Doc Rivers unhappy about his team’s play in the paint in Game 5 loss

 

Austin Rivers, left, and Blake Griffin appear down in the dumps as they are about to lose to the Houston Rockets in Game 5 on Tuesday in Houston/Photo by David J. Phillip, Associated Press

 

 

After the Clippers were routed 124-103 by the Houston Rockets in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinals series at Toyota Center in Houston, it was pointed out to Clippers coach Doc Rivers that the Rockets, who took full advantage of DeAndre Jordan being in game-long foul trouble, outscored the Clippers 64-46 in the paint. With a frown, he intimated that didn’t tell the whole story.

“Yeah, it would have been 80 (points in the paint) if the game was closer,” he said. “The only reason it wasn’t worse is because it was a blowout and they just started shooting jump-shots.”

Five things to take from Clippers’ 124-103 Game 5 loss to the Rockets

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets takes the ball by Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals at the Toyota Center for the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2015 in Houston, Texas.   The Rockets won 124-103. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Blake Griffin plays defense against James Harden of Houston in the Rockets’ 124-103 victory over the Clippers in Game 5 on Tuesday at Toyota Center in Houston/Photo by Scott Halleran, Getty Images

 

– The Rockets played much better defense in this one. The Clippers’ shooting percentage of 41.8 percent bears that out. What really sticks out is that J.J. Redick (3 of 12), Matt Barnes (1 of 8) and Jamal Crawford (2 of 10) were a combined 6 of 30 from the field. That equates to 20 percent for those three. Moreover, they were a combined 3 of 17 from 3-point range, with Redick going 1-for-8. The Rockets, by the way, shot 54.1 percent.

– With DeAndre Jordan getting into early foul trouble – he had his third foul early in the second quarter and fourth midway through the third – he was only able to play just a little more than 24 minutes. That was part of the reason why the Rockets scored more than half of their points – 64 – in the paint. That played right into the hands of James Harden and Dwight Howard. Harden had a triple-double with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists and Howard scored 20 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.

– Speaking of rebounds, the Rockets blasted the Clippers on the boards, outrebounding them by a whopping 58-39 count. Besides Howard’s 15 and Harden’s 11, Josh Smith – who started at forward instead of Terrence Jones – had seven rebounds and Trevor Ariza pulled down eight. Blake Griffin had 16 for the Clippers and Jordan had 11, but no other player had more than five. That was Spencer Hawes.

– The reason the statistics are so much in favor of Houston is because, according to coach Doc Rivers, the Rockets played with a sense or urgency and the Clippers did not. Griffin, who had a good game with 30 points and those 16 rebounds, said his team played “like we had a couple of bullets in the chamber and we can’t do that.”

– With all this, there was actually a bit of good news. Chris Paul played 35 minutes and showed no signs that his left hamstring, which caused him to miss the first two games of this series, was bothering him. He scored 22 points on 9 of 16 shooting – 4 of 9 from 3-point range. He also doled out 10 assists.

Hack-a-DJ sends DeAndre Jordan to FT line 28 times in half, Clippers up 60-54

 

 

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

With Hack-a-DJ being used to disgusting proportions, the Clippers on Sunday took a 60-54 lead over the Houston Rockets into the halftime break of Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinals at Staples Center.

Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan scored 12 points apiece in the half. Rockets coach Kevin McHale went to the Hack-a-DJ in the first quarter, with Jordan shooting 14 free throws, making seven. He shot 14 more in the second quarter, but made just three more to finish 10 of 28.

Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford scored eight points apiece and Austin Rivers had seven.

Trevor Ariza led Houston with 15 first-half points and Terrence Jones and James Harden each scored 10.

Chris Paul has six points, six assists as Clippers lead Rockets 64-57 at half

Chris Paul

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

 

J.J. Redick scored 16 points and Blake Griffin had 13 and the Clippers took a 64-57 lead over the Houston Rockets into the halftime break of Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinals series at Staples Center.

Chris Paul, playing for the first time in the series – which is tied 1-1 – because of a strained left hamstring, played 16 minutes and scored six points while doing out six assists. He made 3 of 9 from the field.

Sixth-man Jamal Crawford had nine points.

Dwight Howard led Houston with 14 points in the half, Terrence Jones scored 12, Jason Terry 11 and James Harden 10.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 115-109 Game 2 loss to the Rockets

Blake Griffin

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

 

– Remember Game 1 when the Rockets held a 13-point lead in the second quarter and the Clippers came back and got them? Well, the Clippers held a 13-point lead early in the third quarter of this one, and the Rockets came back and got them. It just goes to show how quickly the momentum can change. That’s why staying focused on the task at hand 100 percent of the time is so darn important. Think about it. The Clippers outscored the Rockets 41-21 in the second quarter and once they took that 13-point lead, they appeared almost a cinch to come back to L.A. up 2-0 in the series. They had all the momentum, the Rockets appeared bewildered and their fans were really bummed out. Poof, just like magic, the Rockets started to roll.

Jamal Crawford had his fourth poor shooting night in nine playoff games. He made just 6 of 22 from the field, 1 of 8 from 3-point range. He is now shooting 37.3 percent in the postseason, just 21.7 percent (10 of 46) from 3-point range. He has to be better. He did have five rebounds and five assists to go with his 19 points.

– The Clippers were whistled for 40 personal fouls to 27 for Houston. The Rockets were 42 of 64 (65.6 percent) from the free-throw line, the Clippers 25 of 32 (78.1 percent). Doc Rivers did not blast the officials afterward, but he jokingly said, “They shot 117 free throws tonight.” Some of them were because of intentional fouls.

Blake Griffin scored 26 points in the first half on 11 of 14 shooting and appeared on his way to 40 points or more. But he was just 2 of 9 in the second half for eight points and a total of 34. Sure, Griffin still had a solid game. The Rockets made some adjustments, the Clippers kept going to Griffin and the results were not good.

– If the Clippers had won this game to take a 2-0 series lead, we might have been saying the Clippers could afford to set Chris Paul one more game to make sure he’s good for the next round. But if he’s close to 100 percent, he needs to play because the Clippers needs him – plain and simple. And he will because he has plenty of heart. This was a season-saving victory for the Rockets. And if they steal one at Staples Center, they’ll have back their homecourt advantage and that could be dangerous.

Clippers outscore Rockets 41-21 in second quarter to lead 65-56 at break

Blake Griffin

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

 

The Clippers trailed by 11 points at 35-24 after one quarter Wednesday night in Game 2 against the host Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. But the Clippers roared back to outscore the Rockets by 20 points (41-21) in the second quarter to take a 65-56 lead into the halftime break.

This, without Chris Paul, who remains out with a left hamstring strain.

Blake Griffin was unbelievably good. He scored 26 points on 11 of 14 shooting. He also grabbed five rebounds and doled out three assists.

DeAndre Jordan contributed 10 points even though he didn’t play much of the first quarter after getting two quick fouls. Lester Hudson came through with two big baskets and five points.

The Rockets, who got 16 points from Dwight Howard and 12 from James Harden in the half, continued their turnovers trend with 10. Harden, who had nine in Monday’s Game 1 loss to the Clippers, had five of those.