Five things to take from the Clippers’ 120-108 victory at Oklahoma City

Chris Paul goes up for two of his 33 points with OKC’s Russell Westbrook guarding him/Photo by Alonzo Adams, Associated Press

 

- Point guard Chris Paul had a terrific game. He scored 33 points on 11 of 19 shooting - 5 of 8 from 3-point range. He also helped throw a blanket over OKC point guard Russell Westbrook, who has been phenomenal this season – especially of late. Since Feb. 2 he had produced six 40-plus point games and six triple-doubles. He was held to 24 points Wednesday on 5 of 14 shooting. He was just 2 of 8 from the field for seven points and seven of his 10 turnovers while Paul was guarding him. Paul has averaged 22 points and 13.4 assists in the past 14 games, all of which have been missed by Blake Griffin (elbow).

- J.J. Redick also came up with another fine performance. He scored 25 points with five rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Redick has averaged 22.6 points in five games this month while shooting a combined 48.3 percent from the field – 41 percent from beyond the arc.

- What the heck is going on with Spencer Hawes? He scored just four points on 1 of 7 shooting in 31 1/2 minutes of action. The 7-foot-1 big gathered only three rebounds. In his past five games he’s made just 11 of 40 field-goal attempts (27.5 percent) while averaging 5.8 points and just 3.6 rebounds. In one of those games, Monday’s victory over Minnesota, Hawes had one measly rebound in 23 minutes. Though a center by trade, Hawes has been starting at power forward for Griffin.

- Matt Barnes was feeling it in this one. The small forward out of UCLA burned the Thunder for 22 points on 6 of 8 shooting. Barnes made all of his field-goal attempts from 3-point range, going 6 of 7 from beyond the arc. Barnes also was solid on defense as he came through with three steals and two blocks.

- So the Thunder and coach Scott Brooks went to the hack-a-DJ ploy in this one and DeAndre Jordan responded by making 12 of 22 from the free-throw line. That is 54.5 percent. For someone shooting just 41 percent on the season, that is not too shabby. Beginning with 7:50 left in the game, Jordan made seven of his final 10 free-throw attempts. He had 17 points and 18 rebounds.

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Chris Paul’s 33 points help Clippers to big 120-108 victory at Oklahoma City

Chris Paul

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

 

The Clippers on Wednesday night came through with an impressive 120-108 victory at Oklahoma City. Perhaps most outstanding was the game had by Chris Paul. He scored a game-high 33 points on 11 of 19 shooting – 5 of 8 from 3-point range – and also doled out nine assists with two steals and five turnovers.  Two days earlier in a victory over Minnesota on Monday, Paul had 15 assists but just two points and was noticeably hobbled by a right knee bruise.

The Clippers are now 9-5 without Blake Griffin (elbow). Jamal Crawford (calf) missed his fourth consecutive game. The Thunder were without reigning MVP Kevin Durant (foot).

Paul was not alone in his heroics. J.J. Redick scored 25 points and Matt Barnes had 22. DeAndre Jordan scored 18 points and grabbed 17 rebounds and survived more hack-a-DJ by making 12 of 22 from the free-throw line. Glen “Big Baby” Davis contributed 12 points, three rebounds and two steals off the bench.

The Clippers (42-23) shot 46.1 percent overall, 50 percent (15 of 30) from 3-point range.

OKC (35-29) fell out of the top eight in the Western Conference and is now ninth, a half-game behind New Orleans (36-29). The Clippers are fifth.

Anthony Morrow led the Thunder with 26 points off the bench. Russell Westbrook scored 24 points, but he shot just 5 of 14 from the field. He had seven assists and nine rebounds, but 10 turnovers.

Next up is Dallas (41-25) on Friday. The Mavericks are seventh in the West.

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Chris Paul scores 20 points in first half at OKC, Clippers lead 65-57 at break

Chris Paul

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

 

The Clippers went on a scoring rampage in the first half Wednesday night at Oklahoma City and by the time intermission rolled around, they held a 65-57 lead over the host Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Chris Paul – sore right knee and all – scored 20 points in the half on 8 of 12 shooting – 4 of 6 from 3-point range. J.J. Redick had 16 points on 4 of 7 from the field – 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.

The Clippers (41-23) shot 50 percent overall, 50 percent (8 of 16) from 3-point range. They also made 17 of 18 from the free-throw line in the first 24 minutes of action. Believe it or not, DeAndre Jordan made 5 of 6 from the line. He had nine points and 11 rebounds.

Anthony Morrow led OKC (35-28) with 17 points off the bench in the half. Russell Westbrook, who is averaging 40.7 points this month, had 12 points, four assists and seven rebounds.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 89-76 victory over the Timberwolves

Chris Paul

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

 

- First and foremost, we must give kudos to Chris Paul. He was hobbled by a bruised right knee because he banged knees a day earlier in Golden State. He scored only two points on 1 of 6 shooting, but he was able to dole out 15 assists, leading his much-depleted team very
well. The T’Wolves (14-48) have the worst record in the West and had nothing to lose, so they played hard. With the Clippers already sans Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford, it wasn’t an easy game to win.

- The Clippers are now 8-5 without Griffin and 1-2 without both Griffin (elbow) and Crawford (calf). Coach Doc Rivers said he expects Griffin will be back before Crawford. Rivers did not have an exact timetable, but he did say Griffin could be back in a week. That said, Rivers
said Griffin might travel with the team on the upcoming trip that includes games Wednesday at Oklahoma City and Friday at Dallas. Crawford will not travel. We should also note that while Griffin was on the bench in a suit Monday, Crawford was nowhere to be seen. Keep in mind that he missed 13 games last season with a strained left calf.

- Nate Robinson played in his second game with the Clippers since signing a 10-day contract. He played nearly 17 rather unproductive minutes. Robinson scored four points on just 1 of 9 shooting, but the 5-foot-9 guard did grab five rebounds.

- Reserve guard Austin Rivers had another good game off the bench. He came through with 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting – 2 of 4 from 3-point range – with four rebounds, six assists and two steals. Rivers had 22 points in Sunday’s loss at Golden State.

- The Timberwolves outrebounded the Clippers 50-42, but DeAndre Jordan led all players with 17 rebounds. He also scored 20 points on 10 of 11 shooting and caught no less than three perfectly thrown lobs from Paul for monster dunks that made the crowd roar. No one else on the team had more than five rebounds. Interestingly, 7-foot-1 Spencer Hawes was of little help in this regard as he had one lousy rebound in nearly 23 minutes.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 106-98 loss to Golden State at Oracle Arena

DeAndre Jordan sits on the bench in the second half as Clippers are about to lose to the Golden State Warriors. Jordan had with 14 rebounds, meaning his streak of 10 consecutive games with at least 15 rebounds was halted/Photo by Jeff Chiu, Associated Press

 

- Let’s face it, trying to beat Golden State anywhere is tough. Trying to beat Golden State without Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford is almost unthinkable. When you add into the equation that this game was played at Oracle Arena in Oakland, well, all you can do is tip your cap to the Clippers for getting this close. They fared better without Griffin and Crawford than they did in November when they lost by 17 points at Oracle. The Clippers once again showed the mettle that should help them in the post-season.

- Although newest Clippers guard Nate Robinson did not have a good first game for Doc Rivers – he scored five points on 1 of 6 shooting in 20 minutes – he did have three assists and zero turnovers. The bench, on the whole, played well with Austin Rivers leading the way with 22 points – a team-high. Glen “Big Baby” Davis had eight points and seven rebounds and Hedo Turkoglu scored 12 points while making 4 of 7 from 3-point range.

- It was nice to see the retun of small forward Matt Barnes, who had missed the previous two games with a hamstring injury. He played well enough, going for nine points on 4 of 7 shooting – he was 0 of 3 from 3-point range – while doling out two assists and blocking a shot. He had nary a rebound, however, in his 23 minutes.

- The Clippers had 18 turnovers in this game. That makes it very difficult to beat any team, let alone the team with the best record in the Western Conference. Five of those turnovers were point guard Chris Paul’s and four of them belonged to reserve guard Austin Rivers. That’s not going to cut it.

- DeAndre Jordan had a mere 14 rebounds. He needed one more to extend his streak of at least 15 rebounds. But it was stopped at 10. During the run he had games of 27, 20, 22 and 26 rebounds. Jordan is averaging a league-high 14.5 rebounds with 19 regular-season games left. In second is Andre Drummond of Detroit. He’s averaging 13.0 rebounds.

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Clippers down by seven points to Warriors at halftime at Golden State

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick scored 14 points in the first half Sunday at Golden State/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Even without Blake Griffin (elbow) and Jamal Crawford (calf)  the Clippers fared better in the first half Saturday at Golden State than they did Nov. 5 in a 17-point (121-104) blowout loss to the Warriors.

The Clippers (40-22) on Sunday led the Warriors 38-37 in the second quarter before the Warriors (48-12) went on a run to finish the half leading 57-50 at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

The Clippers on Nov. 5 trailed by 23 points (65-42) at halftime and by 27 points (102-75) after three quarters before garbage time took hold.

J.J. Redick on Sunday led the Clippers with 14 first-half points, Matt Barnes nine and Chris Paul and Austin Rivers eight apiece.

Klay Thompson led all scorers in the half with 17 points. Steph Curry, the other half of the Splash Brothers, had just four points on 1 of 5 shooting. Draymond Green scored 13 points.

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Doc Rivers would have preferred his team quickly play again after Wednesday’s crushing loss to Portland

Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis, right, tries to block a shot by Portland’s Chris Kaman in Wednesday’s game at Staples Center won 98-93 by the Trail Blazers in overtime/Photo courtesy of Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

 

The Clippers on Wednesday night suffered one of their toughest losses of the season – 98-93 to visiting Portland in overtime. There was that crazy play at the end of regulation that saw DeAndre Jordan rebound a missed Chris Paul shot with 0.7 seconds left and instead of trying to tip it in for the game-winner, Jordan just held the ball over his head because he heard the shot-clock buzzer go off.

It was much more than that. The Clippers held a 10-point lead with 2:53 to play in regulation before falling apart and allowing the Trail Blazers to take them to overtime.

It would have been nice if the Clippers (40-22) had been able to get right back out there and play another game so as to more quickly erase that pain. As it stands, they will not play again until Sunday at Golden State (47-12).

“We didn’t have that luxury this time, so you know, this is one you have to sit with for a while,” coach Doc Rivers said Friday at practice in Playa Vista. “Listen, at the end of the day you lose some tough ones during the year and you win probably a couple of them. … It would have been a really nice win for us, more than losing it, when you factor in you have 40, 45 points out of your offense and yet you could have won that game and you should have won it. But you didn’t, so you shouldn’t have.”

That said, Rivers believes a loss of that magnitude could help his team moving forward.

“If we’re in the Finals, if things work out and we get through this West, I guarantee you that game will have something to do with it in a positive way,” Rivers said.

The Clippers were without Blake Griffin (elbow), Matt Barnes (hamstring) and Jamal Crawford (calf) on Wednesday. They average a combined 48.5 points.

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Chris Paul says, ‘We lost,’ so he takes no joy in helping corral Damian Lillard

Chris Paul

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

 

Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers this season made the Western Conference All-Star team for the second consecutive campaign. He is averaging 21.3 points. But Wednesday night he was held to just five points and was harassed by the Clippers’ Chris Paul and teammates into a 1-for-13 shooting night.

However, the Trail Blazers rallied from a 10-point deficit with 2:53 to play in regulation to eventually defeat the Clippers in overtime 98-93, so don’t expect Paul to be overjoyed about the defense he and his teammates played on Lillard.

“But we lost,” Paul said, when Lillard’s poor-shooting performance was pointed out post-game. “It’s a team game played by individuals. Even though some guys didn’t score their points, other guys did score. So we have to play better team defense, because down the stretch, that’s what let up. We lost 11-6 in overtime.”

Interestingly, the 6-foot-3 point Lillard somehow grabbed a whopping 18 rebounds. Funnily enough, he was ribbed about that.

“As soon as I walked off the court, that’s what everybody was saying. They were calling me Dennis Rodman,” Lillard said of the former rebounding great who averaged 13.1 rebounds over a 14-year career.

 

 

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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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