Chris Paul/Photo by Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Point guard Chris Paul on Thursday was named to the All-NBA second team and forward Blake Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan were named to the third team.
It’s the first time in franchise history three Clippers have made All-NBA in the same season and it’s the first time since 2004-05 when Phoenix did it that a team landed three players on the respective teams.
This is the second time Paul has been named to the second team; he made the first team the previous three seasons. Paul averaged 19.1 points and a league-high 10.2 assists. He made the All-Star team for the eighth consecutive season.
Griffin led the Clippers in scoring with a 21.9 scoring average during the regular season; he averaged a career-low 7.6 rebounds, but a career-high in assists at 5.3 per game. Griffin had been named to the second team the previous three seasons and this is his first time on the third team. He made his fifth All-Star game appearance in succession.
Jordan averaged a league-best 15.0 rebounds as well as 11.5 points and 2.2 blocks. This is his first selection to an All-NBA team.
Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Not long after the Clippers were eliminated by the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals when the Rockets won Game 7 on Sunday in Houston, Blake Griffin was asked about the so-called “Clippers Curse.” The question seemed to center on the team never having gotten past the conference semifinals in franchise history, more than anything else.
Griffin seemed less-than-thrilled with the question, but he responded.
“The ‘Clippers Curse’ when I first got here was No. 1 picks getting hurt and not working out, their draft picks not working out and them not making the playoffs, them not having winning seasons,” he said. “No one talked about getting past the second round, not a single soul talked about that. But now, that’s what everyone talks about. Just like the last one, we’re going to bust through this one.”
Magic Johnson/Associated Press file photo by Reed Saxon
Magic Johnson helped play host to a Los Angeles news conference Monday to announce the intention to build a 22,000-seat stadium that would house the expansion Los Angeles Football Club that will play in the MLS. Johnson is one of several in the ownership group.
During his time with reporters, Johnson was asked about the Clippers falling in seven games to the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals. Never shy to speak his mind, Johnson said quite a bit.
“Well, I was disappointed because Chris Paul is my good friend, Doc Rivers is a good friend and I want them to win and get the monkey off their backs,” Johnson said.
He then talked about Game 6, when the Clippers blew a 19-point lead late in the third quarter. Not only did they lose that one 119-107 at home at Staples Center, they missed their best chance to close out the series and advance to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history. The Clippers lost Game 7 by a 113-100 count Sunday in Houston.
“I thought they missed the opportunity in Game 6,” Johnson said. “You gotta close out at home. You can’t allow it to go to a Game 7. If you think about all the Lakers heydays, when we had closeout games and we had them in the Forum or Staples Center with Kobe (Bryant) and Shaq (O’Neal) or with my Showtime Lakers, we closed out. So when you have your opportunity, you gotta close out.
“I remember when we didn’t, in terms of we had the Celtics in seven games and we lost there, that will haunt us forever and this loss will haunt the Clippers forever because they had their opportunity up 20 in the third quarter. You gotta win that game in the Staples Center. So we’ll see what happens.”
Johnson intimated he’s hopeful the Clippers can get over the hump.
“I wish them well because I want so bad for Chris Paul to have his opportunity to play in the championship,” he said. “I want that for him. He’s meant a lot to the league, but also to the fans here in Los Angeles because this is a Lakers town, but we like Chris Paul. We do. We love the way he plays, his leadership.
“Blake (Griffin) has really grown. You saw him grow up this season and really do some wonderful things. But at the same time, it’s going to be tough for them to swallow this.”
Jamal Crawford brings the ball up court as the Rockets’ James Harden whoops it up during the third quarter of Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday at Toyota Center in Houston/Photo by James Nielsen, Houston Chronicle
– The first thing we take from this Game 7 loss is that had the Clippers taken care of business when they should have in Game 6 at Staples Center when they had the Rockets right where they wanted them with a 19-point lead late in the third quarter, there never would have been a Game 7. And the Clippers would be playing the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals instead of the Rockets. You snooze, you lose.
– The Trio of J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes struggled shooting from the field for the third consecutive game – all Clippers losses. Redick scored 10 points on 4 of 12 shooting, Barnes was scoreless on 0 of 2 and Crawford scored a hard 17 points on 6 of 18. They were a combined 5 of 19 from 3-point range. As a team, the Clippers shot just 25 percent (7 of 28) from beyond the arc, also their third poor performance from there in succession.
– Doc Rivers bemoaned the turnovers, noting his Clippers were “a low-turnover” team all season. The Clippers had 18, the Rockets 17 total (16 player, 1 team). But the Clippers scored only 17 points off Rockets miscues, while the Rockets scored 27 off the Clippers’. Redick had six turnovers, Blake Griffin five and Chris Paul four.
– Other than Crawford’s 17 points – and again, they were not a good 17 points – the Clippers received virtually nothing from their bench. Austin Rivers and Glen “Big Baby” Davis each scored two points. That was it. Houston got 11 points from Corey Brewer, eight from Terrence Jones, four from Pablo Prigioni and two from Clint Capela. Moreover, Prigioni had four assists and three steals in 20 productive minutes.
– The Clippers did well to fight back in this game, pulling within three points in the third quarter and within eight twice late in the fourth. But Doc Rivers was not happy when Trevor Ariza hit a 3-pointer with just under a minute to play to increase his team’s lead to 11 and sealing the Clippers’ fate. Rivers was obviously dismayed when he called a timeout, looking at his players as if to say, “Why was he so open?” Rivers afterward said his team missed a lot of assignments. The Rockets shot 40 percent (12 of 30) from 3-point range.
BONUS TAKE: Rockets guard James Harden did not shoot well from the field, making 7 of 20. But his game-high 31 points included 18 trips to the free-throw line; he made 15. By the way, the Clippers shot just 17 free throws all game, the Rockets 41.
Blake Griffin of the Clippers shakes hands with the Rockets’ Dwight Howard following Houston’s 113-100 victory over the Clippers in Game 7/Photo by Scott Halleran, Getty Images
J.J. Redick wasn’t the only member of the Clippers to struggle in the last three games of the Western Conference semifinals won by the Houston Rockets on Sunday via a 113-100 count over the Clippers in Game 7 at Toyota Center in Houston.
Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes also struggled.
Redick on Sunday scored 10 points on 4 of 12 shooting, 2 of 9 from 3-point range. He also had six of his team’s 18 turnovers.
Afterward, Redick described the mood.
“Still in shock,” he said. “Sadness. Disappointment. You never want to equate sports with death, but it does feel like a wake or a funeral.”
The Houston Rockets on Sunday led by as many as 15 points in the first half before settling for a 56-46 lead over the Clippers at the break in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals at Toyota Center in Houston.
Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 12 points and Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford each scored 10. Interestingly, Paul had only one assist.
Dwight Howard and James Harden scored 12 points apiece for the Rockets and Josh Smith had nine points.
The Clippers are doing a much better job on the boards, outrebounding the Rockets 26-24. Houston outrebounded the Clippers by 19 in each of the past two games – both Rockets victories.
The winner will advance to the conference finals against Golden State.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are not happy campers here during Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinals series with the Houston Rockets. The Clippers were outscored 51-20 over the final 15 minutes of action, falling 119-107 at Staples Center/Associated Press photo by David J. Phillip
Not only are the Clippers trying to get to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history, Clippers guard Chris Paul is trying to do the same. He’s in his 10th year and he’s in his seventh postseason, fourth with the Clippers after having three with New Orleans.
Paul was asked about that at practice Saturday at Toyota Center in Houston, and he shot down any thoughts of individuality in this regard.
“It’s solely team,” he said. “Anybody who knows me knows it’s always been that and that’s what this is. If it wasn’t, I would have taken up golf or tennis or even ping pong; I like ping pong, it’s sort of individual. But everything that we do is always about the team.”
Paul was pressed by a reporter who wanted to know what it would mean to him to get to the conference finals.
“Is that what you play for?” Paul said. “I mean, I don’t know, do they give you a trophy for that?”
Game 7 is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Toyota Center.
Bummed out Clippers watch the end of Thursday night’s fiasco from the bench/Photo by Michael Owen Baker, Los Angeles Daily News
– Clippers fans have to ask themselves one question: How do the Clippers get past one of the most epic fold jobs in recent memory? Think about it. They led by 19 points with 3:04 left in the third quarter and their fans at Staples Center were in a frenzy. Then they were outscored 51-20 the rest of the way. How the heck does that happen? Just when we thought the Clippers’ Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome might be a thing of the past, boom, it’s back.
– James Harden, who has been under the weather, didn’t even play in the fourth quarter. He did check in with 1:01 to play in the game, but checked right back out without playing a second. But, man, Josh Smith and Corey Brewer more than picked up the slack. Brewer scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, Smith scored 14 of his 19 in the fourth. Smith had three big 3-point baskets, each installing a nail in the Clippers’ coffin. As good as they were, the Clippers were that bad in defending them. Not that the Clippers played any defense at all in the final quarter, during which the Rockets shot 63.2 percent from the field – 63.6 (7 of 11) from beyond the arc.
– The Clippers’ two best players – Blake Griffin and Chris Paul – fell apart during crunch time. Griffin, in particular, was awful in the fourth. He missed all five of his shots and threw up a couple of bricks from short range that were head-scratching. Paul was just 2 of 7 in the fourth as the Clippers shot just 18.2 percent (4 of 22).
– The trio of Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford once again could not find the basket. Barnes shot 4 of 12 and Redick and Crawford were both 4 of 13. That’s a combined 12 of 38 (31.5 percent). This comes on the heels of them shooting a combined 6 of 30 (20 percent) in the Game 5 loss. If this doesn’t change, the Clippers stand little chance of winning Game 7.
– Crawford scored nine points to lead the reserves. As a whole, the bench scored just 16 points with Austin Rivers scoring five points on 2 of 8 from the field and Glen “Big Baby” Davis scoring just two. The Rockets got 37 points from three players – 19 from Brewer, 16 from Terrence Jones and two from Clint Capela.
– BONUS TAKE: The Clippers were outrebounded 60-41.
Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Blake Griffin scored 22 points on 9 of 12 shooting to help the Clippers take a 64-62 lead over the Houston Rockets into halftime of Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinals series at Staples Center.
The Clippers led by as many as nine points in the first quarter. But behind James Harden the Rockets came roaring back to lead the Clippers by six in the second quarter before the Clippers answered.
Chris Paul contributed 10 points and seven assists in the half.
Harden led the Rockets with 21 points and Dwight Howard scored 11 and grabbed nine rebounds.