Blake Griffin says ball didn’t stick; the bonding has begun on the road

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Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin scored 20 points in Wednesday’s 114-90 victory at Orlando/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Coach Doc Rivers talked about the solid ball movement of his team after its 114-90 victory at Orlando on Wednesday. Blake Griffin, who scored 20 points, gave a more colorful description.

“The ball was hopping,” said Griffin, whose team plays at Miami tonight (Thursday) at 5 (on Prime Ticket, TNT). “We didn’t really have many possessions where it stuck. That is the key for us. When we move that ball, it is tough to stop us.”

The victory was the beginning of a seven-game road trip, one in which the Clippers (6-4) are hopeful they can bond after playing eight of their first nine games at Staples Center.

“We get to spend some time together,” Griffin said. “You know, on the road it kind of brings you together and you are forced to come together. You are all that you have in the arena. We are looking forward to capitalizing on it.”

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Doc Rivers stoked about bench play, ball movement in win at Orlando

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Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford scored a team-high 22 points in Wednesday’s 114-90 victory at Orlando/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Sure, Wednesday’s 114-90 victory at Orlando came against a team whose five victories had come against really lousy teams – except for Milwaukee – but that doesn’t mean coach Doc Rivers didn’t want to boast about about two things – his bench play, and ball movement.

“Yes, it was a great win,” said Rivers, whose 6-4 Clippers play tonight (Thursday) at Miami at 5 (on Prime Ticket, TNT). “Our bench out-scored our starters, which is a first. I thought in the first half they were great. Our starters got a long rest. And then in the second half, they came in and did the same thing.

“So when you play like that, like a whole team, it’s good. I think this is the best we’ve moved the ball this entire year. It’s hard to guard people when you move the ball that way.”

The starters scored 54 points, the bench 60. Jamal Crawford led the Clippers with 22 points off the bench, Jordan Farmar had 13 and Spencer Hawes 10. Blake Griffin led the starters with 20 points.

The Clippers had 24 assists, Chris Paul getting nine. The Clippers had only 20 assists in their 105-89 loss to Chicago on Monday night at Staples Center.

Griffin is leading the Clippers in scoring through 10 games with a 22.8 average. Crawford is next at 18.4.

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Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and Blake Griffin defend Chris Paul after Game 5 loss

Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul, Hedo Turkoglu (8), Jamal Crawford (11) and Blake Griffin (32) walk back to their bench in the closing minutes of a 118-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors during the second half in Game 4 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series on Sunday, April 27, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul, Hedo Turkoglu (8), Jamal Crawford (11) and Blake Griffin (32) walk back to their bench in the closing minutes of a 118-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors during the second half in Game 4 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series on Sunday, April 27, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

After the Clippers’ emotional 105-104 Game 5 collapse to the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road, where Los Angeles squandered a 13-point lead in the final four minutes of play, point-gaurd Chris Paul took the blame.

Paul’s stretch of play in the waning moments would make no highlight reel. Paul turned the ball over with 17.8 seconds left that led to the controversial out-of-bounds call involving Reggie Jackson and the Clippers’ Matt Barnes call with 11.6 seconds left.

After the review kept the ball with the Thunder, Paul fouled Russell Westbrook on the elbow as he attempted a three-point shot with 6.4 ticks left. Westbrook sunk all three for the 105-104 lead.

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J.J. Redick: We need Blake Griffin to stay on the court

Blake Griffin played only 19 minutes and 14 seconds in the Clippers’ 109-105 loss to the Golden State Warriors in Saturday’s opener of their first-round Western Conference playoff series at Staples Center.

Griffin scored 16 points and grabbed three rebounds – well below his season averages – and his defense in the paint was missed, to be sure. That has to change, guard J.J. Redick said.

“I mean, he’s one of the best players in the NBA, so that was huge for us to not have him over half the game, really,” said Redick, who had a fine game with 22 points on 8 of 11 shooting. “We need him to stay on the court, we need him to play 40 minutes and be involved. He’s made such progress on both sides of the basketball, he’s such an important piece of what we do.”

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DeAndre Jordan: Doc Rivers ‘makes you want to run through a brick wall for him’

In one season, Doc Rivers has helped transformed the Clippers into one of the best teams in the NBA. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)

In one season, Doc Rivers has helped transformed the Clippers into one of the best teams in the NBA. (John McCoy/Staff Photographer)

With the Clippers in the playoffs, the players — among others — are lauding Doc Rivers.

DeAndre Jordan:

“He just makes you want to run through a brick wall for him. That’s what he puts in everybody. And it’s not just because the way he talks, it’s how he looks at you in the eyes so you know that it’s something that he really believes in.”

Chris Paul:

“He’s, to me, probably one of the most competitive persons in the league.”

Blake Griffin:

“Every time he speaks during practice, for me it’s a learning experience…”

Read the full story here: “Doc Rivers gets universal praise for Clippers leadership

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Tuesday’s technical foul on Blake Griffin is upheld by the league

The technical foul issued Blake Griffin during the second quarter of Tuesday’s victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets has been upheld by Rod Thorn, president of basketball operations for the NBA, according to NBA.com.

It was Griffin’s 16th technical of the season, meaning he must serve a one-game suspension without pay when the team visits Portland in Wednesday’s regular-season finale.

The technical occurred when Griffin was guarding Denver’s Timofey Mozgov. Mozgov was driving to the basket and as he was about to shoot Griffin raked the ball out of his hands, Griffin’s hand scraping the face of Mozgov with the follow-through.

Other than the cash, the suspension is moot because Griffin wasn’t going to play Wednesday anyway. Coach Doc Rivers told reporters in Tuesday’s  post-game news conference he had already decided to hold Griffin and J.J. Redick back from the trip.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ franchise-tying 56th victory

- It was of course great to see Jamal Crawford back out there. Even better was that he hit two clutch 3-point baskets to help his team pull away for the 117-101 victory over a poor yet stubborn Kings team on Saturday.

- Yes, it was the franchise-tying 56th victory of the season for the Clippers. That’s all good, but that won’t mean much of the Clippers don’t advance past the first round of the playoffs.

- Unless something weird happens, DeAndre Jordan is about a lock to finish as the NBA’s regular-season leader in field goal percentage and rebounding. He is currently averaging 13.7 rebounds, ahead of second-place Andre Drummond of Detroit (13.2). With his 9-for-13 performance against the Kings, he’s now shooting 67.5 percent from the field; Drummond is second at 62.5. Only two other players have ever led the league in both categories – Wilt Chamberlain (8 times) and Dwight Howard.

- That said, Jordan needs to improve his free-throw shooting. That’s not news. But he was just 3 of 11 against the Kings, dropping his season average to 43.4 percent. It’s true that he was even worse last season – 38.6 percent – but still, he’s gotta get better there. He’s shooting 42.7 percent in his six years in the league.

- We say this a lot, but man oh man, you have got to love the way Blake Griffin plays. The man is a beast, but he’s also become a great passer. He had nine assists against the Kings, and some of them were beautiful things to see.

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Come on, let’s get to the post-season already

Saturday’s game against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center was interesting in that the visitors from up north came in with a record of 27-52 with, obviously, no playoffs in their immediate future.

Yet the Kings really made the Clippers work for the 117-101 victory. With 8:55 left in the game, the Clippers (56-24) held just a two-point lead at 91-89. One contributor is apparently a matchup situation. Their terrible record notwithstanding, the Kings played the Clippers tough all four games. The Clippers won the other three by just nine, one and six points.

Also, the Clippers are anxious for the playoffs to begin.

“You know, it’s interesting, certain games are a little tougher than others just because one team may not be playing for anything and another team might, but it’s a necessary thing,” Blake Griffin said. “You’ve got to play whole schedule and all that, but it would kind of be nice to start the playoffs when you’re ready.”

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Doc Rivers: Kevin Durant is MVP, Blake Griffin is second

Coach Doc Rivers on Wednesday night was asked about the MVP race. His reply was only partially surprising.

“I think (Kevin) Durant’s had the best year,” Rivers said of the Oklahoma City star. “I still think LeBron (James) is the best player in the NBA, but I think Durant has had an MVP year. I really believe that. I don’t know who has had a better year. And I honestly think Blake would be right behind him, in my opinion, but I don’t think I have a vote.”

Blake Griffin could finish third in the voting, but Durant and James figure to be first and second one way or the other.

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