DeAndre Jordan, Chris Paul named to NBA’s All-Defensive first team

Paul, Jordan Named First Team All-Defense

Chris Paul, left, and DeAndre Jordan on Wednesday were named to the NBA’s All-Defensive first team/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Guard Chris Paul and center DeAndre Jordan on Wednesday were named to the NBA’s All-Defensive first team.

Paul received 67 first-place votes and was voted to the first team for the fourth consecutive season, fifth overall in his 10-year career.

This was Jordan’s first such honor. He received 84 first-place votes. Jordan led the league in rebounds during the regular season with a 15.0 average. He also led in defensive rebounds at 10.1 per game and was fourth in blocks with a 2.23 average.

Paul was second in the league in total steals with 156. His 1.9 per-game average was fifth.

Joining Paul and Jordan on the first team were forwards Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs and Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors and guard Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies.

The second team is made up of forwards Tim Duncan of San Antonio and Anthony Davis of New Orleans, center Andrew Bogut of Golden State and guards Jimmy Butler of Chicago and John Wall of Washington.

Contrary to report, DeAndre Jordan practiced free-throw shooting a lot

Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan hug it out.

Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan share a hug/Photo by USATSI

 

I have read with great interest about the alleged discord between Clippers point guard Chris Paul and center DeAndre Jordan. No sooner were the Clippers eliminated by the Rockets in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday, than did a story surface about how perturbed Paul has been about Jordan not working enough on his free-throw shooting during the season.

The rumor, according to this report that by the way did not quote anyone by name but went with the old “source” thing, is that Jordan may not re-sign with the Clippers, in part because of this.

I won’t mention the reporter or publication by name here because I don’t think one reporter should publicly argue with another. But I can tell you that the reporter who broke the story was not at Clippers practices on any kind of a regular basis this season. So while I’m not doubting that this reporter was told what was reported, said reporter wasn’t present enough to have seen for himself.

As someone who was at virtually every Clippers home practice and shootaround this season, I can say with conviction that no other Clippers player practiced his free-throw shooting as much as Jordan. He was often at a corner basket shooting one after another and usually a coach was with him.

That’s why any time coach Doc Rivers mentioned to us that no one shoots more practice free throws on the team than Jordan, it was easy to believe.

Now, we’re not naive. It is possible that Paul has indeed become fed up with having a starter on the team that has difficulty making more than 4 out of every 10 free throws – Jordan shot 39.7 percent this season and has a 41.7-percent career average.

But Paul, who is ultra-competitive, never expressed anything but support this season for Jordan in this regard. There never seemed to be any body language on his part that would indicate he’s mad as heck and can’t take it anymore.

Speaking of Paul’s competitiveness, the report also included an inference that Jordan does not like Paul’s “edginess” and that it wore on Jordan’s nerves. I didn’t see anything obvious in that regard, either, but sometimes professional athletes do a good job of keeping stuff like that under wraps.

More than anything, I wanted to shoot down the notion that Jordan did not practice his free throws enough. The view from here is that he practiced them more than enough. He made a lot more during practice than he did in the games, too.

I remember at one practice he asked reporters if we noticed how many of them he was making that day. He then admitted that it gets into his head during games.

I inquired about this today. I hate using the “source” thing, so I won’t go into all the details of what I found out about why this rumor has circulated. All I can say is I was told that this is all a bunch of bull and that if Jordan does leave, it won’t have anything to do with Paul.

Again, we’re not naive. That itself could be hogwash.

We’ll see what else comes up in this regard. Stay tuned.

 

Magic Johnson says Clippers’ loss to Rockets will haunt them forever

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson/Associated Press file photo by Reed Saxon

 

Magic Johnson helped play host to a Los Angeles news conference Monday to announce the intention to build a 22,000-seat stadium that would house the expansion Los Angeles Football Club that will play in the MLS. Johnson is one of several in the ownership group.

During his time with reporters, Johnson was asked about the Clippers falling in seven games to the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals. Never shy to speak his mind, Johnson said quite a bit.

“Well, I was disappointed because Chris Paul is my good friend, Doc Rivers is a good friend and I want them to win and get the monkey off their backs,” Johnson said.

He then talked about Game 6, when the Clippers blew a 19-point lead late in the third quarter. Not only did they lose that one 119-107 at home at  Staples Center, they missed their best chance to close out the series and advance to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history. The Clippers lost Game 7 by a 113-100 count Sunday in Houston.

“I thought they missed the opportunity in Game 6,” Johnson said. “You gotta close out at home. You can’t allow it to go to a Game 7. If you think about all the Lakers heydays, when we had closeout games and we had them in the Forum or Staples Center with Kobe (Bryant) and Shaq (O’Neal) or with my Showtime Lakers, we closed out. So when you have your opportunity, you gotta close out.

“I remember when we didn’t, in terms of we had the Celtics in seven games and we lost there, that will haunt us forever and this loss will haunt the Clippers forever because they had their opportunity up 20 in the third quarter. You gotta win that game in the Staples Center. So we’ll see what happens.”

Johnson intimated he’s hopeful the Clippers can get over the hump.

“I wish them well because I want so bad for Chris Paul to have his opportunity to play in the championship,” he said. “I want that for him. He’s meant a lot to the league, but also to the fans here in Los Angeles because this is a Lakers town, but we like Chris Paul. We do. We love the way he plays, his leadership.

Blake (Griffin) has really grown. You saw him grow up this season and really do some wonderful things. But at the same time, it’s going to be tough for them to swallow this.”

Five things to take from Clippers’ 113-100 Game 7 loss to the Rockets

Jamal Crawford brings the ball up court as the Rockets’ James Harden whoops it up during the third quarter of Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday at Toyota Center in Houston/Photo by James Nielsen, Houston Chronicle

 

 

– The first thing we take from this Game 7 loss is that had the Clippers taken care of business when they should have in Game 6 at Staples Center when they had the Rockets right where they wanted them with a 19-point lead late in the third quarter, there never would have been a Game 7. And the Clippers would be playing the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals instead of the Rockets. You snooze, you lose.

– The Trio of J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes struggled shooting from the field for the third consecutive game – all Clippers losses. Redick scored 10 points on 4 of 12 shooting, Barnes was scoreless on 0 of 2 and Crawford scored a hard 17 points on 6 of 18. They were a combined 5 of 19 from 3-point range. As a team, the Clippers shot just 25 percent (7 of 28) from beyond the arc, also their third poor performance from there in succession.

Doc Rivers bemoaned the turnovers, noting his Clippers were “a low-turnover” team all season. The Clippers had 18, the Rockets 17 total (16 player, 1 team). But the Clippers scored only 17 points off Rockets miscues, while the Rockets scored 27 off the Clippers’. Redick had six turnovers, Blake Griffin five and Chris Paul four.

– Other than Crawford’s 17 points – and again, they were not a good 17 points – the Clippers received virtually nothing from their bench. Austin Rivers and Glen “Big Baby” Davis each scored two points. That was it. Houston got 11 points from Corey Brewer, eight from Terrence Jones, four from Pablo Prigioni and two from Clint Capela. Moreover, Prigioni had four assists and three steals in 20 productive minutes.

– The Clippers did well to fight back in this game, pulling within three points in the third quarter and within eight twice late in the fourth. But Doc Rivers was not happy when Trevor Ariza hit a 3-pointer with just under a minute to play to increase his team’s lead to 11 and sealing the Clippers’ fate. Rivers was obviously dismayed when he called a timeout, looking at his players as if to say, “Why was he so open?” Rivers afterward said his team missed a lot of assignments. The Rockets shot 40 percent (12 of 30) from 3-point range.

BONUS TAKE: Rockets guard James Harden did not shoot well from the field, making 7 of 20. But his game-high 31 points included 18 trips to the free-throw line; he made 15. By the way, the Clippers shot just 17 free throws all game, the Rockets 41.

Blake Griffin has 12 points in first half, but Clippers trail Rockets 56-46

The Houston Rockets on Sunday led by as many as 15 points in the first half before settling for a 56-46 lead over the Clippers at the break in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals at Toyota Center in Houston.

Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 12 points and Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford each scored 10. Interestingly, Paul had only one assist.

Dwight Howard and James Harden scored 12 points apiece for the Rockets and Josh Smith had nine points.

The Clippers are doing a much better job on the boards, outrebounding the Rockets 26-24. Houston outrebounded the Clippers by 19 in each of the past two games – both Rockets victories.

The winner will advance to the conference finals against Golden State.

Doc Rivers doesn’t think Clippers will play Game 7 with Game 6 hangover

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers walks off the court with Chris Paul after their 119-107 loss to the Rockets. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

Doc Rivers and Chris Paul get ready to exit the court at Staples Center after the Clippers fell apart in Game 6 and lost 119-107 to the Houston Rockets/Staff photo by Michael Owen Baker, Los Angeles Daily News

Doc Rivers met with reporters before practice Saturday at Toyota Center in Houston ahead of Game 7 against the Rockets on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

Not surprisingly, he was asked about the proverbial hangover his team might be feeling after falling apart in Game 6, when the Rockets outscored the Clippers 51-20 over the final 15 minutes to emerge with a 119-107 victory to force Game 7.

“Whether we have a hangover or not, I don’t think so,” Rivers said. “That’s all I can say. I mean, I don’t know, obviously. But I don’t think so. I think the guys, yesterday, they were still beat up a little bit. Then we got through the film and, you know, if you looked at it rationally and that’s what I try to do, if you look at it for three quarters, we were fantastic. And so you go through the bad stuff and then you move on to the good stuff and I think that gives them some kind of comfort.”