Chris Paul says Clippers definitely more prepared for this go-round with Spurs

Chris Paul

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

 

Chris Paul’s first season with the Clippers was 2011-12. Paul helped the Clippers to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, where they were swept by in four games by the San Antonio Spurs.

The Clippers will play the Spurs in the first round beginning Sunday night at 7:30 at Staples Center. Paul was queried at practice this week as to whether his team is more prepared for this go-round with San Antonio. Paul answered sharply.

“If we’re not better prepared now than we were three years ago,” Paul said, “then we probably shouldn’t even play.”

The team in ’11-’12 had Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin but not Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick or Jamal Crawford.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Chris Paul knows his team can’t check in and out of focus in the playoffs

Chris Paul

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

 

Chris Paul seemed to have a firm grasp of the obvious following his team’s surprisingly difficult 110-103 victory Monday night over the lowly Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. He talked about a timeout his team took when it trailed by six points with 5:43 to play in the game.

“It was 96-90 and Doc (Rivers) called a timeout, and we just kept talking, ‘We are going to win the game,’ ” Paul said. “I think it just shows what we are capable of when we focus, lock in and stick to our principles. In the playoffs, it is not going to be that easy to turn it on and turn it off, so it is always good to win and learn at the same time.”

The Clippers (55-26) finish the regular season tonight (Tuesday) at Phoenix. They know they will have the homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but they still don’t know their opponent.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

It’s Fan Appreciation Night at Staples Center as end of regular season nears

Chris Paul

Clippers point guard Chris Paul is averaging 19.1 points and a league-high 10.3 assists/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers and their radio affiliate – The Beast 980 – tonight (Monday) will host Fan Appreciation Night in honor of the Clippers’ final home game of the regular season. They will take on the Denver Nuggets at 7:30 p.m.

The festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. outside at the Star Plaza VIP area and continue inside, where all fans will be given a cheering fan. Other prizes and merchandise will be given out during the course of the game.

The Clippers (54-26), third in the Western Conference standings, are still waiting to find out who they will play in the first round of the playoffs. They finish their regular-season slate Tuesday at Phoenix.

 

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

CP3: Blake Griffin’s improved mid-range jump-shot paying dividends for Clippers

 

Blake Griffin

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

 

Blake Griffin has made a concerted effort to improve his mid-range jump-shot, and he has done that as this season he is shooting a career-high 40.7 percent from 16 feet and beyond; his previous best was 38.2 percent in 2011-12.

Teammate Chris Paul suggests Griffin improving his game in that way has been highly beneficial.

“It makes us very hard to guard,” Paul said. “A lot of teams would try keep us on one side of the court, but you have to make a choice. If two (players) are going to guard me, then you are leaving Blake open.

“When Blake is shooting and passing well, it makes us that much more dangerous.”

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Five things to take from Clippers’ 106-78 victory over hallway-neighbor Lakers

Chris Paul

Chris Paul doled out 15 assists in Sunday’s victory over the Lakers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

- Perhaps the best part about this victory is that the Clippers did not have a letdown against a very poor Lakers team that now has more losses (56) than any other Lakers’ team in franchise history. The Clippers led this game by as many as 43 points (99-56) by attacking and attacking some more until there was no doubt about the outcome.

- Since this was the Lakers’ home game, that meant it was a road game for the Clippers. With the victory they have now won a franchise-record 25 games away from home. As guard J.J. Redick said afterward about the record, “You have to have mental toughness.” At 25-15 on the road, the Clippers have one more road game April 14 at Phoenix in the regular-season finale.

- Chris Paul took only seven shots. But that seemed by design as he was having fun dishing out sweet passes to his teammates, which resulted in him doling out 15 assists. Paul is now averaging a league-high 10.2 assists. John Wall of the Washington Wizards is close behind at 10.0.

- The Clippers once again showed how adept they are from 3-point range by shooting 55.6 percent (15 of 27) from beyond the arc. Matt Barnes and Hedo Turkoglu both shot 4 of 7 from there, Redick was 2 of 2 and Austin Rivers 2 of 3. The Clippers are now shooting a collective 37.9 percent from long distance, third in the league behind Golden State (39.5) and Atlanta (38.6).

- The defense played by the Clippers was noteworthy. They held the Lakers to 38.7 percent shooting. Most importantly, they took rookie hot-shot Jordan Clarkson and threw a blanket over him. Clarkson, who of late has been very good, came in with point totals of 30, 26 and 27 in three of his previous seven games. But he scored just two points Sunday. Clarkson took just six shots, making one, because he had difficulty getting open. The game before, Friday against Portland, Clarkson scored 27 points and took 20 shots – making 12.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Matt Barnes believes Clippers have bad blood with all teams – and vice versa

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Following Wednesday’s 126-122 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers that included a row when the Trail Blazers’ Chris Kaman pushed Chris Paul to the ground after Paul out-fought Kaman for a rebound, the Clippers’ Matt Barnes was asked to talk about the bad blood the Clippers might have with any other team in the league.

Interestingly, the hard-nosed Barnes believes there is a general dislike between the Clippers and, well, everyone.

“We have bad blood against the whole league and I think they have it against us,” he said. “It’s whatever. Sometimes it gets physical and we’re OK with that. Just like tonight, it was a big win. It took 48 minutes to get it, but we did a great job.”

It appeared Kaman’s push of Paul was in response to Paul pushing Kaman below the belt with his left hand during the play.

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Portland coach Terry Stotts bummed out about Wednesday’s loss to Clippers

Chris Paul scored 41 points in Wednesday’s 126-122 victory at Portland/Photo by Don Ryan, Associated Press

 

There is a chance the Clippers (50-26) and Portland Trail Blazers (48-26) will play each other in the first round of the playoffs. That could be a very good thing for the Clippers, who defeated Portland 126-122 on Wednesday night at Portland after trailing by 19 points midway through the second quarter. The Clippers won the season series 3-1 over Portland, with no margin of victory by either team more than six points.

Portland coach Terry Stotts therefore admitted that Wednesday’s loss was indeed a bummer.

“Look, you hate losing games,” he said. “You hate losing at home and you hate losing to a team that you might see in the playoffs. There’s a lot of things not to be happy about tonight. But we were very competitive, as were they. All four games with the Clippers have come down to the last couple minutes. That’s part of the NBA. You don’t like dropping games at home, but sometimes you do.”

 

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

VIDEO: Clippers should thank Chris Kaman for pushing Chris Paul to the floor

Perhaps Chris Kaman was doing his old team a favor when he purposely pushed down Chris Paul late in the third quarter Wednesday night at Portland. The Clippers were down 11 points (92-81) at the time and rallied for a huge 126-122 victory at Moda Center in Portland.

The Clippers trailed by as many as 19 points (51-32) midway through the second quarter. That they came back to win a night after giving up a 17-point second-quarter lead and losing 110-106 to Golden State at Staples Center says a lot about the Clippers’ overall character.

Most importantly, Paul scored a season-high 41 points and doled out 17 assists. Again, this was a day after Golden State’s Steph Curry embarrassed Paul by sending him sprawling on an ankle-breaking dribble move that was talked about a lot in the world of sports Wednesday.

After Kaman pushed Paul, Glen “Big Baby” Davis rushed to Paul’s defense, only to taste the canvas after being headed off at the pass by LaMarcus Aldridge, who shoved Davis away from Kaman.

Either way, this is the type of victory that could go a long way in giving the Clippers (50-26) an emotional boost that could be long-lasting.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was asked if Kaman pushing Paul was the best thing that could have happened for his team in the game.

“It didn’t hurt, but CP (Paul) already had it going before that, to be honest,” Rivers said. “That just brought more energy into the game. When you’re lacking energy, you’re just looking for anything. Little plays like that can help you. Or they can do you in, too. You never know how that’s going to go. I was happy how we responded after that.”

Paul was queried as to whether Kaman’s boneheaded move helped him take him up another notch.

“No, the shove didn’t take me to another level,” Paul said. “It gave me a chance to make it to the free-throw line and get a little rhythm. But I think it was just a gutsy win.”

If you haven’t seen the incident for which Kaman was called for a flagrant 1 foul, here it is:

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Warriors’ Steph Curry talks about dribble move that sent Chris Paul sprawling

Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors had already whittled a 17-point deficit down to nine points when he did a number on the Clippers’ Chris Paul with a dribble move that sent Paul down to one hand on the hardwood. The move and subsequent short jumper pulled the Warriors within 48-41 with 2:25 left in the second quarter on their way to a 110-106 victory over Los Angeles.

Curry afterward talked about the play.

“I snaked through the paint and he (Paul) was trailing and I thought I could make a move back to the basket, and somewhere with the creativity in between doing the double move … as soon as I saw him go down, I knew I had to shoot it and see what happens,” Curry said.

His teammates on the bench went wild.

“You just have to block it (the bench’s reaction) out as best as you can,” Curry said. “You get a little bit of an adrenaline rush, so those are cool moments. But thankfully the shot went in and I finished the play. I haven’t seen the bench yet, but I heard that everyone was going crazy.”

Even if you are a Clippers fans, you have to appreciate this. Here it is once again:

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email