Chris Paul doesn’t mind 48 minutes, he just hates to lose

Chris Paul is being defended by Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics in Wednesday’s game/AP photo by Charles Krupa

 

Chris Paul played 48 of a possible 53 minutes in the Clippers’ 139-134 overtime loss at Boston on Wednesday. Paul played more than anyone else on either team and he led the  Clippers with 35 points on 13 of 21 shooting, 13 assists, five rebounds, three steals and just two turnovers.

He was tired.

“Yeah, somewhat, but after a while you’re just like, ‘Man, win the game,’ ” he said. “There ain’t no point playing all these minutes if you don’t win. So, it is what it is.”

The Clippers finished the road trip 3-1 and will take a record of 35-17 into the All-Star break. They resume play Feb. 18 when they play host to San Antonio (45-8) at Staples Center. The Clippers are fourth in the Western Conference, the Spurs are second.

 

Five things to take from Clippers’ 98-92 overtime victory over 76ers

Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul (3) goes up for the shot with Philadelphia 76ers' Nerlens Noel (4) defending during overtime of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Philadelphia. The Clippers won 98-92 in overtime.

Chris Paul goes up for a shot while Nerlens Noel of Philadelphia defends/AP photo by Chris Szagola

 

– This is the second consecutive game in which Chris Paul got off to a horrible start shooting the ball. He began 1 of 7 and finished 5 of 18, 0 of 3 from 3-point range. He did make 9 of 10 from the free-throw line, doled out seven assists and made four steals. In Sunday’s win at Miami, Paul started 0 of 9 before finishing 8 of 23 from the field.

DeAndre Jordan had a dominant performance inside, pulling down 21 rebounds to go along with scoring 12 points and blocking three shots. Jordan is now averaging 14.0 rebounds and he’s inching closer to Andre Drummond of Detroit, who is averaging a league-high 14.9.

J.J. Redick showed good recovery skills in this game. He started by making just 1 of 9 from the field, but made six of his final nine shots to finish 7 of 18 with 23 points. Redick hit a 3-point basket with 10 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

– The Clippers shot a very poor 36.8 percent from the field, a woeful 22.7 percent (5 of 22) from 3-point range. Wesley Johnson was the worst offender, shooting just 3 of 13, 1 of 7 from beyond the arc. Although the Clippers did well to come back from 19 points down in the second quarter, if they had played anyone other than the 76ers (8-44) – the team with the league’s worst record – they don’t win.

– With Austin Rivers (fractured hand) on the shelf, the bench was not at full strength. Jamal Crawford picked up the slack by scoring 23 points on 9 of 21 shooting in 39 minutes. He also had three assists and two steals.

BONUS TAKE: The Clippers (35-17) are now 18-4 without Blake Griffin (fractured hand).

Five things to take from Clippers’ 100-93 victory Sunday at Miami

Los Angeles Clippers forward Lance Stephenson, right, goes to the basket as Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Miami.

Lance Stephenson of the Clippers goes to the basket as Miami’s Hassan Whiteside defends/AP photo by Lynne Sladky

 

Chris Paul began this game 0 of 9 from the floor. He went 2 of 15 in the first half. He finished 8 of 23, meaning he made eight of his final 14 shots. Consecutive 3-pointers by Paul down the stretch helped seal Miami’s fate. The clutch baskets no doubt made it easier for Paul to forget his early shooting woes. Paul made a 5-footer for a 100-88 lead with 53 seconds left, for the final nail in the coffin.

– The Clippers did not shoot particularly well. They made 45.7 percent of their field goals overall, 36 percent (9 of 25) from 3-point range. They were not good at all from the free-throw line, making just 51.5 percent (17 of 33). DeAndre Jordan was 3 of 14. But the Clippers still won because they took care of the ball, committing just six turnovers, and because they helped hold Miami to 39.8 percent shooting; the Heat also had 13 turnovers, with Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragic making four apiece.

– The bench had another strong showing, outscoring Miami’s 46-25. Jamal Crawford had 20 points, Wesley Johnson scored 10 and Lance Stephenson nine. Johnson and Stepheson both shot 4 of 5, with Crawford going 7 of 19 from the field, just 2 of 7 from beyond the arc.

– Speaking of the bench, Cole Aldrich pulled down 11 rebounds in just 13 minutes and 18 seconds of action. Too bad he couldn’t make his free throws, going 1 of 5 from the line. He had two baskets and scored five points.

Hassan Whiteside entered this game averaging a league-high 4.0 blocks. But Whiteside played his third consecutive game off the bench after he missed the previous six with a hip injury. He played just under 17 minutes – he averages 28.6 – and did not have a block. When Whiteside is on, he can be a dominant force. It was just Friday when Whiteside had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks for a rare kind of triple double. So for him to have no blocks in this game is kind of a big deal. He did have 10 rebounds to go along with 10 points.

Chris Paul knew if he kept shooting, things would change

Chris Paul drives to the basket during Sunday’s game as Goran Dragic, middle, and Amar’e Stoudemire of Miami look on/AP photo by Lynne Sladkee

 

Statistics show Chris Paul made 8 of 23 shots from the field during the Clippers’ 100-93 victory at Miami in a Sunday matinee. What the box score doesn’t show is that he missed his first nine shots before finally getting one to go in.

Paul ended up scoring 22 points and hit a couple of big 3-pointers down the stretch to help the Clippers (34-17) to their 17th victory in 21 games without Blake Griffin.

Paul intimated afterward he was confident the early struggles wouldn’t continue. He made eight of his final 14 shots.

“Yeah. I was frustrated early because it wouldn’t go in,” Paul said. “Luckily, and unfortunately, that’s not my first time missing a bunch of shots like that early. I just sort of knew if I just kept shooting, that would change.”

 

Chris Paul knows how important this trip is for the Clippers

 

DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers, left, gets ready to go up for a shot while being defended by Orlando’s Aaron Gordon during Friday’s game won by the Clippers/AP photo by John Raoux

 

Considering how well the Clippers have done since Blake Griffin went out, the last thing they want is to ruin their work by going into a slump before the All-Star break. That’s why Friday’s 107-93 victory at Orlando was big, especially considering the Clippers were coming off an unlikely loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday at Staples Center.

“We just tried to come into the game focused and understand how important this trip is for us going into the break,” said point guard Chris Paul, who scored 21 points, doled out six assists, made four steals but committed six turnovers. “We tried to play with a sense of urgency and that is what we did.”

The Clippers – 16-4 without Griffin – next play Sunday morning at 11 at Miami (29-22). The Clippers (33-17) will play at Philadelphia on Monday and finish the trip Wednesday at Boston.

“We have to keep it going,” Paul said. “At the end of the day, it’s about wins and losses. It is a good win for us and now we have to go to Miami.”

The Clippers return from the All-Star break to play host to San Antonio on Feb. 18 and Golden State on Feb. 20.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 107-93 victory at Orlando

 

 

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Lance Stephenson continued his recent surge by scoring 13 points on 6 of 6 shooting. He hit a buzzer-beating basket at the end of the third quarter after the Magic had cut a nine-point deficit to just two, then scored the Clippers’ first seven points of the fourth to regain that nine-point cushion.

Austin Rivers didn’t play because of a hand injury, so sixth-man Jamal Crawford played 35 minutes. He came through with 20 points on 8 of 14 shooting. However, Crawford was 0 of 4 from 3-point range. He did have three steals.

– Speaking of the 3-point line, the Clippers shot just 29.6 percent (8 of 27) from there. But they shot 54.1 percent overall, so no problem there.

DeAndre Jordan had another monster rebounding game, coming through with 18 to help the Clippers out-rebound the Magic 44-39. Jordan has 19, 19, 17, 20, 15 and 18 rebounds his past six games.

– The down side to this victory was that the Clippers – including one team turnover – committed a whopping 21 turnovers. Point guard Chris Paul had six of them.