing the neck of a man at Tao Nightclub inside the Venetian in Las Vegas on Oct. 19, hours after the Clippers had played the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 18 in an exhibition game at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, TMZ has reported.
The alleged victim – identified by TMZ as Daniel Schuman – was allegedly taking flash pictures from his cell phone near Griffin, who allegedly grabbed the phone from Schuman.
If this goes to trial and Griffin is convicted, he would face up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine. However, it is highly doubtful Griffin would do any jail time.
Jesse Roybal, public information officer with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, confirmed to this newspaper last month that the alleged incident did involve a flash from a camera.
Seth Burton, in charge of public relations for the Clippers, said Wednesday the team will not comment at this time because it is an open case. Coach Doc Rivers didn’t say all that much when the alleged incident first took place.
“I trust Blake 100 percent,” he said in October. “He’s a great kid. We’ll figure it out and get through it.”
Blake Griffin battles in the paint during 89-85 loss to San Antonio on Monday/Staff photo by Andy Holzman
One could say that Blake Griffin summed up his team’s 89-85 loss to San Antonio on Monday in one short thought.
“At times we do a good job of executing defensively and offensively,” he said. “At times, we do a poor job at both ends. The biggest thing is when we are not executing offensively, our shots are not falling, we have to really come out on defense.”
All true. That was evident when the Clippers were outscored 14-3 over the final 5:18 Monday after leading the Spurs by seven points. The Clippers shots weren’t falling, but their defense was not good enough to stop the Spurs from scoring.
Kawhi Leonard/Photo courtesy of San Antonio Spurs, NBA.com
Kawhi Leonard contracted pink eye during the preseason. The San Antonio Spurs’ small forward then missed the team’s first game of the regular season, and he entered Monday night’s game against the Clippers at Staples Center struggling with a 9.0 scoring average. He told several publications he was suffering from blurred vision.
Well, he appears back to normal. Leonard scored a game-high 26 points on 10 of 18 shooting in the Spurs. 89-85 victory over the Clippers. He also had 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals, including a key steal late from Chris Paul.
His performance brought this reaction from Clippers forward Blake Griffin.
“He’s tough,” Griffin said. “He hits shots, he plays, he steals and he gave a little bit of everything. He is tough to play against. He’s a good player.”
Leonard, out of King High School in Riverside and San Diego State, talked about his recovery.
“I missed about three weeks,” he said. “No contact. I didn’t see anybody on my team at all. I was just really isolated out. So I knew it was going to take time, but I’m still trying to push through it and get healthy with my right eye.”
Leonard, just 23, is in his fourth season. He averaged a career-best 12.8 points in 2013-14.
Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
The Clippers are 1-1 since coach Doc Rivers inserted two-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford into the starting lineup, replacing Matt Barnes.
Rivers told reporters ahead of Monday night’s 89-85 loss to San Antonio that he made the move for the team, and intimated it was to inject more offense into it.
Crawford scored 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting in Saturday’s 106-102 victory over Portland. But he scored just 10 points on 3 of 13 from the field – he was 1 of 7 from 3-point range – against San Antonio.
Following the loss to the Spurs, Crawford suggested he is determined to make this work because that’s what Rivers wants.
“I am fine,” said Crawford, who admitted being in the startling lineup “is an adjustment. But I will get used to it. As long as (Rivers) wants me there, I will get used to it.”
Rivers said this will be a game-by-game deal, which means we could see Barnes starting again at any time.
Barnes, incidentally, told yours truly before Monday’s game that he had no issue with being taken out of the starting lineup. First of all, he said during training camp he’d rather come off the bench, and he also conceded that he had been struggling on offense. He was averaging 6.0 points ahead of Monday, and he scored eight points against the Spurs.
Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
- The Spurs are the defending NBA champions, but the Clippers were leading the entire game until a 12-0 run that began with 5:18 left in the game and culminated with 32.8 seconds remaining sealed their fate. San Antonio took its first lead at 83-82 with 1:44 left in the game, and by then it was obvious the Clippers were deflated. This is not the makings of a Clippers team picked by many experts to get to at least the Western Conference Finals.
- The 15 turnovers the Clippers had were their most so far this season. Previously they had committed 11, 14, 8, 10, 14, 7 turnovers, respectively. It didn’t help that their two best players – Chris Paul and Blake Griffin – combined for seven of those turnovers. Paul had four, Griffin three. Each had a pivotal turnover in the waning moments, though the one Griffin had was perpetuated by a pass into the paint from Jamal Crawford that seemed to surprise Griffin.
- Perhaps lost in the defeat was a fine defensive game from DeAndre Jordan. He blocked five shots and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Jordan had 14 rebounds in Saturday’s victory over Portland, and his season average is up to 11.0; he led the league at 13.6 a season ago.
- Even though Paul had the ball stolen from him by Kawhi Leonard with under a minute to play, Paul nearly had his second triple-double of the young campaign. He scored 13 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and doled out nine assists.
- One thing is certain, this game tells us that the Clippers have a lot of work to do. Sure, the Spurs are the defending champions, but they did not play well all night and then somehow emerged victorious over a Clippers team that couldn’t get out of its own way in the second half of the fourth quarter. The Clippers got a layup from Paul with 5:49 to play, then got only three more points on free throws from Jamal Crawford the rest of the way.