J.J. Redick, DeAndre Jordan play big roles in Clippers’ 107-92 victory at Denver

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Terrific games by J.J. Redick and DeAndre Jordan played a big part in the Clippers coming away with a 107-92 victory Saturday night at Denver.

Redick scored 25 points and made 4 of 10 from 3-point range and Jordan scored 14 points, grabbed 22 rebounds and blocked three shots. Chris Paul also had a nice game, scoring 23 points with nine assists. Blake Griffin scored 12 points with seven assists and four rebounds, but he missed all five of his free throws. Jordan, by the way, made 8 of 14 from the free-throw line, so for once he wasn’t the worst on the team in that department.

The Clippers (51-26) shot just 43 percent from the field overall, but a very respectable 38.2 percent (13 of 34) from 3-point range.

Hedo Turkoglu had another good game off the bench, scoring nine points on 3 of 5 from beyond the arc.

Wilson Chandler led Denver (28-49) 17 points and Kenneth Faried had 10 points and 14 rebounds.

The Clippers out-rebounded the Nuggets 47-44.

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Matt Barnes believes Clippers have bad blood with all teams – and vice versa

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Following Wednesday’s 126-122 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers that included a row when the Trail Blazers’ Chris Kaman pushed Chris Paul to the ground after Paul out-fought Kaman for a rebound, the Clippers’ Matt Barnes was asked to talk about the bad blood the Clippers might have with any other team in the league.

Interestingly, the hard-nosed Barnes believes there is a general dislike between the Clippers and, well, everyone.

“We have bad blood against the whole league and I think they have it against us,” he said. “It’s whatever. Sometimes it gets physical and we’re OK with that. Just like tonight, it was a big win. It took 48 minutes to get it, but we did a great job.”

It appeared Kaman’s push of Paul was in response to Paul pushing Kaman below the belt with his left hand during the play.

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Five things to take from the Clippers’ 126-122 victory Wednesday at Portland

Chris Paul scored 41 points and had 17 assists in this 126-122 victory at Portland/Photo by Don Ryan, Associated Press

 

- This was a huge character victory because it took place on the road a night after the Clippers lost a 110-106 heartbreaker to the rival Golden State Warriors after leading that game by 17 points in the second quarter at Staples Center. In this one, the Clippers trailed by 19 midway through the second quarter. The win also meant the Clippers won the season series 3-1 over the Trail Blazers, and since the teams could very well meet in the first round of the playoffs, that’s big.

- So Tuesday, Chris Paul is embarrassed when he is sent twisting and sprawling on a dribble move by Golden State’s Steph Curry during the second quarter of that game. It was seemingly all anyone could talk about on the talk shows during the day Wednesday. How did Paul respond? Like the superstar that he is, with a season-high 41 points along with 17 assists.

- Paul did not want to admit that Chris Kaman shoving him down late in the third quarter helped him elevate his game even higher than it already was. Make no mistake, it ticked off his teammates and they responded in kind. First, Glen “Big Baby” Davis rushed to Paul’s defense. Then the team overcame an 11-point deficit it had at the time to emerge victorious. Seriously, this is just the kind of rally win that could bring the Clippers very close and propel them to terrific heights in the upcoming playoffs.

- The Clippers shot a splendid 53.6 percent (15 of 28) from 3-point range. Paul and J.J. Redick both made 5 of 9. The effort allowed the Clippers to raise their team percentage from beyond the arc to 37.6. That is third-best in the league behind Golden State (39.7) and Atlanta (38.4).

- Hedo Turkoglu had a nice game off the bench. He scored eight points on 3 of 4 from the field – 2 of 3 from 3-point range – in 19 minutes. He also had two assists. Teammate Matt Barnes gave him kudos. “I’ve gotta stick my hat out, especially to Turk,” Barnes said. “Turk played a big stretch in the second half, knocked down some big shots, made some big plays for us.”

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Portland coach Terry Stotts bummed out about Wednesday’s loss to Clippers

Chris Paul scored 41 points in Wednesday’s 126-122 victory at Portland/Photo by Don Ryan, Associated Press

 

There is a chance the Clippers (50-26) and Portland Trail Blazers (48-26) will play each other in the first round of the playoffs. That could be a very good thing for the Clippers, who defeated Portland 126-122 on Wednesday night at Portland after trailing by 19 points midway through the second quarter. The Clippers won the season series 3-1 over Portland, with no margin of victory by either team more than six points.

Portland coach Terry Stotts therefore admitted that Wednesday’s loss was indeed a bummer.

“Look, you hate losing games,” he said. “You hate losing at home and you hate losing to a team that you might see in the playoffs. There’s a lot of things not to be happy about tonight. But we were very competitive, as were they. All four games with the Clippers have come down to the last couple minutes. That’s part of the NBA. You don’t like dropping games at home, but sometimes you do.”

 

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VIDEO: Clippers should thank Chris Kaman for pushing Chris Paul to the floor

Perhaps Chris Kaman was doing his old team a favor when he purposely pushed down Chris Paul late in the third quarter Wednesday night at Portland. The Clippers were down 11 points (92-81) at the time and rallied for a huge 126-122 victory at Moda Center in Portland.

The Clippers trailed by as many as 19 points (51-32) midway through the second quarter. That they came back to win a night after giving up a 17-point second-quarter lead and losing 110-106 to Golden State at Staples Center says a lot about the Clippers’ overall character.

Most importantly, Paul scored a season-high 41 points and doled out 17 assists. Again, this was a day after Golden State’s Steph Curry embarrassed Paul by sending him sprawling on an ankle-breaking dribble move that was talked about a lot in the world of sports Wednesday.

After Kaman pushed Paul, Glen “Big Baby” Davis rushed to Paul’s defense, only to taste the canvas after being headed off at the pass by LaMarcus Aldridge, who shoved Davis away from Kaman.

Either way, this is the type of victory that could go a long way in giving the Clippers (50-26) an emotional boost that could be long-lasting.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was asked if Kaman pushing Paul was the best thing that could have happened for his team in the game.

“It didn’t hurt, but CP (Paul) already had it going before that, to be honest,” Rivers said. “That just brought more energy into the game. When you’re lacking energy, you’re just looking for anything. Little plays like that can help you. Or they can do you in, too. You never know how that’s going to go. I was happy how we responded after that.”

Paul was queried as to whether Kaman’s boneheaded move helped him take him up another notch.

“No, the shove didn’t take me to another level,” Paul said. “It gave me a chance to make it to the free-throw line and get a little rhythm. But I think it was just a gutsy win.”

If you haven’t seen the incident for which Kaman was called for a flagrant 1 foul, here it is:

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Warriors’ Steph Curry talks about dribble move that sent Chris Paul sprawling

Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors had already whittled a 17-point deficit down to nine points when he did a number on the Clippers’ Chris Paul with a dribble move that sent Paul down to one hand on the hardwood. The move and subsequent short jumper pulled the Warriors within 48-41 with 2:25 left in the second quarter on their way to a 110-106 victory over Los Angeles.

Curry afterward talked about the play.

“I snaked through the paint and he (Paul) was trailing and I thought I could make a move back to the basket, and somewhere with the creativity in between doing the double move … as soon as I saw him go down, I knew I had to shoot it and see what happens,” Curry said.

His teammates on the bench went wild.

“You just have to block it (the bench’s reaction) out as best as you can,” Curry said. “You get a little bit of an adrenaline rush, so those are cool moments. But thankfully the shot went in and I finished the play. I haven’t seen the bench yet, but I heard that everyone was going crazy.”

Even if you are a Clippers fans, you have to appreciate this. Here it is once again:

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Blake Griffin just wants to win, so his 40-point night Tuesday means little to him

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Blake Griffin on Tuesday night had easily his best game since he returned from an elbow injury. He scored 40 points on 16 of 25 shooting. He also grabbed 12 rebounds, doled out five assists and blocked three shots in 42 1/2 minutes.

But the Clippers lost 110-106 to the rival Golden State Warriors at Staples Center, so to him, the numbers didn’t mean much.

“I don’t really count that (scoring performance) as anything dynamic,” he said when asked to assess his game. “When you walk away with a loss, it does not matter. It doesn’t really mean a lot. There were plenty of things I could have done to help us play better. The bottom line is that we need to be a better team. Championships are not won today, but we still need to improve as a team.”

Griffin’s season-high of 45 points came Dec. 8 in a 121-120 overtime victory over Phoenix.

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Blake Griffin, Doc Rivers not happy about all the cheering for the Warriors

Matt Barnes of the Clippers goes up for a shot in Tuesday’s 110-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors/Staff photo by John McCoy

 

The Golden State Warriors aren’t the only team that has had a strong fan base this season at Staples Center when playing the Clippers. The same could be said when the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat played them there.

But it seemed like all the cheering for the Warriors in their 110-106 victory over the Clippers on Tuesday at Staples Center really rubbed some the wrong way. Blake Griffin, for example, made no bones about how displeased he was during the post-game news conference.

He was asked if it felt like a playoff atmosphere.

“Not really, no,” he said. He was asked why.

“I don’t know, the homecourt advantage is just not there for us,” Griffin said. “So if that’s how it feels in the playoffs, it’s not looking good.”

Coach Doc Rivers also was queried as to whether the ambiance had a post-season feel.

“It did, in some ways,” Rivers said. “I liked our crowd tonight, for the most part. I didn’t like their crowd.”

Having covered Clippers-Warriors games at Oracle Arena in Oakland, believe this, there is almost no cheering for the Clippers.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 110-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin scored 40 points in Tuesday’s loss to Golden State/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

- The absence of sixth-man Jamal Crawford was very obvious in this loss. While the Warriors got a big spark off the bench from post Marreese Speights, who had 13 points, the spark Crawford typically brings was not there to ignite as he missed his 14th consecutive game with a calf injury. Golden State got 34 points from its bench, the Clippers just 12. Sure, the Warriors’ bench played more minutes. But still, in games against the elite teams, Crawford not being in there becomes much more damaging. The good news is Crawford could return after the Clippers come back from their two-game trip that will see them play games Wednesday night at Portland and Saturday night at Denver.

- DeAndre Jordan leads the league in field-goal percentage at 70.6, so shooting 1 of 5 in this one was certainly uncharacteristic. Interestingly, he seemed to have a couple of opportunities to throw down dunks but instead tried to lay the ball in the basket. That resulted in misses. Even fans were yelling at Jordan to “dunk the ball.”

- Blake Griffin had a monster game. With 40 points on 16 of 25 shooting, he appears all the way back from the staph infection that was surgically removed from his right elbow. His season-high of 45 points came Dec. 8 in a 121-120 overtime victory over Phoenix. Griffin also pulled down 12 rebounds Tuesday, doled out five assists and blocked three shots.

- Considering this game was played at Staples Center and not Oracle Arena, there were way too many Warriors fans present. Both coach Doc Rivers and Griffin complained about that afterward, which was understandable. This isn’t the first time that has happened, but it makes one wonder just how much of a homecourt advantage the Clippers are going to have during the playoffs when they are playing at what are supposed to be the friendly confines of Staples Center.

- Chris Paul scored 27 points and had nine assists. But he still had to try and contain Golden State’s Steph Curry, who started out by shooting 1 of 4 before getting hot and finishing 8 of 15 for 27 points of his own. Afterward, Paul said there were three instances where he was in Curry’s chest, yet Curry still made his shot. Tonight (Wednesday), Paul will have his hands full with another dynamic guard – Portland’s Damian Lillard. “It’s a point-guard-driven league,” Paul said.

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