Relax, Chris Paul is not the type to call out a referee just because of gender

Chris Paul

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

 

OK, so once again here is what Chris Paul said following his team’s loss at Cleveland on Thursday, a loss that saw the Clippers whistled for five technical fouls. One of them was on Paul in the third quarter:

“I think we have to show better composure, but at the same time some of (the technical fouls) were ridiculous,” Paul told ESPN.com. “The tech that I get right there was ridiculous. I don’t care what nobody says, I don’t care what she says; that’s terrible. There’s no way that can be a tech. We try to get the ball out fast every time down the court, and when we did that, she said, ‘Uh-uh.’ I said, ‘Why, uh-uh?’ And she gave me a tech. That’s ridiculous. If that’s the case, this might not be for her.”

The “her” Paul was referring to was rookie referee Lauren Holtkamp. Now, I’m not going to go on and on about this because it is the opinion here that this is more of a non-story than anything. First of all, Paul had to say “her” because Holtkamp is a female. That doesn’t mean Paul was insinuating that perhaps “this might not be for her” just because Holtkamp is a woman. It could be he just thinks Holtkamp was way too quick on the trigger and perhaps does not belong in the league if she’s going to continue being that way.

Or do I have to remind people that Paul was a big proponent of Michele Roberts being named executive director of the National Basketball Players Association. Here is a July 29, 2014 story from ESPN.com the day of her election, in which Paul is quoted:

“Today, we started out by telling the players how monumental today was,” said Paul, the president of the players association. “We’ve never had this amount of players here for a meeting, to give their input and feedback. After all the hours and time (put in by) our executive committee, along with an amazing search committee that helped throughout this process, it’s an unbelievable feeling to have the wonderful Michele Roberts now as a part of our team.”

Sure, these are different things. Roberts is an executive in a males-only league and Holtkamp is on the floor having something to do with the outcome because she’s a game official. But as someone who has gotten to know Paul over the past couple of seasons as the Clippers’ beat writer for this newspaper, I can tell you that Paul is just not the type to hold gender against someone. That is not him. He is not a sexist pig.

To anyone thinking otherwise, forget about it. Let it go. There is nothing to this, other than frustration from a player whose team is struggling to live up to its lofty preseason expectations.

 

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Five things to take from Clippers’ lopsided loss Thursday at Cleveland

Chris Paul

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

 

- The Clippers received a total of five technical fouls in this one. Sure, some seemed a bit quick. But these guys bark more at referees than probably anybody in the league. Afterward, Chris Paul was caught criticizing rookie referee Lauren Holtkamp, who T’d up Paul early in the third quarter when he was trying to take the ball out quickly. “I think we have to show better composure, but at the same time some of (the technical fouls] were ridiculous,” Paul told ESPN.com afterward. “The tech that I get right there was ridiculous. I don’t care what nobody says, I don’t care what she says; that’s terrible. There’s no way that can be a tech. We try to get the ball out fast every time down the court, and when we did that, she said, ‘Uh-uh.’ I said, ‘Why, uh-uh?’ And she gave me a tech. That’s ridiculous. If that’s the case, this might not be for her.”

- Forget the score (105-94). This was a 30-point loss, period. The Clippers were down 31 after three quarters and only garbage time when their reserves outscored Cleveland’s made this score somewhat respectable. Bottom line is, the Clippers were beaten every which way by a Cavs team that has now won 12 concecutive games.

- Don’t think for a second that this blowout loss didn’t have at least something to do with what happened Monday in Brooklyn when the Clippers blew a nine-point lead with 1:46 to play and lost 102-100 to the host Nets. Talk about a hangover.

- Two of the Clippers’ technical fouls were against Matt Barnes, and he was ejected from the game after his second in the third quarter. Barnes now is tied for the league lead in technicals with 11. Russell Westbrook of OKC and Markieff Morris of Phoenix also have 11 apiece.

- The Clippers were not helped by the absence of J.J. Redick, who missed the game with back spasms. That meant sixth-man Jamal Crawford had to start for Redick. Crawford shot 6 of 14 from the field and Paul was just 4 of 14, meaning the two starting guards shot a combined 10 of 28 from the field (35.7 percent). That’s not going to cut it in most games.

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Kenny Smith, Marv Albert believe native New Yorkers still into All-Star game in spite of stuggles by Knicks, Nets

Kenny Smith/Photo by ESPN.com

 

Analyst Kenny Smith and play-by-play man Marv Albert are from New York City – Smith from Queens, Albert from Brooklyn. The two were part of a TNT conference call Thursday morning promoting the Feb. 15 All-Star game, which will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Clippers Blake Griffin and Chris Paul will be representing the Western Conference.

One subject broached centered on the notion that since the New York Knicks (10-39) and the Brooklyn Nets (20-28) are struggling, that could lessen the interest in the game in the greater New York area? Neither Smith nor Albert buy that.

“Being a New Yorker, regardless of what the Knicks or the Nets are doing, the city is the mecca of basketball,” said Smith, who played 10 years in the NBA. “There are basketball courts every four blocks throughout the city. Everyone plays the game and everyone thinks they have knowledge of the game. It’s a city game. We own that, and we relish the fact that we are that.”

Albert spoke in similar tones.

“It’s still the mecca of basketball and players get excited about playing there,” said Albert, who will be working his 20th All-Star game. “The place, the site, has such a rich history and the fans are so knowledgeable; although this is not that type of game; it’s more schoolyard with guys throwing stuff off backboards until it gets interesting.”

 

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Chris Paul bemoans Clippers’ latest show of inconsistency after loss to Nets

Jarrett Jack of Brooklyn hits the game-winning shot over DeAndre Jordan on Monday in Brooklyn/Photo by Associated Press

 

Point guard Chris Paul had 20 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, three steals and three turnovers in Monday’s 102-100 loss at Brooklyn. The Clippers held a nine-point lead with 1:46 before melting down.

Paul afterward was queried about the Clippers’ up-and-down nature, something that has been a rather regular topic for a team that still has a fine record of 33-16.
“Yeah, it’s bad,” Paul said late Monday. “It’s sort of like the Super Bowl last night. If we win, it would have been a different story. The Clippers would have been doing really well on this road trip. Then we didn’t, so there it goes.”

The Clippers are 2-2 on this eight-game Grammy road trip. The most difficult part of the trip remains. They play Friday at Cleveland (30-20), Friday at Toronto (33-16), Sunday at Oklahoma City (24-24) and Monday at Dallas (33-17).

 

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 108-103 loss Friday at New Orleans

Eric Gordon, guarded by J.J. Redick, puts up a shot. He scored 28 points in New Orleans’ victory over the Clippers on Friday/Photo by Associated Press

 

- The Clippers have been playing well, so it’s hard to take a shot at them. But to lose this one when New Orleans did not have forward Anthony Davis (groin injury) – one of the top players in the league – has to be tough for them to take. That was Davis cheering from the bench as his team was securing the victory. The Pelicans are 2 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, so they are very hungry.

- The setback cost the Clippers (32-15) in the Western Conference standings. They went from being tied for third with Houston and Portland to tied for fourth with Portland, now a game behind third-place Houston, 2 1/2 games behind second-place Memphis and 5 1/2 behind frontrunning Golden State.

- The Clippers did not guard the 3-point line as well as they could have. The Pelicans shot 52 percent (13 of 25) from beyond the arc and that is not going to cut it. Forward Ryan Anderson and guard Eric Gordon, in particular, torched the Clippers from there. Anderson made 5 of 11 from 3-point range and Gordon was 5 of 7 as he went for a game-high 28 points. The Clippers, on the other hand, made just 25 percent (7 of 28) from long-distance.

- One could also say the Pelicans won this game from the free-throw line. They shot 26 free throws and made 23 for a whopping 88.5 percent. The Clippers, one of the more inferior free-throw shooting teams in tne league, made 12 of 17 for 70.6 percent. DeAndre Jordan was 0 of 2.

- It’s difficult to take a lot of positives from a road loss against a middle-of-the-road team missing its best player. But Chris Paul had a terrific game. He scored a team-high 24 points with seven assists, eight rebounds and three steals while shooting 10 of 20.

BONUS TAKE: The Clippers were outrebouned 51-38 by a team that, again, was sans Davis, who averages a team-high 10.4 rebounds. DeAndre Jordan had 15, Blake Griffin only four. Remember, Paul had eight and at 6-foot he’s 10 inches shorter than Griffin.

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Chris Paul selected as reserve for All-Star game, but DeAndre Jordan is not

Chris Paul

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

 

Clippers guard Chris Paul on Thursday was selected as a reserve by Western Conference coaches for the All-Star game that will be played Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It is Paul’s eighth consecutive All-Star game selection.
Paul finished fourth in fan voting among backcourt players.
Clippers post DeAndre Jordan did not get selected, however. Frontcourt players chosen ahead of him as reserves were LaMarcus Aldridge of Portland, Tim Duncan of San Antonio and Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City.
Jordan finished 12th in fan voting while Duncan, Durant and Aldridge were fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

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Chris Paul makes pitch for DeAndre Jordan to make his first All-Star team

DeAndre Jordan has never been selected to the All-Star team/Photo by Associated Press

 

DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul on Thursday will find out if they will be members of the 2015 Western Conference All-Star squad when the reserves – picked by conference coaches – are announced.

Paul figures to have a better chance of making the team for the eighth consecutive season, but he gave his best pitch for Jordan following Monday’s 102-98 victory over the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center.

His comments came when somebody mentioned a sequence in the final minute of the half where Jordan got three of the four blocked shots he had in the game. Two came on one Nuggets possession.

“I say it all the time, but to me D.J. is an All-Star, he is the Defensive Player of the Year and many other accolades that I think he should have,” Paul said. “D.J. also understands that he does not need all of that to validate him. We all know what he does and what he is capable of.”

The Clippers (31-14) on Wednesday night begin their eight-game Grammy road trip at Utah (16-29) at 6 p.m.

 

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Denver Nuggets outscore Clippers 31-20 in first quarter at Staples Center

Chris Paul

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

 

The Nuggets led the Clippers by as many as 16 points at 31-15 before settling for a 31-20 lead over the Clippers after one quarter.

Hedo Turkoglu hit a 3-point basket with about 20 seconds left in the quarter and then Austin Rivers made a layup with 0.7 seconds left as the Clippers scored the final five points of the quarter.

Chris Paul led the Clippers (30-14) with six points in the quarter, Wilson Chandler had 13 for Denver (18-26).

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 120-100 victory over the Phoenix Suns

Chris Paul

Chris Paul had 23 points, eight rebounds and 12 assists in Sunday’s win at Phoenix/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

- In a game where things got chippy, the Clippers held their ground and won going away on the road against a playoff contender. That shows the kind of heart a team needs in the post-season.

- DeAndre Jordan had yet another dominant performance, scoring 18 points with 14 rebounds and four blocks. He was 8 of 15 from the free-throw line, too, which for a guy who entered shooting 39.3 percent from the free-throw line, isn’t too shabby. More importantly, Jordan made four consecutive free throws during the fourth quarter when the Clippers were putting the finishing touches on their victory.

- The Clippers (30-14) are now alone in fifth-place in the Western Conference standings. They are a half-game behind fourth-place Houston (31-14). Finishing the regular season in the top four means homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, which begin mid-April.

- The Clippers got a combined 66 points from Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick. It’s tough to beat the Clippers when that happens. Add to that seven rebounds and seven assists from Griffin and eight rebounds and 12 assists from Paul and, well, you get the idea.

- The Clippers outrebounded the Suns 50-31, which of course is terrific. The Clippers also had 28 assists, which coach Doc Rivers always likes to hear.

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Clippers come away with impressive 120-100 victory at Phoenix

Chris Paul

Chris Paul had 23 points and 12 assists in Sunday’s win at Phoenix/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers on Sunday afternoon took a 12-point lead over the host Phoenix Suns into the fourth quarter and then the Clippers outscored Phoenix by eight points in the final stanza to come away with an impressive 120-100 victory at US Airways Center in Phoenix.

The Clippers (30-14) got 23 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds from Chris Paul; 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists from Blake Griffin; 18 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks from DeAndre Jordan; 20 points from J.J. Redick; Spencer Hawes scored 11; and Jamal Crawford had 10 points.

The Clippers shot 49.4 percent from the field, 43.5 (10 of 23) from 3-point range. Matt Barnes had an off-night, shooting just 1 of 9 from the field for four points.

Isaiah Thomas led the Suns (26-20) with 25 points off the bench. Eric Bledsoe had 17 points, Alex Len scored 15 and Goran Dragic just 10 on 3 of 11 shooting.

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