Doc Rivers likes performance without Blake Griffin, but doesn’t go overboard in praising team’s 9-5 record without him

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers,


Clippers coach Doc Rivers is always very careful with what he says to reporters. You could say he practices diplomacy.

For example, after the Clippers won Wednesday 120-108 at Oklahoma City, Rivers was asked about the growth of his team without the injured Blake Griffin. Griffin has missed the past 14 games because of a staph infection in his right elbow. Several Clippers – most notably Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick and reserve Glen “Big Baby” Davis – have really picked up the slack in Griffin’s absence.

But Rivers did not go crazy about that with his response.

“Yeah, I guess. I mean, I don’t know,” he said. “We have had some tough games in the stretches that Blake has been out, and to win some of these games has been big for us, especially to win some on the road; those are huge wins for us.”

It’s almost as if Rivers either doesn’t want to jinx his team by saying just how well it has played without Griffin, or he doesn’t want Griffin or anyone else thinking that Griffin is not as important as he truly is to this team. Sure, he complimented his team, but seemed to temper his remarks.

The Clippers are 9-5 without Griffin. Six of the victories have come against teams that are either a virtual lock to make the playoffs or in the case of two victories over OKC, a team that likely will make the post-season but has more of a fight on its hands to get there.

Bottom line is, yes, the Clippers are doing very well sans Griffin. But they’ll never go that far in the post-season without him. There is no question about that.


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Blake Griffin could return Sunday against the Houston Rockets

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers,


A spokesman for the Clippers on Thursday told this newspaper it’s possible Blake Griffin could return Sunday when the Clippers host the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. If not, then Tuesday at home against the Charlotte Hornets would be the next opportunity.

The spokesman also said that there is still no definitive timetable for the return of sixth-man Jamal Crawford.

Griffin had a staph infection removed from his right elbow Feb. 9 and has missed the past 14 games, during which the Clippers are  9-5. Crawford has missed four consecutive games with a right calf strain.

The two players have combined to average 38.9 points. Griffins is averaging 22.5 points, Crawford 16.4.

The Clippers (42-23) next play Friday at Dallas (41-25).

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Five things to take from the Clippers’ 120-108 victory at Oklahoma City

Chris Paul goes up for two of his 33 points with OKC’s Russell Westbrook guarding him/Photo by Alonzo Adams, Associated Press


- Point guard Chris Paul had a terrific game. He scored 33 points on 11 of 19 shooting - 5 of 8 from 3-point range. He also helped throw a blanket over OKC point guard Russell Westbrook, who has been phenomenal this season – especially of late. Since Feb. 2 he had produced six 40-plus point games and six triple-doubles. He was held to 24 points Wednesday on 5 of 14 shooting. He was just 2 of 8 from the field for seven points and seven of his 10 turnovers while Paul was guarding him. Paul has averaged 22 points and 13.4 assists in the past 14 games, all of which have been missed by Blake Griffin (elbow).

- J.J. Redick also came up with another fine performance. He scored 25 points with five rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Redick has averaged 22.6 points in five games this month while shooting a combined 48.3 percent from the field – 41 percent from beyond the arc.

- What the heck is going on with Spencer Hawes? He scored just four points on 1 of 7 shooting in 31 1/2 minutes of action. The 7-foot-1 big gathered only three rebounds. In his past five games he’s made just 11 of 40 field-goal attempts (27.5 percent) while averaging 5.8 points and just 3.6 rebounds. In one of those games, Monday’s victory over Minnesota, Hawes had one measly rebound in 23 minutes. Though a center by trade, Hawes has been starting at power forward for Griffin.

- Matt Barnes was feeling it in this one. The small forward out of UCLA burned the Thunder for 22 points on 6 of 8 shooting. Barnes made all of his field-goal attempts from 3-point range, going 6 of 7 from beyond the arc. Barnes also was solid on defense as he came through with three steals and two blocks.

- So the Thunder and coach Scott Brooks went to the hack-a-DJ ploy in this one and DeAndre Jordan responded by making 12 of 22 from the free-throw line. That is 54.5 percent. For someone shooting just 41 percent on the season, that is not too shabby. Beginning with 7:50 left in the game, Jordan made seven of his final 10 free-throw attempts. He had 17 points and 18 rebounds.

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It’s highly doubtful Blake Griffin will return Sunday at Golden State

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin will likely not return Sunday at Golden State/Photo by Los Angeles Clippers,


Although there seemed a possibility Blake Griffin could be back Sunday for the game at Golden State, Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Saturday indicated that is doubtful.

Rivers said before practice that Griffin did not practice Friday and he did not expect him to practice Saturday. Asked if Griffin might return Sunday, Rivers said, “No, I don’t think so.”

Griffin has missed the past 11 games with a staph infection in his right elbow, which was surgically removed Feb. 9. The Clippers (40-22) are 7-4 without Griffin with five of the victories coming against playoff-bound teams.


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Doc Rivers still doesn’t know if Blake Griffin will return Sunday at Golden State

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers,


Coach Doc Rivers on Wednesday said there is a possibility Blake Griffin could be back for Sunday’s game at Golden State, which walloped the Clippers by 17 points (121-104) – it was worse than that – on Nov. 5 at Oracle Arena. Griffin was seen shooting left-handed Friday before practice began at the team’s facility in Playa Vista. He had a splint on his surgically repaired right elbow.

“I don’t know yet, we’ll see,” Rivers said Friday of the availability of Griffin on Sunday; he has missed the past 11 games. “We have two days of practice, so we’ll know more.”

Rivers was queried as to whether Griffin would practice Friday.

“I don’t know yet,” he said. “I really don’t. I don’t think so, would be my guess. But if he does, that’s obviously a good sign.”

Rivers scoffed at the notion that Griffin might come back a bit early because of Golden State, which leads the Western Conference with a 47-12 record.

“No, no,” Rivers said. “Blake’s going to come back when he’s healthy. We’re not going to throw a guy out there because it’s Golden State.”

The Clippers (40-22) are 7-4 without Griffin.

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DeAndre Jordan has Chris Paul’s back after Clippers fall 90-87 to Grizzlies

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers,


DeAndre Jordan wanted to make one thing perfectly clear after his Clippers were defeated 90-87 by the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night at Staples Center. Yes, Chris Paul was harassed into a turnover with 1.5 seconds to play while trying to work for a shot that could have won the game as the Clippers were trailing just 88-87 at the time. But without Paul’s 30 points and 10 assists, the Clippers would not have even been in the position to try to win the game.

“It happens,” said Jordan, who had nine points and 17 rebounds. “We’re going to live and die with Chris and Blake (Griffin) at the end of the game. It was tough because he (Paul) played well the entire game and it (came down to) one play. … Without Chris, we’re not in this game down the stretch. You’ve got to give him credit.”

The Clippers (37-20) are now 4-2 without Griffin, who is out with an elbow injury.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 119-115 victory over the San Antonio Spurs

DeAndre Jordan, left, did not let San Antonio’s hack-a-DJ ploy stop him from helping the Clippers defeat the Spurs 119-115 on Thursday at Staples Center/Staff photo by Scott Varley


- DeAndre Jordan’s season free-throw percentage is down to 40.8 after he made just 10 of 28 in this one while the Spurs and their coach – Gregg Popovich – tried to ruin a good game with their pathetic hack-a-DJ trash. Jordan and the Clippers got the last laugh, of course, by emerging victorious. Jordan scored 26 points with 18 rebounds and three steals. Jordan has now scored 22, 24 and 26 points in the past three games – all victories.

- The Clippers (36-19) are now 3-1 without the injured Blake Griffin. The loss was to OKC, the three wins over Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. That is very impressive.

- Glen “Big Baby” Davis had himself quite a game. Not only did he score 10 points with six rebounds, a steal and a block in 16 1/2 minutes off the bench, his enthusiasm was off the charts. More than once, after making a hustle play, Davis whooped it up with the crowd in
demonstrative fashion. Doc Rivers said were it not for Davis, the Clippers would have lost this game.

- As nice of a guy as Jamal Crawford is, it wasn’t hard to tell he wasn’t all that thrilled with his name being mentioned in trade rumors ahead of Thursday’s trading deadline. What does he do? He goes out and scores 26 points while making 5 of 7 from 3-point range. Many of those points were of the clutch variety, and Crawford also had five assists, two steals and a block.

- What can you say about Chris Paul? The man just does it all. He scored 22 points, doled out 16 assists with five rebounds while – as always – showing great leadership on the floor. More than once he took aside a teammate to calmly explain something to him during the game. OK, so he had four turnovers. But he played 40 minutes and, hey, no one’s perfect.

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Doc Rivers just wants to take one game at a time while Blake Griffin is on mend

Doc Rivers/Photo by Associated Press


The Clippers (35-19) have 28 games remaining in the regular season beginning Thursday night when they play host to the San Antonio Spurs (34-19) in the first game for both teams following the All-Star break.

Blake Griffin, who has missed the past three games because of a staph infection in his right elbow – he had surgery to remove it Feb. 9 – figures to miss at least eight  of those remaining games, so coach Doc Rivers on Wednesday was queried as to what he is hopeful of accomplishing while Griffin is on the mend.

“Right now, Blake’s out,” Rivers said, “so right now we want to see individual games and try to squeeze out as many wins as we can. That’s the mode we have to be in right now. When Blake comes back, then we can start rebuilding and getting ready for the next step. But right now, we’re just trying to go game-to-game and focus that way.”

The Clippers are sixth in the Western Conference standings, a half-game behind fifth-place Dallas (36-19) and a half-game ahead of seventh-place San Antonio.

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Blake Griffin discusses timeline that led to discovery of staph infection in elbow

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers,


Blake Griffin on Wednesday told reporters that his right elbow is feeling better after surgery Feb. 9 to remove a staph infection. He didn’t provide a timetable for his return, but he’s expected out anywhere from three to six weeks.

Griffin said he first noticed there might be a problem two days after having the elbow drained on Feb. 2 while the team was in Brooklyn.

“A couple of days later, started feeling something in  my elbow,” Griffin said. “I got sick at the same time, but didn’t really put the two together. I’ve gotten my elbow drained 20 times in my life and never had a problem, so I didn’t really think anything of it.

“And then Thursday (Feb. 5) before the Cleveland game, it was really giving me a lot of problems and then after the game I couldn’t extend my elbow without pain. I didn’t think I was going to be able to play in Toronto, but over that 24-hour span, that’s when I knew something was wrong.”

Griffin did play in the Clippers’ 123-107 loss at Toronto on Feb. 6 and scored 26 points with nine assists and six rebounds. But he did not play two days later at Oklahoma City, where he was sent to the hospital and the staph infection was discovered.

The Clippers lost big (131-108) at OKC, but came back to beat Dallas (115-98) at Dallas and Houston (110-95) at Staples Center before the All-Star break, giving the Clippers (35-19) a 2-1 record without Griffin, their leading scorer and arguably their best player.

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Report: Blake Griffin’s attorney given more time to resolve misdemeanor case

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers,


Blake Griffin’s attorney – Richard Schonfeld – for the second time in a month Monday was given more time to resolve a misdemeanor battery charge Griffin is facing for allegedly grabbing the cell phone of Daniel Schuman and slapping him inside Tao Nightclub in Las Vegas on Oct. 19. Griffin allegedly was unhappy that Schuman was taking photos of him and some Clippers teammates.

Schonfeld in January was also granted more time to try and resolve the issue out of court. He now has until March 24 to do so, according to a report by the Associated Press. Griffin did not appear in court with Schonfeld.


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