Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
– Chris Paul came out of this one with 5:11 left in the third quarter with a strained rib muscle. Afterward, a Clippers spokesman said Paul will be evaluated over the next couple of days to determine if he’ll be ready to play Wednesday against Indiana.
– It was a record-breaking night for DeAndre Jordan at the free-throw line. Unfortunately, that’s not a good thing. He shot a career- and franchise-high 34 free throws – 18 in less than a two-minute period beginning with 3:51 left in the game. It was Hack-a-DJ to its most awful degree. Really tough to watch. Jordan made just 12 of the 34 free throws, but he three of the last four. Jordan is now shooting 37.9 percent from the free-throw line, the second-lowest of his career. He shot 37.5 percent in 2009-10.
– Jordan, who has been hard on himself for not rebounding better, came through with a whopping 24 – nine offensive. He’s now averaging 13.1 after averaging a league-high 15.0 in 2014-15.
– The Clippers, who have now won three in a row and four of five, did not shoot well, coming in at 38.9 percent. However, that percentage is that low because they shot just 19 percent in the second quarter when they made just 4 of 21 from the field. Blake Griffin (8 of 19), J.J. Redick (5 of 14) and Paul (3 of 11) were a combined 16 of 44 for 36.3 percent. The Clippers did shoot 42.1 percent (8 of 19) from 3-point range, with Redick going 4-for-7 and Josh Smith 2-for-2.
– This game marked the first in which the Clippers (10-8) have outrebounded an opponent this season. They had 55, the Trail Blazers 54. “We outrebounded them by one,” Griffin said, laughing. “We’ll take it. DJ was huge on the boards.” Griffin had eight of those rebounds, Lance Stephenson had 10 off the bench.
Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers led 19-4 early, but had to settle for a 49-49 tie with the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday at halftime at Staples Center.
Neither team shot well. The Clippers shot 34.8 percent, the Trail Blazers 36.0.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers (9-8) with 15 points in the half, but he shot just 4 of 13.
Maurice Harkless led the Trail Blazers (7-10) with 11 points.
Blake Griffin goes up for two of his 26 points in Sunday’s victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves/Associated Press photo by Mark J. Terrill
It didn’t take Jamal Crawford long to answer when he was asked to talk about Sunday’s 107-99 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center.
“I think we are just playing harder,” said Crawford, whose team has won three of its past four ahead of Monday night’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers. “We were also able to sustain the energy through two halves of the game, which enabled us to put ourselves in a pretty good position.”
Lance Stephenson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
– Lance Stephenson’s play in nearly 20 minutes off the bench was noteworthy. He scored nine points, grabbed six rebounds, doled out three assists and made one steal. He also brought with him incredible energy.
– It was interesting to see that after starting at small forward the previous three games, not only did Wesley Johnson not start, he saw only four minutes and 12 seconds of action off the bench and did not score. Doc Rivers said Johnson needs to play better on defense.
– Speaking of defense, Luc Mbah a Moute started at small forward because Rivers said the team needed that for this particular game. He ended up scoring seven points, and made a big steal down the stretch during an 8-0 run that all but sealed Minnesota’s fate.
– The Clippers committed 13 turnovers, but just three of those came in the second half. Point guard Chris Paul had four of those turnovers and power forward Blake Griffin had three. They also led the team with a combined 46 points – Griffin scoring 26, Paul 20. Griffin also had eight rebounds, eight assists and two blocks. Paul also had nine assists and went 6-for-6 at the free-throw line. Enough said.
– Don’t sleep on the Timberwolves. They may not make the top eight in the Western Conference this season, and yet they could. But over the next few seasons, they could be very good. With a core of rookie center Karl-Anthony Towns, second-year shooting guard Andrew Wiggins and second-year point guard Zach LaVine, they have a bright future.
Karl-Anthony Towns/Photo courtesy of Minnesota Timberwolves
Karl-Anthony Towns had just scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds in his Minnesota Timberwolves’ 107-99 loss to the Clippers on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center, when Clippers forward Blake Griffin was asked to assess the rookie from Kentucky.
“Towns is tough,” Griffiin said of the 7-foot center. “I liked his game at Kentucky just watching him. He seems to be a great kid, great player, obviously. He has so much room to grow. He has such a high ceiling that he is going to be tough (in the future).”
Towns was averaging 14.2 points and 9.4 rebounds through 16 games ahead of Sunday.
Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
It’s not yet time to get overly excited about the Clippers. After all, they are still only 9-8 after Sunday’s 107-99 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center.
But the Clippers have won three of their past four, and they are executing better down the stretch. Sunday, they saw their 15-point lead cut to five with 4:03 left to play in the game. Instead of folding, they scored the next eight points for a 13-point cushion (96-83) and emerged victorious.
Blake Griffin, who scored a game-high 26 points with eight rebounds and eight assists, likes what’s he’s seeing now.
“We are playing better,” he said. “We came out flat for some games that we shouldn’t have, but everyone has really stepped up and it has become more about the team.”