Blake Griffin: Chris Paul on bench in third quarter really hurt in loss to Hawks

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin scored 26 points in Monday’s loss to Atlanta/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers on Monday trailed the Atlanta Hawks by just two points (60-58) when Chris Paul had to leave the game with seven minutes to play in the third quarter because of his fourth foul. In came backup Jordan Farmar, and by the time the quarter ended the Hawks held a 77-69 lead on their way to a 107-98 victory at Staples Center.

Not that Farmar, who went scoreless on 0 of 5 shooting, was the only reason the Clippers lost because there is more blame to pass around. But Blake Griffin said it did hurt not having Paul in there at a time when he usually is in the thick of things.

“When C.P. is not out here, that is a voice that is gone,” Griffin said. “That’s one of our best players and our playmaker. Vocally and even just playing-wise, I have to step up and do a better job. I didn’t do a great job tonight of taking advantage of mismatches and finding open guys and things like that. I need to do a better job there in that third quarter because when he was sitting, that was kind of when we lost it.”

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Five things to take from the Clippers’ 107-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks

Chris Paul

Chris Paul scored just 10 points in Monday’s loss to Atlanta/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

- The  Clippers (23-12) entered this game with a record of 7-9 against teams with winning records before the night’s slate of games. Not only do they now have 10 losses against teams currently with winning teams, their win total in that department dropped to six when New Orleans lost at home to Washington on Monday night, meaning the Pelicans are no longer a winning team; they are 17-17. The Clippers defeated New Orleans by 20 points on Dec. 6 at Staples Center.

- Coach Doc Rivers was very diplomatic about his team’s record against winning teams before and after the game. But you better believe he has to be worried. He took much longer than usual to get to the post-game news conference, and then he said he was meeting with a “couple of guys.” Chris Paul actually came to the news conference before Rivers did, and that never happens.

- The bench play was atrocious, except perhaps for Jamal Crawford, who scored 10 points on 3 of 9 shooting – 2 of 5 from 3-point range. Spencer Hawes looked out of sync and had just three points on 1 of 6 shooting. He grabbed four rebounds, but he also had three turnovers in just 17 minutes.

- Speaking of turnovers, the Clippers had an uncharacteristic 21. And unfortunately for them, six of them were in the fourth quarter when Atlanta pulled away to a 17-lead with 6:03 to play. As Rivers said post-game, 23 assists and 21 turnovers are not going to win many games. Certainly not against a team like Atlanta.

- Chris Paul afterward admitted he was not aggressive enough on offense. He averages 13.6 shots per game on the season, but took just nine in this one. He made four and scored just 10 points, well below his season average of 17.9.

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Chris Paul believes team reaped benefits of practice, two days between games

Chris Paul

Chris Paul was two rebounds short of a triple-double in Saturday’s rout of Philadelphia/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

When the Clippers played and defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 127-91 on Saturday, it marked the first time the Clippers had two days between games in nearly a month. The days allowed the Clippers to get in their first practice since Dec. 5. It was a good thing, point guard Chris Paul said.

“It definitely helped,” Paul, who had 24 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, said post-game. “We had a good practice (Friday) and the rest really helps. I think today we felt like we had our legs under us a little bit more.”

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Doc Rivers said there has been slippage in Clippers’ overall execution

Chris Paul

Chris Paul is averaging 17.7 points and 9.4 assists this season for the Clippers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and coach Doc Rivers met with reporters Friday ahead of the Clippers’ first practice since Dec. 5. Both Griffin and Paul said they believed that working on defense was most vital. Rivers had a bit of a different thought.

“I think offense, too,” he said. “I think you’ve gotta work on the whole game. I think we’ve slipped in a lot of areas of execution. So the word would be ‘execution.’ And you can go offense and defense.”

The Clippers entered their game Saturday against visiting Philadelphia allowing 100.2 points, which is 19th in the league. They were scoring 105.9 points per game, fifth in the NBA.

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Blake Griffin has high praise for J.J. Redick, who had another quick start

Blake Griffin, fighting New York players Cole Aldrich (45) and Andrea Bargnani (77) for the ball New Years Eve, is impressed with the quick starts of teammate J.J. Redick/Photo by Asscoiated Press

 

Point guard Chris Paul post-game praised the quick starts of shooting guard J.J. Redick, who scored 13 of his game-high 20 points in the first quarter of the Clippers’ 99-78 New Years Eve victory over the struggling New York Knicks, who are now 5-29.

Color Blake Griffin among those echoing Paul’s sentiments.

“The way he shoots, and he just moves so well without the ball when he gets it going like that, makes it tough for teams to stop him,” Griffin said.

Redick averaged 17.8 points during the month of December to improve his season scoring average to 15.2, which ties his career-high of 2013-14 when Redick played in just 35 games because of injuries. He has played in all 33 games this season.

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Chris Paul actually looking forward to getting in some practice time

Chris Paul guards Utah’s Dante Exum during Monday’s 101-97 victory over the Jazz/Photo by Associated Press

 

The Clippers have not had an actual practice since Dec. 5, no thanks to a string of 14 games played in 24 days since Dec. 6. There have been three back-to-backs during that time and not more than one day off between games.
The Clippers will play their 15th game in 26 days Wednesday – New Years Eve – when they play host to the New York Knicks at 3 p.m. at Staples Center. After that, the Clippers won’t play again until Saturday, meaning they will actually be able to get in a practice or two before then.

Chris Paul can’t remember ever wanting to be able to practice as much as he wants to right now.

“Heck, no,” he said after Monday night’s 101-97 victory over the visiting Utah Jazz.
The Clippers are 8-6 during the aforementioned 14 games. Not exactly a world-beating statistic. But Paul doesn’t want to use lack of practice time as a reason why.
“We just have to keep staying the course,” he said. “We can’t look at that. We can’t use excuses and things like that. You have just got to play.”

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Doc Rivers liked what he saw from point guard Chris Paul in win over Utah

Chris Paul

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

 

Chris Paul did not play well in Saturday’s 110-98 loss to Toronto at Staples Center. He scored just 10 points on 3 of 12 shooting. He did dole out eight assists, but he was otherwise outplayed by Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry, who went for 25 points, seven assists and three steals.

Paul was much more like himself in Monday’s 101-97 victory over the visiting Utah Jazz. He scored 20 points on 7 of 14 shooting – 3 of 5 from 3-point range – and had eight assists and four steals.

Coach Doc Rivers liked what he saw.

“When Chris is playing aggressive and is trying to score, the assists come regardless,” Rivers said post-game. “Good things happened when he was playing. He was really aggressive tonight.”

 

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Warriors’ Draymond Green says game against Clippers was too ‘nice’

Draymond Green

Draymond Green of Golden State said Thursday’s game against the Clippers was too nice/Photo courtesy of Golden State Warriors, NBA.com

 

There were a couple of times during the Clippers’ 100-86 Christmas night victory over the visiting Golden State Warriors where the teams engaged in a bit of extracurricular  warfare. For example, Blake Griffin and the Warriors’ David Lee had a brief shoving match. And Chris Paul and Golden State’s Draymond Green talked a bit of trash to each other.

But there wasn’t enough of the mutual hate, according to Green.

“There are some guys on that team I really respect,” Green said. “But as far as that fire, that dog … I mean, it’s no secret that we don’t like them. And it’s no secret that they don’t like us. So I don’t know why the game was that nice. We’re trying to act like we like each other, and we don’t. It was a boring game.”

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Clippers erase 17-point deficit, but still lose 125-118 at San Antonio

Chris Paul

Chris Paul had 25 points and nine assists in Monday’s loss at San Antonio/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers on Monday trailed by 17 points at San Antonio with 9 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter and came back to be tied at 102-102 with 8:17 to play in the game, but the Spurs emerged with a 125-118 victory at AT&T Center in San Antonio.

The Spurs (18-11), who broke a four-game losing streak, shot 75 percent in the first half and ended up shooting 63.6 percent for the game, 56.5 percent (13 of 23) from 3-point range. Tony Parker led them with 26 points, Boris Diaw scored 23 off the bench and Tim Duncan had 21 points and 12 rebounds. Manu Ginobili contributed 19 points off the bench.

The Clippers (19-9) got 25 points, nine assists, two steals and two blocks from Chris Paul; 22 points, six rebounds and six assists from Blake Griffin; 21 points from J.J. Redick; and 18 points from Jamal Crawford off the bench.

The Clippers shot 50 percent from the field, 41.7 percent (10 of 24) from beyond the arc.

San Antonio had 37 assists, the Clippers 23.

 

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Clippers can’t get a 3-pointer to fall late, lose 109-106 to Nuggets at Pepsi Center

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin scored 32 points Friday night at Denver/Photo Courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers had three chances to tie the game with the final seconds winding down Friday night at Denver, but missed 3-point basket attempts by Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick and Chris Paul resulted in the Clippers losing 109-106 to the Nuggets at Pepsi Center.

The Clippers (18-8) overcame a 16-point halftime deficit of 59-43 to lead 74-71 after three quarters.

Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 32 points on 9 of 20 shooting. He also grabbed 12 rebounds. Chris Paul scored 17 points with 15 assists, Crawford scored 20 off the bench, Matt Barnes had 16 points and DeAndre Jordan scored 11 and had 14 rebounds with two blocked shots.

The Clippers shot 45.9 percent from the field, but just 16.7 percent (3 of 18) from 3-point range.

Denver (11-15) received 20 points off the bench from Nate Robinson, 16 from Wilson Chandler and 14 points and seven rebounds from Kenneth Faried. Ty Lawson doled out 14 assists to go with his 10 points.

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