Clippers make it official, sign Jeff Ayres to second 10-day contract

Jeff Ayres

Jeff Ayres/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Sunday that he would be giving power forward Jeff Ayres a second 10-day contract. Rivers, who doubles as president of basketball operations, followed through on that Tuesday by making it official.

Ayres, who prepped at Etiwanda High in Rancho Cucamonga, has played in just three games for a total of 10 minutes since signing with the Clippers on Jan. 23. Ayres, 28, has played in  223 NBA games with Portland, Indiana, San Antonio and the Clippers; he won a championship ring in 2014 with San Antonio.

Ayres has career scoring and rebounding averages of 3.0 and 2.7, respectively.

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Doc Rivers would love to talk only about basketball, but Blake Griffin drama standing in the way of that

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Although L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers would love to just talk about basketball, that won’t happen until the Blake Griffin saga is resolved. That will materialize when Griffin’s punishment is meted out for him punching team assistant equipment manager Matias Testi on Jan. 23 in Toronto, Griffin sustaining a fractured right hand.

The word had not come down as of Tuesday morning.

“The league hasn’t said anything yet,” said Rivers, whose team will host the Minnesota Timberwolves (14-35) on Wednesday night at 7:30 at Staples Center. “We’re just waiting and we’ll figure it out when it’s done.”

Rivers answered every inquiry, if grudgingly. He said Griffin might go with the team on its upcoming four-game road trip that begins Friday in Orlando. He intimated that will depend on whether Griffin’s punishment is doled out by then.

Rivers said Testi is “doing good” and said he had not heard that Testi – according to a story on ESPN.com that cited sources – has been having debilitating headaches since the incident.

“No, I don’t know where you guys get these reports,” Rivers said.

Rivers was also asked what the locker-room dynamic might be like upon the return of Griffin and Testi.

“Just so you know, in the NBA, these things happen,” Rivers said. “I swear this is not the first time this has ever happened. It’s happened with players in practice and they tend to heal up, they tend to get better. So I know you guys want to stay on this. I swear we’ve got a basketball (team) to talk about. It’s going to be healed, it’s going to be OK.”

Bottom line, Rivers said, other than the discipline, this is a dead issue.

“Honestly, it’s over with, as far as we’re concerned,” he said. “The only thing is we have to get the punishment from the league and see where we’re going and then other than that, we’re good.”

The Clippers (32-16) have gone 15-3 without Griffin, who hasn’t played since Christmas as the fractured hand was preceded by a quad injury.

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Age, fewer minutes contributing factors to Paul Pierce’s struggles

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Paul Pierce, 38, is having the worst shooting season of his long and, eventually, Hall of Fame career. Pierce has a career shooting percentage of 44.6 percent. He’s shooting 33.6 percent this season; his previous low was 40.2 in 2003-03 with Boston.

Pierce has shot 36.9 percent from 3-point range for his 18-year career, but he’s at 30.6 percent right now. He hasn’t shot that poorly from distance since ’03-’04, when he shot 29.9 percent – his worst ever.

“I think maybe it has to do with my age,” Pierce said, smiling.

His age is an issue. It’s why he’s only averaging a career-low 17.5 minutes, nearly nine minutes less than this past season when he was with Washington.

“Yeah, I’m sure that has something to do with it,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He puts in the time and the work, but I know he can shoot and I feel like when you need him to make a shot, for the most part he’ll make shots.

“But his minutes have gone down each year over the last three or four years. Usually, statistically, especially guys who play a lot, when their minutes start
dwindling, their field-goal percentage struggles a little bit, too.”

Pierce understands why his minutes are down, suggesting his age and the way the team is structured mandates that. His main concern is “just to be rested enough going into the playoffs because that’s where I feel my value is going to be felt the most.”

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Clippers recall Branden Dawson from Grand Rapids of D-League

Branden Dawson

Branden Dawson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

The Clippers on Monday recalled forward Branden Dawson from Grand Rapids of the NBA Development League.

It was rookie Dawson’s third D-League assignment this season, second with Grand Rapids. He also played for Bakersfield.

Dawson has averaged 6.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 16.8 minutes in a total of 21 D-League games.

Dawson has appeared in just two games with the Clippers. He played nine minutes on Jan. 2 and scored two points and grabbed three rebounds in the Clippers’ 130-99 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at Staples Center.

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DeAndre Jordan had himself a heck of a January for Clippers

Bulls Clippers Basketball

DeAndre Jordan, left, puts up a shot against Chicago’s Pau Gasol during Sunday’s game at Staples Center, won 120-93 by the Clippers/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill

 

Center DeAndre Jordan averaged 13.8 points and 15.1 rebounds in the 12 games he play in January; the Clippers played 14, but Jordan missed two with pneumonia.

Jordan scored 17 points, grabbed 20 rebounds, doled out four assists, blocked four shots and made a steal Sunday in the Clippers’ 120-93 victory over Chicago at Staples Center. Afterward, coach Doc Rivers was asked if this is one of Jordan’s most consistent stretches he’s had this season.

“Yeah, definitely this year,” Rivers said. “But I just like how he’s playing the whole game. He’s been good.”

Jordan also made 5 of 8 from the free-throw line Sunday. He shot 48.5 percent from the there in January, his best month so far this season. For most, this would be nothing to brag about. For Jordan, it is because he’s shooting  just 42.5 percent from the line this season and just 41.9 during his career, which is now in its eighth season.

“I’m getting more comfortable with them,” Jordan said of his free throws. “I know every night it (Hack-a-DJ) is probably going to happen since it works on some nights and doesn’t work on others. I’ve got to be ready for it whenever, whether it be the second or fourth quarter, so it’s becoming routine for me.”

 

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Doc Rivers named Western Conference Coach of the Month

Doc Rivers/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill

 

The NBA on Monday named Clippers coach Doc Rivers its Western Conference Coach of the Month.

Rivers led the team to an 11-3 record in January, the most-winning month in franchise history.

Four of those victories came on the road, including wins at Indiana and Atlanta. Of the seven home victories, the best were over Miami, Houston and Chicago.

The Clippers in January were third in the league in overall field-goal percentage (47.3), fourth in 3-point percentage (39.3), sixth in points per game (107.9) and first in fewest turnovers at 11.4.

All 11 victories came without the injured Blake Griffin.

 

 

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