Five things to take from Clippers’ 98-93 overtime loss to the Trail Blazers

Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis tries to block a shot by Portland’s Chris Kaman in Wednesday’s 98-93 overtime loss to the Trail Blazers/Photo by Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

- This was the kind of loss that can stick with some teams. The Clippers had a 10-point lead with less than three minutes to play in regulation. Chris Paul had a big turnover down the stretch – he had five in the game – and coach Doc Rivers was upset about open 3-pointers by Wes Matthews and Nicolas Batum buried during that time: “Those can’t happen,” the coach said afterward. Now, after falling apart the way they did, they have to travel to Golden State for a game Sunday against the Warriors (47-12), the No. 1 team in the Western Conference standings.

- DeAndre Jordan obviously made a mistake when he took the rebound off Paul’s miss near the end of regulation. Had Paul’s shot gone in, it likely would have won the game because there were just 0.7 seconds left on the game clock. That’s the problem. Jordan had time to put the ball back up, and he was right under the basket. He apparently thought the sound he heard was the horn sounding the end of regulation. Instead, it was the shot-clock buzzer that had gone off. Paul screamed at Jordan to put the ball back up, but Jordan just held it until it was too late. Jordan left before speaking to reporters post-game, so one has to wonder how he’s going to react to what happened. Not only to what he did, but the way Paul screamed at him – almost viciously – to shoot the ball. Jordan has played a huge role in the Clippers’ success without Blake Griffin, so if he goes in the tank for a spell, that will be a very bad thing.

- With all that said, the Clippers hung very tough against a fine team in the Trail Blazers even though they were without Griffin (elbow), Matt Barnes (hamstring) and Jamal Crawford (calf strain). They out-played Portland most of the way until their meltdown at the end of regulation. Their spirit broken, they were unable to hang in overtime.

- Paul scored 36 points and doled out 12 assists. But because there were so many players not playing, he had to take a season-high 29 shot attempts. His previous high was 23. Paul did make 14 of his shots in this loss, but J.J. Redick also had to take a season-high in shot attempts with 27 and he only made 11 (he had 26 points). Redick’s previous high in shot attempts was 16.

- It was a shame to waste such a fine defensive effort the Clippers had on Portland’s All-Star guard Damian Lillard. Lillard scored just five points while making 1 of 13 from the field. Lillard is averaging 21.3 points this season. Interestingly, the 6-foot-3 guard grabbed 18 rebounds. How the heck does that happen? He’s only averaging 4.8 on the season.

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VIDEO: Check out Chris Paul screaming at DeAndre Jordan to put the ball back up at the end of regulation Wednesday

Chris Paul is intense, to be sure. When he missed what could have been a game-winning shot Wednesday night against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center, DeAndre Jordan grabbed the rebound. Thinking the noise he heard was the horn sounding the end of regulation, Jordan just held the ball over his head as Paul screamed at him to shoot. You see, what Jordan heard was the 24-second-shot buzzer, and there were still 0.7 seconds left when he took the rebound. He could have put the ball back up, thus Paul’s frenzied attempt to get Jordan to do so. Eventually, the Clippers lost 98-93 in overtime after blowing a 10-point lead down the stretch in regulation. Check out Paul screaming at Jordan to put the ball back up:

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Chris Paul, now 18th, continues to move up on the all-time assists leaderboard

Chris Paul

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

 

Point guard Chris Paul continues to move up on the all-time assists leaderboard. His 14 assists in Monday’s victory at Minnesota moved him past Kevin Johnson into 18th-place on the all-time assists leaderboard. Paul had 6,724 heading into action Wednesday against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Wednesday night. Next up at No. 17 is Muggsy Bogues, who had 6,726. Among the big-name players Paul has passed this season are Jerry West (6,238)  and John Havlicek (6,114).

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Chris Paul talks about tough shot over Kevin Garnett late in win at Minnesota

Chris Paul

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

 

There were two very big baskets by the Clippers down the stretch in their 110-105 victory Monday night at Minnesota. Spencer Hawes buried a 3-pointer for a 105-101 lead with 1:31 to play. Then, with 38 seconds left, Chris Paul made a 19-footer over the 6-foot-11 Kevin Garnett for a 108-103 lead, all but sealing the Timberwolves’ fate.

Since Paul is only 6-foot, his shot over Garnett was not easy to make.

“I tried to get the iso (isolated play),” Paul said. “They took away my step-back and I put up a tough one and it went down.”

Paul scored 26 points and had 14 assists.

 

 

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 110-105 victory Monday at Minnesota

Jordan Hamilton

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

 

- Jordan Hamilton started for the injured Matt Barnes (hamstring) and came through with 10 points and three rebounds in just under 26 minutes. He made 2 of 6 from 3-point range and did not commit a turnover. It was a solid showing for his first dose of real minutes since joining the Clippers on a 10-day contract last week. He had played a total of three minutes in two previous games.

- It might seem like this is a game the Clippers were supposed to win. After all, they are 40-21 and in fifth-place in the Western Conference standings and the Timberwolves are now 13-46 and in last. But not only were the Clippers missing Blake Griffin (elbow) and Barnes, they lost Jamal Crawford (calf contusion) at halftime and J.J. Redick was ejected with 1:06 left in the game. For all those reasons, this was a good victory. It was the Clippers’ seventh in 10 games since Griffin went down.

- DeAndre Jordan pulled down 18 rebounds, giving him nine consecutive games with at least 15; he has had at least 20 in four of them. Jordan has upped his league-leading average to 14.4.

- Chris Paul had a game-high 26 points with 14 assists and three steals. It was his league-leading 14th game this season with at least 20 points and 10 assists.

- Austin Rivers had a solid showing in 25-plus minutes off the bench. He scored 13 points on 5 of 9 shooting and doled out four assists. Perhaps as importantly, the 6-foot-4 guard showed heart when he did not back down from 6-foot-11 Kevin Garnett when the two exchanged words after Rivers bumped Garnett on his way back to his bench after a timeout and Garnett responded with an elbow.

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Short-handed Clippers find a way to get past lowly Minnesota 110-105

Chris Paul

Chris Paul had 26 points and 14 rebounds in Monday’s victory at Minnesota/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers on Monday night at Minnesota were without Blake Griffin (elbow) and Matt Barnes (hamstring) and lost Jamal Crawford (calf contusion) and J.J. Redick (ejected) during the game and still managed to defeat the Timberwolves 110-105 at Target Center. The Clippers finished their four-game road trip with three consecutive victories.

Chris Paul led the way with 26 points, 14 assists and three steals as the Clippers (40-21) are now 7-3 without Griffin.

J.J. Redick scored 18 before being tossed late, Austin Rivers scored 13 off the bench with four assists, DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 18 rebounds, Glen “Big Baby” Davis scored 12 off the bench and Jordan Hamilton had 10 points; the recently  acquired Hamilton started in place of Barnes. Crawford scored nine.

Leading just 102-101, Spencer Hawes (8 points, 5 rebounds) made a 3-pointer for a 105-101 Clippers lead with 1:31 to play. Paul made  a 19-footer with 38 ticks left for a 108-103 advantage.

Gary Neal led Minnesota (13-46) with 19 points, Ricky Rubio had a triple-double with 18 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists and Andrew Wiggins scored 18.

The Clippers will now come home to play host to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday at Staples Center. The Clippers are in fifth in the Western Conference standings, just a half-game behind Portland (39-19).

 

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After leading by 18, Clippers down by two points at halftime at Minnesota

Chris Paul

Chris Paul had 19 points and nine assists in the first half Monday at Minnesota/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers on Monday night at Minnesota led by 18 points (36-18) with 50 seconds left in the first quarter. They trailed by two (60-58) at halftime. That’s a 20-point turnaround against the worst team in the Western Conference as Minnesota entered play with a record of 13-45.

The Clippers (39-21) – 6-3 without the injured Blake Griffin (elbow) – got 19 points and nine assists from Chris Paul in the half. Jamal Crawford scored nine points, J.J. Redick eight and DeAndre Jordan had six points and nine rebounds.

Recently signed Jordan Hamilton started for Matt Barnes at small forward because Barnes is out with a hamstring injury. Hamilton scored five points in the first quarter and did not score in the second.

Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine scored 12 points apiece for the Timberwolves in the half.

 

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Jordan Hamilton starts for injured Matt Barnes on Monday night in Minnesota

Jordan Hamilton

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

 

Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Monday night at Minnesota started recently signed Jordan Hamilton in place of Matt Barnes, who sustained a hamstring injury in Sunday’s 96-86 victory at Chicago.

Hamilton, on a 10-day contract, scored five points on 2 of 3 shooting while playing nine minutes of the first quarter, after which the Clippers led the T’Wolves 36-23.

Chris Paul led the Clippers (39-21) with 10 points in the quarter.

Kevin Garnett and Gorqui Dieng scored six points apiece for Minnesota (13-45).

Barnes was in street clothes. He could be back Wednesday when the Clippers play host to Portland.

 

 

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Chris Paul bemoans all the points Rockets earned from 3-point, FT lines

Chris Paul

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

 

The Clippers had beaten the Houston Rockets twice before losing to them 110-105 on Wednesday at Houston. The difference, according to Chris Paul, was the success Houston had from both the 3-point line as well as the free-throw line on Wednesday.

Houston was 10 of 37 (27 percent) from 3-point range and made 11 of 15 (73.3 percent) from the free-throw line in a 102-85 loss to the Clippers on Nov. 28 at Houston. The Rockets made just 9 of 45 from (20 percent) from 3-point range, but made 18 of 22 (81.8 percent) from the free-throw line in a 110-95 loss to the Clippers on Feb. 11 at Staples Center.

On Wednesday, Houston made 17 of 44 (38.6 percent) from 3-point range and 21 of 30 (70 percent) from the free-throw line.

That means the Rockets scored 41 points combined from 3-point range and the free-throw line on Nov. 28 and 45 points on Feb. 11. On Wednesday, that number rose dramatically to 72 points  combined.

“They got way too many 3s,” Paul said post-game. “Threes and free throws is what they do. That’s why we’ve been so successful on them, by not letting them get both. And tonight they got everything.”

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