Chris Paul: third-quarter defense the key to win in Sacramento

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


There was a lot of talk about Chris Paul following his performance in the Clippers’ 117-107 victory at Sacramento on Friday night. For good reason. He was banged up coming in – forearm bruise, tight calf – and then he got poked in the eye in the second quarter. Yet he scored 40 points, doled out 13 assists and grabbed eight rebounds in 36 marvelous minutes.

But Paul himself was quick to point out that it was third-quarter defense that propelled his team to victory. The Clippers trailed 67-64 at halftime, then outscored the Kings 34-16 in the third, during which the Clippers went on a 20-0 run.

“It was defense,” said Paul, whose team next plays host to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night at 7:30 at Staples center. “It was straight defense. Me and DJ (DeAndre Jordan) talked about it at halftime. We had to set the tone, so I tried to start picking up DC (Darren Collison) earlier, not just letting him be in a rocking chair, picking us apart. I think they started feeling us a little bit more in the third quarter and that sort of fed our offense.”

Banged up Chris Paul scores 40 to lead Clippers to win at Sacramento

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy os Los Angeles Clippers


Chris Paul entered the Clippers’ game Friday at Sacramento nursing several minor injuries, then he got poked in the eye by the Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins late in the second quarter.

Battered but unbowed, Paul went on to scored a game-high 40 points on 13 of 20 shooting to lead the Clippers to a 117-107 victory. Paul made 4 of 9 from 3-point range. He also doled out 13 assists, grabbed eight rebounds and made two steals in 36 marvelous minutes. The point guard committed only two turnovers. For good measure, he made all 10 of his free throws.

Recently acquired Jeff Green had his best game as a member of the Clippers (38-20), coming through with 22 points on 9 of 13 shooting – 4 of 5 from 3-point range. He also had five rebounds and started at forward in place of Paul Pierce, who was not with the team because of personal reasons. Green played 31 minutes.

Jamal Crawford contributed 21 points off the bench on 7 of 19 shooting and J.J. Redick scored 16. Wes Johnson struggled again from the field, shooting 2 of 8 while scoring four points. Johnson shot 2 of 11 in Wednesday upset-loss to Denver at Staples Center.

Cousins led the Kings (24-33) with 26 points and 15 rebounds, Rudy Gay scored 23 and Darren Collison had 18 points and five assists.

Collison started in place of point guard Rajon Rondo, who was out with a thumb injury.

Chris Paul’s 30 points help Clippers put away lowly Kings 116-105 at Sleep Train

Chris Paul

Chris Paul scored 30 points in the Clippers’ victory Wednesday night at Sacramento/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers,


Once again minus Jamal Crawford (calf) and Matt Barnes (hamstring), it took the Clippers some time to put the lowly Sacramento Kings away. But Chris Paul’s 3-pointer with 3:44 to play was the dagger in their 116-105 victory Wednesday night at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.

Paul’s basket gave him 30 points on the night, and it gave the Clippers a 13-point lead at 106-93. The Clippers – 44-25 – remained tied with Dallas for fifth-place in the Western Conference standings.

J.J. Redick contributed 27 points for the Clippers, Blake Griffin had 19 points in his third game back. He also had 10 rebounds and five assists. Hedo Turkoglu, starting for Barnes, came through with 19 points on 7 of 12 shooting – 5 of 10 from 3-point range. DeAndre Jordan scored just six points, but he grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked four shots.

The Clippers shot 51.1 percent from the field, 45.9 (17 of 37) from 3-point range.

The Kings (22-45) got 23 points from Rudy Gay and 16 off the bench from Andre Miller. They were without center DeMarcus Cousins (calf) and guard Darren Collison, who has not played since early February because of a hip injury.

Report: Darren Collison agrees to three-year deal with Sacramento


Darren Collison

Darren Collison/photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

Doc Rivers was talking priorities on the night of the NBA Draft. One was to re-sign backup point guard Darren Collison.

“Our first guy, I’ll be honest, is one of our guys that opted out,” Rivers said June 26. “He’s a little guy. That’s very important for us.”

Rivers confirmed he was talking about Collison. Lo and behold, Collison has agreed to a three-year deal with the Sacramento Kings. The accord is for $16 million, according to the L.A. Times, which first reported the news.

Collison told this newspaper in mid-June he wanted to stay with the Clippers.

“My intention is to stick with the Clippers,” he said. “They’re a good team. Good teams like San Antonio and Miami have stuck with the same core. I’d love to stay for three to four years, but there has to be a mutual agreement.”

Collison, out of UCLA and Etiwanda High in Rancho Cucamonga, just completed his fifth NBA season. He spent a year with New Orleans, two with Indiana and one each with Dallas and the Clippers.

Over that time he has averaged 11.9 points and 4.9 assists. He averaged 11.4 points and 3.7 assists this past season with Los Angeles. He played in 80 regular-season games, starting 35.

Here is the Associated Press story:

Darren Collison was a vital part of the Clippers this past season


Darren Collison

Photo by Associated Press

Reserve guard Darren Collison proved to be a vital part of the Clippers this past season. He not only played with passion, he came through with some big performances when his team really needed them.
For example, he scored 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals against Oklahoma City that helped his team to a 101-99 come-from-behind victory that knotted the series at two games apiece. Collison, who is 6-foot, also had seven rebounds in that one.

Indeed, Collison – out of UCLA – is a good player to have on your team. He averaged 11.4 points and 3.7 assists on the season, 8.5 and 2.4 during 13 playoff games. He did have some poor games during the post-season, but at 26 years old there is plenty of time for him to improve in that regard.

One of the regular-season statistics that stands out was his 37.6-percent shooting percentage from 3-point range. It was the second-highest of his five-year career – he shot 40 percent in his rookie season – but it should be noted that he took 189 3-point shots this past season compared to just 115 in that 2009-10 rookie campaign. That shows a player who is getting much more comfortable with his long-range shot.

It will be interesting to see what happens with his contract moving forward. He has a player option for next season at $1,985,500.

Collison, by the way, also showed versatility in that of the 80 regular-season games in which he played he started 35 because of injuries to other players.

Five things to look for in Clippers’ game Wednesday at Phoenix

– Look for the Goran Dragic-led Suns to give an inspiring effort. As of right now they are tied with Memphis for the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings. Ninth-place Dallas is only a half-game behind those two. Phoenix and Memphis are both 44-30 and have eight games left each. Dallas is 44-31 with seven games remaining.

– Look for Chris Paul to continue his terrific play. The Clippers are 3-1 on this road trip. In the game they lost – March 26 at New Orleans – Paul was 0 of 12 from the field and scored just two points. In successive victories over Dallas, Houston and Minnesota, he has scored 31, 30 and 22 points with 30 assists.

– Expect another heavy rebounding night from DeAndre Jordan, who seems to be getting stronger and even more dynamic as the regular season nears an end. Not only is he leading the NBA in rebounding with a 13.9 average, check this out: he has 67 rebounds on the road trip. That’s a 16.7 average. He had 24 Monday at Minnesota.

– If Blake Griffin is out again because of his back, expect Jared Dudley to again be a capable replacement. Keep in mind that even though he did not play Monday, Griffin did dress, meaning he wasn’t that far from being able to go. If Jamal Crawford (calf) also misses his second consecutive game, that could be a lot to deal with against a team fighting for it’s playoff life.

– If Griffin and Crawford play and are at least close to being reasonably healthy, the Clippers win this game going away because they are rolling right now.  Even without those two they could win because along with Paul and Jordan, Matt Barnes and Darren Collison have been heavy contributors.