Blake Griffin nearing a milestone and heading toward some history

If Blake Griffin plays in Monday’s game at Minnesota, he will become the No. 7 all-time scorer in franchise history. He has 6,431 points and Ken Norman, who is seventh, has 6,432.

It has taken Griffin not quite four full seasons to get to this point; it took Norman six.

The all-time leading scorer in franchise history is Randy Smith with 12,735. Second is Bob McAdoo with 9,434.

Griffin is averaging 24 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists. He could become the first player since the 1975-76 season to average 24 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in one of his first four years in the NBA. The last person to do that was McAdoo. Others who have done it are Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Elgin Baylor.

Griffin went down with back spasms early in Saturday’s victory at Houston. He is questionable for the game at Minnesota.

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Blake Griffin, Kevin Love not certain to play in Monday’s game at Minnesota

There is a chance that the best player on each team won’t play Monday when the Clippers (52-22) play at Minnesota at 5 p.m.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin played only six minutes before going down with back spasms Saturday in a victory at Houston. He was listed as day-to-day. And it’s doubtful coach Doc Rivers would take a chance on playing Griffin if he is not 100 percent or very close to it. The playoffs are around the corner.

For the T’Wolves (36-36), Kevin Love had a poor game in a loss Sunday at Brooklyn, going for just 14 points and nine rebounds – well below his season averages of 26.2 points and 12.6 rebounds. A story on ESPN.com said Love said afterward that he was “exhausted” and might be getting sick.

The Clippers are 3-0 against Minnesota this season, the victories coming by just two, four and four points. Love had 45 points and 19 rebounds in a 120-116 T’Wolves overtime loss to the Clippers on Dec. 22 at Staples Center.

 

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 118-107 victory at Houston

- First and foremost, coach Doc Rivers is in control of this team. When Glen “Big Baby” Davis went too far in voicing his displeasure over being taken out of the game early in the second quarter, Rivers sent him to the locker room to stay for the rest of the game. Rivers said this in an Associated Press story: “I thought ‘Baby’ was just too emotional and for me if you’re too emotional I just always send you back to the locker room and keep you back there until the next game. But I love ‘Baby.’ I just didn’t think emotionally he was ready to play tonight.”

- The Clippers are really starting to show the mettle it will take them to make a long run in the post-season. When Blake Griffin went down with back spasms after just six minutes of playing time, and then Davis was sent to the locker room early in the second quarter, they were down 13 points. But the Clippers ended up outscoring the Rockets 38-25 in that second quarter on their way to their second consecutive victory on this road trip that still has stops Monday in Minnesota and Wednesday at Phoenix.

- Chris Paul, like a superstar should, is really elevating his game as the playoffs near. As good as he’s been all year, he has shown the past two games what a leader and a great player do when adversity strikes. Paul was 0 of 12 from the field in a loss at New Orleans on Wednesday. He came back with 31 points in a win Thursday at Dallas and 30 more Saturday, when he also came through with 12 assists, five rebounds and three steals. Oh, and he had just one turnover in 39 minutes. Other than that, he didn’t do a thing.

- Really like what Matt Barnes did in this one. Fifteen points and 10 rebounds, including a big 3-pointer late in the game that helped sealed Houston’s fate. Barnes is a hard-nosed guy who plays with lots of emotion. If he’s playing well, it’s such a boost to the team. One thing, his 10 3-point attempts seem a little much. He made three.

- It’s true that center Dwight Howard (ankle) and point guard Patrick Beverley (knee) were out for the Rockets. But Houston was still at home, and the Clippers were still without Griffin – the best player on either team – and reserve Danny Granger (hamstring). This was a solid victory. Keep in mind that’s three road games in three cities in four days for the Clippers.

 

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Blake Griffin out with back spasms, Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis disciplined by Doc Rivers

Clippers forward Blake Griffin had back spasms in the first half of Saturday’s game at Houston and was deemed unlikely to return.

Also, Glen “Big Baby” Davis was sent to the locker room during the first half after some kind of verbal confrontation with coach Doc Rivers. Clippers broadcasters on Prime Ticket did not expect Davis to return, either.

The Clippers, who entered one game ahead of the Rockets in the Western Conference standings, led 61-58 at halftime.

Houston was without center Dwight Howard (ankle) and point guard Patrick Beverley (knee). Also out for the Clippers was reserve Danny Granger.

The Clippers entered play with the ability to clinch a playoff spot with either a victory over the Rockets or a loss by the Dallas Mavericks.

 

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Clippers rally from 11 points down to win by six at Dallas; Chris Paul rebounds nicely

The Clippers on Thursday rallied from an 11-point deficit to outscore the host Dallas Mavericks by 17 points down the stretch to come away with a 109-103 victory. It was a huge win for the Clippers for two reasons: they had just come off a rather stunning loss at New Orleans a night earlier, and Chris Paul scored 31 points after scoring just two at New Orleans and missing all 12 of his field goal attempts.

Paul made 9 of 18 from the field, 4 of 8 from 3-point range. The team made 11 of 26 3-point attempts for 42.3 percent.

Blake Griffin scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, DeAndre Jordan went for 16 points and 15 rebounds and Jamal Crawford had 14 points. Counting 12 points from Matt Barnes and 11 from Darren Collison, the Clippers had six players score in double figures.

Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points for Dallas (43-30), which is a half game behind Phoenix for the No. 8 playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Each time had three players get technical fouls.

The Clippers (51-22) are third in the Western Conference behind front-running San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

Next stop on the five-game road trip is Houston on Saturday.

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Clippers trail New Orleans Pelicans 55-52 at halftime

The 50-21 Clippers trail the 30-40 New Orleans Pelicans 55-52 at halftime in New Orleans.

Jamal Crawford  has 19 points and Matt Barnes has 11 Los Angeles. But Blake Griffin has scored only eight and Chris Paul is scoreless after missing all six of his shots; Paul does have seven assists.

The game is being televised on Prime Ticket

This is the first game of a five-game road trip.

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Blake Griffin believes upcoming road trip important to his team moving forward

Even though the Clippers have won five of their past six road games, they are just 19-16 away from Staples Center. To Blake Griffin, that makes this upcoming five-game trip that begins Wednesday in New Orleans a rather big deal.

“I think it’s important, obviously, you know, for the standings and all that,” said Griffin, whose team is in third place in the Western Conference behind San Antonio and Oklahoma City. “But it’s also important for our own mental state, you know, winning games on the road and things like that. We haven’t really accomplished what we wanted to on the road, so this would be a good opportunity for us to really play against quality teams; obviously, teams who are fighting for a playoff position and also fighting to get into the playoffs.”

After New Orleans, the Clippers will be at Dallas (Thursday), Houston (Saturday), Minnesota (Monday) and Phoenix (April 2). Of the five, only New Orleans and Minnesota don’t have a realistic shot of making the playoffs.

The Clippers (50-21) are 31-5 at home, the best home record in the Western Conference and second in the league to Indiana (32-4).

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Coaching staff got on Clippers during halftime of Saturday’s win over Pistons

When the Clippers entered the locker room at halftime of Saturday’s 112-103 victory over the Detroit Pistons, the coaching staff was not thrilled with them. After leading by as many as 13 points in the first quarter and by 10 at the end of the quarter, they were outscored 29-20 in the second by a Pistons team that came in 25-43.

Blake Griffin talked about what was said by head coach Doc Rivers and company at intermission.

“Doc said we had a whole lot of unnecessary energy,” Griffin said. “I think their (coaches) point was just that when things started going bad, when they made a run, we just kind of had bad energy.

“We didn’t put our heads down and work harder, we just kind of gave up, and that’s on me just as much as anybody. So I’m proud of how we responded.”

The Clippers (49-21), who host Milwaukee on Monday at 7:30 p.m., outscored the Pistons 24-15 in the third quarter and played their best defense of the game.

 

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Blake Griffin likes being on the same team as point guard Chris Paul

Chris Paul had 15 assists in Saturday’s 112-103 victory over the Detroit Pistons at Staples Center. The 6,000th of his career went to Blake Griffin late in the first quarter.

Afterward, there was a lot of talk about Paul’s milestone, including some from Griffin.

“It says a lot about him,” Griffin said. “That’s a great accomplishment and, obviously, he still has a lot more left to do. But it’s fun playing with a guy that makes the game easier for you like that.”

 

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Blake Griffin’s scoring average is highest since his rookie campaign

Blake Griffin had a terrific rookie season in 2010-2011. He averaged 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds. But his numbers declined in each of the next two seasons. He went for 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds his sophomore campaign and 18.0 points and 8.3 rebounds this past season.

Griffin has responded by averaging 24.3 points through 69 games of this, his fourth season in the NBA. His rebounding numbers – he’s averaging 9.7 – still don’t match what he did as a rookie. Then again, center DeAndre Jordan is averaging a league-leading 13.7 rebounds for the Clippers this season, and that makes it difficult for Griffin to grab 12 a game himself.

Jordan averaged 7.2 rebounds during Griffin’s rookie season.

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