Five things to take from the Clippers’ 105-100 victory over the Lakers

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

– It figured it would be more difficult to dispatch the lowly Lakers in this one if for no other reason than professional pride. The Lakers were embarrassed Sunday, getting down by 43 points before losing by 28 (106-78) and there was probably no way that was going to happen again just two days later with that butt-kicking fresh in the minds of not only the Lakers, but the Clippers. It’s called human nature.

Jamal Crawford’s return after missing the previous 17 games with a calf injury went about as expected. A rhythm shooter, Crawford was bound to be rusty, and he was. After making his first shot, he made only one more to finish 2 of 7 from the field with four points. Afterward, he said the 19 minutes felt more like 35 to his legs. Crawford should be back to being Crawford in another game or two.

J.J. Redick once again improved upon the best season of his career by scoring 27 points. He made 9 of 14 from the field, 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Redick has leapfrogged Crawford as the team’s third-leading scorer at 16.4 points per game; Crawford is now at 16.2. Redick averaged 20.6 points in March and he’s at 22.3 in four games this month. He’s shooting 47.8 percent from the field, 43.9 from beyond the arc; both numbers are career bests. The 30-year-old is in his ninth season.

Blake Griffin had a terrific game with 27 points on 11 of 20 shooting. He also had seven rebounds, six assists and a blocked shot. As important as any of that, Griffin hit a big jump-shot with 28.3 seconds to play that went a long way in staving off the hard-playing Lakers. That gave the Clippers a 100-94 lead.

– One of the best things about this game – certainly for the fans – is that Lakers coach Byron Scott did not resort to that ridiculous hack-a-DJ ploy, purposely fouling the poor free-throw shooting DeAndre Jordan. Jordan took just two shots from the free-throw line, missing both. He scored only eight points. But as he often does when he doesn’t score much, he pulled down a whopping 17 rebounds and blocked three shots.

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J.J. Redick praises his team for winning franchise-record 25 games on the road

Blake Griffin goes up for a dunk in Sunday’s victory over the Lakers/Photo by Mark Terrill, Associated Press

 

Sunday’s 106-78 rout of the woeful Lakers was a road game for the Clippers (52-26), and it was their franchise-record 25th road victory of the season. Guard J.J. Redick afterward had no problem praising his team about that.

“You have to have mental toughness,” he said. “A lot of times in the course of a game, teams can make a big run, you might make a big run, and a team might make a run
back, so there’s a lot of ebb and flow to that.

“When you’re playing on the road, if you can kind of weather the runs and weather the crowd, that shows mental toughness. The other night in Portland was a big step for us.”

The Clippers came from 19 points down in the second quarter to win 126-122 this past Wednesday at Portland.

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Blake Griffin just wants to win, so his 40-point night Tuesday means little to him

Blake Griffin

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

 

Blake Griffin on Tuesday night had easily his best game since he returned from an elbow injury. He scored 40 points on 16 of 25 shooting. He also grabbed 12 rebounds, doled out five assists and blocked three shots in 42 1/2 minutes.

But the Clippers lost 110-106 to the rival Golden State Warriors at Staples Center, so to him, the numbers didn’t mean much.

“I don’t really count that (scoring performance) as anything dynamic,” he said when asked to assess his game. “When you walk away with a loss, it does not matter. It doesn’t really mean a lot. There were plenty of things I could have done to help us play better. The bottom line is that we need to be a better team. Championships are not won today, but we still need to improve as a team.”

Griffin’s season-high of 45 points came Dec. 8 in a 121-120 overtime victory over Phoenix.

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Blake Griffin, Doc Rivers not happy about all the cheering for the Warriors

Matt Barnes of the Clippers goes up for a shot in Tuesday’s 110-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors/Staff photo by John McCoy

 

The Golden State Warriors aren’t the only team that has had a strong fan base this season at Staples Center when playing the Clippers. The same could be said when the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat played them there.

But it seemed like all the cheering for the Warriors in their 110-106 victory over the Clippers on Tuesday at Staples Center really rubbed some the wrong way. Blake Griffin, for example, made no bones about how displeased he was during the post-game news conference.

He was asked if it felt like a playoff atmosphere.

“Not really, no,” he said. He was asked why.

“I don’t know, the homecourt advantage is just not there for us,” Griffin said. “So if that’s how it feels in the playoffs, it’s not looking good.”

Coach Doc Rivers also was queried as to whether the ambiance had a post-season feel.

“It did, in some ways,” Rivers said. “I liked our crowd tonight, for the most part. I didn’t like their crowd.”

Having covered Clippers-Warriors games at Oracle Arena in Oakland, believe this, there is almost no cheering for the Clippers.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 110-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin scored 40 points in Tuesday’s loss to Golden State/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

– The absence of sixth-man Jamal Crawford was very obvious in this loss. While the Warriors got a big spark off the bench from post Marreese Speights, who had 13 points, the spark Crawford typically brings was not there to ignite as he missed his 14th consecutive game with a calf injury. Golden State got 34 points from its bench, the Clippers just 12. Sure, the Warriors’ bench played more minutes. But still, in games against the elite teams, Crawford not being in there becomes much more damaging. The good news is Crawford could return after the Clippers come back from their two-game trip that will see them play games Wednesday night at Portland and Saturday night at Denver.

DeAndre Jordan leads the league in field-goal percentage at 70.6, so shooting 1 of 5 in this one was certainly uncharacteristic. Interestingly, he seemed to have a couple of opportunities to throw down dunks but instead tried to lay the ball in the basket. That resulted in misses. Even fans were yelling at Jordan to “dunk the ball.”

Blake Griffin had a monster game. With 40 points on 16 of 25 shooting, he appears all the way back from the staph infection that was surgically removed from his right elbow. His season-high of 45 points came Dec. 8 in a 121-120 overtime victory over Phoenix. Griffin also pulled down 12 rebounds Tuesday, doled out five assists and blocked three shots.

– Considering this game was played at Staples Center and not Oracle Arena, there were way too many Warriors fans present. Both coach Doc Rivers and Griffin complained about that afterward, which was understandable. This isn’t the first time that has happened, but it makes one wonder just how much of a homecourt advantage the Clippers are going to have during the playoffs when they are playing at what are supposed to be the friendly confines of Staples Center.

Chris Paul scored 27 points and had nine assists. But he still had to try and contain Golden State’s Steph Curry, who started out by shooting 1 of 4 before getting hot and finishing 8 of 15 for 27 points of his own. Afterward, Paul said there were three instances where he was in Curry’s chest, yet Curry still made his shot. Tonight (Wednesday), Paul will have his hands full with another dynamic guard – Portland’s Damian Lillard. “It’s a point-guard-driven league,” Paul said.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 119-106 victory over the Boston Celtics

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

– We just can’t say enough about J.J. Redick. He had another terrific game, with 27 points on 11 of 15 shooting - 5 of 6 from 3-point range. Redick is averaging 21.1 points in 15 games this month. He’s shooting 50.9 percent from the field in March, a ridiculous 44.3 from 3-point range.

Blake Griffin has now played eight games since missing the previous 15 with a staph infection in his right elbow. He was outstanding in this one, going for 21 points on 7 of 14 shooting. He made 7 of 9 from the free-throw line, pulled down nine rebounds and doled out four assists. He also had a block and a steal and did not have a turnover. Other than that, he didn’t do a thing. He apparently hit his elbow on the floor in this one, but he told the Orange County Register that although it was a bit sore, he’d be OK.

– There was a down part to this game. The Clippers held a 35-point lead (96-61) with 4:20 left in the third quarter, only to see the Celtics get it all the way down to 11 (111-100) with 4:01 left in the game. When the lead was down to 14 (111-97) with 4:16 left, Doc Rivers had to bring the starters back into the game. Afterward, Rivers said he was not happy with the bench play, which shot a combined 5 of 20 and did not play well on defense.

– As poorly as the bench performed, the starting five was darn good. Besides Redick’s 27 points and Griffin’s 21, Chris Paul had 21 points and 10 assists; Matt Barnes scored 18 and DeAndre Jordan had 15 points and 14 rebounds. But to be perfectly clear, everything was not terrific. Barnes was just 4 of 13 from 3-point range and Jordan made just 3 of 15 from the free-throw line.

– We can’t forget the defense. Yes, it slacked off when the Celtics made their belated run. But on the whole, it was very good. The Celtics shot just 41.9 percent from the field, only 25.8 (8 of 31) from beyond the arc. Those are numbers that Rivers would take every time.

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J.J. Redick scores 27 points as Clippers win seventh straight, 119-106 at Boston

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

J.J. Redick scored 27 points and the Clippers on Sunday won their seventh consecutive game with a 119-106 victory over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden in Boston. Interestingly, the Clippers held a 35-point lead (96-61) with 4:20 left in the third quarter and the Celtics were able to whittle that gigantic deficit down to 14 (111-97) with 4:16 to play in the game.

The Clippers’ starters came back in and then Boston’s Luigi Datome buried a 3-pointer to bring the Celtics within 11 points at 111-100 with 4:01 left before Matt Barnes made a huge put-back after the second of two missed free throws by DeAndre Jordan, who again fell victim to the hack-a-DJ ploy by making just 3 of 15 from the free-throw line.

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin contributed 21 points apiece with Paul also doling out 10 assists and Griffin grabbing nine rebounds. Barnes had 18 points and seven rebounds and Jordan scored 15 points and pulled down 14 rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics (32-41) with 19 points off the bench and Tyler Zeller scored 16.

The Clippers (49-25) now return home to take on the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday at Staples Center. The Warriors have the league’s best record at 60-13.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 119-98 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers

DeAndre Jordan

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

 

– Philadelphia coach Brett Brown utilized the rather disgusting hack-a-DJ in the last 1 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, during which time DeAndre Jordan made just 1 of 8 from the free-throw line on his way to making only 5 of 17. That is 29.4 percent. Jordan is making just 39.4 percent of his free throws on the season. Believe it or not, that is only the fourth worst percentage of his career. He shot 38.5 percent in 2008-09, 37.5 in 2009-10 and 38.6 in 2012-13.

Blake Griffin took only eight shots for the second consecutive game. Sure, he played fewer minutes in those two games – 29 and 27 – because both games were routs; the other game was Wednesday at New York, where the Clippers blasted the Knicks 111-80. But that doesn’t account for the disparity between taking 21 and 19 shots in the previous two games in 37 and 36 minutes, respectively. Griffin needs to stay aggressive. He’s averaging 17 shots per game on the season.

– Getting back to Jordan, he did pull down another 20 rebounds in this one. That means he has grabbed at least 14 in 20 of his past 21 games. He’s averaging 17.6 rebounds in 14 games this month, a league-leading 14.8 on the season.

Spencer Hawes, who has struggled mightily this season, had seven points and eight rebounds off the bench in 19 minutes. The rebounds were one more than the 7-foot-1 reserve had over the previous three games combined. That’s a good thing. Now, he needs to keep on doing it.

Matt Barnes had another solid game in what has been his best month of the season. He scored 15 points while pulling down four rebounds and making four steals with three assists. Barnes shot 4 of 8 – 3 of 7 from 3-point range. He’s averaging 10.1 points on the season, but 12.9 in March, during which he’s shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc.

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Philadelphia coach Brett Brown praises Clippers after they rout his team 119-98

Blake Griffin battles with several 76ers for the ball in Friday night’s 119-98 Clippers victory at Philadelphia/Photo by Matt Slocum, Associated Press

 

Philadelphia coach Brett Brown came away from his team’s 119-98 loss to the Clippers on Friday at Philadelphia very impressed by the Clippers, who also routed his team 127-91 on Jan. 3 at Staples Center.

“They’re one of those teams that are rare,” Brown said. “They can post Blake (Griffin), throw lobs to DeAndre (Jordan), they can bring (J.J.) Redick off the pin-down and they have the killer in pick-and-rolls with Chris Paul.

“So tonight was a great lesson and a great experience to play against a real team that is a few weeks away from going into the playoffs.”

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Clippers clinch playoff berth with 119-98 victory over Philadelphia 76ers

Chris Paul

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

 

Chris Paul scored 25 points, J.J. Redick scored 19 and DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 20 rebounds as the Clippers (48-25)  clinched a playoff berth with a 119-98 victory at Philadelphia on Friday night. The Clippers have won six consecutive games.

Matt Barnes contributed 15 points and Austin Rivers had 13 off the bench. Blake Griffin scored just 10 points but had eight assists and five rebounds.

Nerlens Noel led the 76ers (18-55) with 30 points and 14 rebounds.

The Clippers complete this three-game road trip Sunday at Boston.

 

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