Five things to take from Clippers’ 102-96 victory over Spurs in Game 6 at AT&T

Blake Griffin

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

– There is a song in the 1958 movie “Damn Yankees” entitled “Heart.” The lyrics include the phrase, “You’ve gotta have heart …” After this victory, no one should ever question the heart of the Clippers. They stared elimination in the face, and won. A loss, and all the wolves would have been out, wondering why the Clippers are going in reverse instead of forward. There is still a Game 7 to be played Saturday, but whatever happens, this team’s heart should not be in question.

– Kudos to Chris Paul. He missed all seven of his shots in the first half and although he still ended up shooting just 7 of 21, he was a big reason why the Clippers emerged victorious in this one. He scored 19 points, doled out 15 assists and played a game-high 44 minutes.

– Then there was the play of Blake Griffin. His body-language spoke volumes. It was as if he was not going to let this team lose. He scored a game-high 26 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, doled out six assists and for good measure blocked four shots.

Matt Barnes played a role in holding Kawhi Leonard to just 12 points on 3 of 15 shooting. Leonard scored 32 points in the Spurs’ Game 3 100-73 rout of the Clippers in San Antonio, so if he gets going he can be deadly.

– The only bummer to this game was that Glen “Big Baby” Davis sustained a sprained ankle at the outset of the fourth quarter. The hustle Davis gives the Clippers will be missed if he can’t make it for Saturday’s Game 7.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 114-105 victory over Spurs in Game 4

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

– It was kind of ironic that coach Doc Rivers became a bit perturbed about being asked – once again – about the lack of a good bench at the pregame news conference at AT&T Center. Then his son, Austin, goes out and has the game of his life with 16 points on 7 of 8 shooting while also playing solid defense. He did all this in 17 absolutely terrific minutes.

– Both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin said that without the younger Rivers, the Clippers would not have won this game. They are probably right. Then again, Paul and Griffin both had monster games. Paul scored 34 points and shot 11 of 19 while doling out seven assists. Griffin scored 20 points and was a beast on the boards with 19 rebounds; he, too, had seven assists. So you could also say that if either one of those two has a mediocre game, the Clippers don’t win this one.

DeAndre Jordan didn’t score much in this one, going for six points. But he had 14 rebounds and four blocked shots that helped the Clippers, setting the tone for a stronger defensive effort than in Game 3, when the Clippers were destroyed by 27 points.

– Another key element to this win was J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford getting their shooting back on track. Redick had shot 10 of 32 in the first three games, but shot 6 of 12 in this one for 17 points. Crawford was 12 of 34 the first three games, and shot 6 of 13 for 15 points in this one. Again, the Clippers needed every bit of that.

– If you’re a Spurs fan, don’t blame Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard or Tony Parker for San Antonio’s loss. Duncan scored 22 points with 14 rebounds, Leonard had 26 points and seven rebounds. Parker scored 18 points. The other two starters – Tiago Splitter and Danny Green – shot a combined 0 of 11. Splitter was 0 of 5, Green 0 of 6. All of Green’s misses were from 3-point range. Ouch! Neither player went to the free-throw line, either.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 100-73 Game 3 loss to San Antonio Spurs

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

– When Jamal Crawford is in a groove, he can be as deadly from the field as anyone. But after shooting 1 of 11 in this one, he is a combined 5 of 24 over the past two games – 1 of 10 from beyond the arc. This needs to change in a hurry, as in Game 4 Sunday.

– Another shooter, J.J. Redick, is also struggling. He is now shooting 31.2 percent from the field (10 of 32) in the series after going 2 of 7 in this massacre. The Clippers need Redick to be closer to the guy who had the best regular season of his nine-year career.

– To be clear, Crawford and Redick were not the only poor shooters in this loss. Blake Griffin was 6 of 15, Chris Paul 3 of 11. As a team, the Clippers shot 34.1 percent, 26.1 percent from 3-point range. Doc Rivers himself said the loss was more about his team’s “awful” offense than their defense that cost them the game. We should note, however, that the Spurs shot 52.6 percent from the field, so that was in play, too.

– We heard it a lot that the Clippers’ bench can’t stack up with San Antonio’s. Clippers reserves scored 30 points, but much of that was during garbage time. Crawford scored just five points before garbage time. The Spurs, on the other hand, got 15 big points, seven rebounds and four assists from Boris Diaw in 23 terrific minutes; six points from Patty Mills and nine from Marco Belinelli.

Matt Barnes has had a rather lousy series. He’s averaging 5.7 points and shooting 30 percent from the field. But at least in Game 2 – when he shot 1 of 10 – he had 10 rebounds. Barnes had zero rebounds in this game. Guarding Kawhi Leonard – or trying to – is killing the rest of his game.

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Blake Griffin says Friday’s blowout loss ‘cannot dictate’ what happens in Game 4

Blake Griffin

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

 

The Clippers have now lost two games in a row they would rather forget – the 111-107 overtime loss in Game 2 on Wednesday at Staples Center and the 100-73 shellacking they absorbed Friday in Game 3 at AT&T Center in San Antonio.

Blake Griffin said putting Friday’s loss behind them is a must. Game 4 is Sunday.

“You just have to get rid of that memory and forget about it,” said Griffin, who scored a team-high 14 points and shot just 6 of 15 from the field. “Tonight’s game cannot dictate how we play in Game 4. We just have to forget about it and move on.”

The Clippers shot just 29.5 percent through three quarters, 34.1 percent for the game.

 

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Blake Griffin has 10 points in 1st half for Clippers, who trail Spurs 46-38

 

Blake Griffin

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

 

The Clippers shot just 34.1 percent from the field in the first half, but a jump-shot by Blake Griffin at the halftime buzzer meant the Clippers would trail by only eight points (46-38) at the break in Game 3 at AT&T Center in San Antonio on Friday.

Griffin led the Clippers with 10 points in the half.

Kawhi Leonard led San Antonio with 16 points, but Tim Duncan had just two points.

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Doc Rivers, Chris Paul respond to Magic Johnson’s negative tweet after Game 2

Chris Paul

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

 

Magic Johnson sent out two tweets following the Clippers’ heartbreaking 111-107 overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series at Staples Center. One praised the Spurs: “The Spurs showed great mental toughness tonight in the win over the Clippers. That’s why they are the defending NBA champs.”

The other ripped the Clippers:  “The Clippers lack of mental toughness and costly turnovers are the reasons they lost the game tonight.”

The latter had to be in reference to Blake Griffin’s turnover with 11.9 seconds left in regulation and the Clippers ahead by two points. Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Friday responded.

“Well, they won,” Rivers said. “To the victors goes the spoils. I’m never going to argue with Magic Johnson. They won the game. I thought we showed great  mental toughness because we were the team down. I think people forget that. We were down 10 points in the fourth Quarter.

“I mean, we were actually the team that came back. And then we gave it up at the end. But we came back in that game. So I think if anybody showed mental toughness, it was us. And them; they’re going to have it. They, again, are champions. They’re not going anywhere. They’re not going to be shaken.”

Chris Paul looked perplexed when told of Johnson’s negative tweet.

“No, I didn’t know that,” Paul said at the morning shootaround ahead of Game 3 at AT&T Center in San Antonio. “I haven’t been on Twitter. I mean, that’s his opinion. I saw Magic at Sunday brunch last week, you know what I mean? So …”

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Blake Griffin scores 19 points, but Tim Duncan and Spurs lead 52-47 at break

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin had 19 points in the first half Wednesday/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Tim Duncan showed his Hall of Fame talent in the first half Wednesday when he scored 16 points on 8 of 9 shooting to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 52-47 lead over the Clippers at the break in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Blake Griffin of the Clippers was nearly as good, scoring 19 points on 9 of 13 from the field.

The Clippers lead the series 1-0.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 107-92 Game 1 victory over San Antonio

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Jamal Crawford had shot just 10 of 36 (27.7 percent) from the field in four games since returning from a calf injury that caused him to miss 17 consecutive games. To see him shoot 7 of 10 – 3 of 4 from 3-point range – and score 17 points in this game was nothing more than a really terrific thing for the Clippers. They need all they can get from a bench not nearly as deep as San Antonio’s.

– You could see it by the look of determination Chris Paul had on his face. There was just no way the Clippers were going to lose this game if he had anything to say about it. He scored 32 points on 13 of 20 from the field – 3 of 5 from beyond the arc – and also pulled down seven rebounds while doling out six assists. Doesn’t get much stronger than that. Will this be the year Paul and the Clippers get past the second round? Stay tuned.

– As good as Paul was, Blake Griffin was almost as good. He scored 26 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, had six assists and three blocked shots in an overall fine performance. He also showed some of the ferocity we don’t see quite as much since he added the outside game to his repertoire by throwing down a mean tomahawk dunk in the third quarter for a 77-61 lead. Griffin also wore that winning look.

– Even though the Clippers emerged victorious, one has to wonder if San Antonio’s deeper bench will eventually play a larger role in determining the outcome of these games. The Spurs got 43 points from six reserves, the Clippers got the 17 points from Crawford and only five more from two other players combined. The Clippers’ starters played many more minutes than their San Antonio counterparts. Griffin played nearly 43 minutes, DeAndre Jordan played over 38 minutes and Paul nearly 38. Kawhi Leonard played the most minutes for the Spurs at 33. Will the Clippers starters tire out if this continues?

– We can’t leave out the fans. They were as good as they have been all year, with the Spurs getting only a few cheers from a few people. The Clippers notice when fans at their Staples Center root for the opponent, and it was a good thing that almost all the love was for the Clippers in this one. When Griffin threw down that aforementioned monster slam, the Clippers faithful went absolutely wild.

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VIDEO: Check out this monster slam dunk by Blake Griffin in win over Spurs

Chris Paul scored 32 points and Blake Griffin had 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers in their 107-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night at Staples Center in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Although Griffin’s dunk total was down this season, you won’t find too many more vicious than this one he threw down over the Spurs’ Aron Baynes. Check it out:

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Clippers lead Spurs 49-43 at halftime in Game 1 at Staples Center

Blake Griffin scored 13 points, Jamal Crawford had nine and Chris Paul and J.J. Redick seven apiece and the Clippers led the San Antonio Spurs 49-43 at halftime of Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series Sunday at Staples Center.

The Clippers shot 47.2 percent from the field.

Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with nine points. San Antonio shot just 35.6 percent.

DeAndre Jordan scored five points for the Clippers, all on free throws as the Spurs went to the Hack-a-DJ late in the half. Jordan was 5 of 12 from the free-throw line.

 

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