Chris Paul scored 30 points in the Clippers’ victory Wednesday night at Sacramento/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
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.
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: http://www.dailynews.com/sports/20140703/darren-collison-agrees-to-3-year-16-million-deal-with-sacramento-kings-according-to-source
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.
– 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.
– It was smart for the Clippers (53-22) to hold Blake Griffin out of this game. He is arguably the team’s best player – though fans of Chris Paul may debate that – and there was no use risking not having a healthy Griffin for the post-season, which is just around the corner.
– Big-time kudos to Jared Dudley, who started in place of Griffin and came through with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. Dudley shot 6 of 10 from the field, 2 of 3 from 3-point range.
– Jamal Crawford, who had recently missed eight out of nine games, was back on the bench with what was described as a calf injury in an Associated Press story on the game. A strained left calf was why Crawford missed those aforementioned games before playing in five consecutive games ahead of Monday.
– DeAndre Jordan had a career-high 24 rebounds. Dude is just a beast. He also had 11 points and four blocks. However, showing he’s not perfect, Jordan also had five of the team’s 18 turnovers.
– Darren Collison had a terrific night shooting the ball. He was 9 of 17 from the field – 2 of 3 from 3-point range – and he made all eight of his free throws for a game-high 28 points. Picking up the offense like that when the team’s leading scorer (Griffin) is out is nothing but positive. Collison did have six turnovers to go with seven assists, but he also played 43 minutes. The points, minutes and turnovers were season-highs.
Next up, Wednesday at Phoenix.
– The Clippers had 13 turnovers against the worst team in the league, leading to this reaction from coach Doc Rivers: “I wasn’t really happy with us offensively tonight. I didn’t think we moved the ball a lot. And then I thought we were careless with the ball at times as well. But you know, I’ll take the win.” To be fair, the Clippers average 13.9 turnovers per game, so they came in under that. But again, this was against a Bucks team that came in 44 games under .500 at 13-57.
– It was the second game in succession where the Clippers had trouble putting away a far inferior team. It was the same way Saturday when the Pistons hung around until they were defeated 112-103 after trailing by just a point at halftime. Perhaps this is not a good thing. Then again, Chris Paul realizes not every can be wonderful: “I mean, you always want to play well, but you want to win well. It’s not going to be pretty every night. Tonight it was, do whatever you have to do to win.”
– The victory was the Clippers’ 50th of the season. It’s the second consecutive year in which they have reached that plateau. But it won’t mean a thing if they don’t get a chance to play for that ring, said Matt Barnes: “It doesn’t mean anything if you don’t advance in the playoffs. This team has come a long way, but we’re not into moral victories, we’re not taking winning-streak victories, we want to advance and we know we have a good enough team to win a championship.”
– Darren Collison, in his second game back after missing back-to-back games with a stomach virus, had a terrific overall game. He scored 15 points, made 5 of 9 from the field, 3 of 4 from 3-point range. In addition, he had six assists and zero turnovers and even blocked a shot.
– As uncool as it might have been for the Clippers to have struggled so mightily to beat the lowly Bucks, it could have been much worse. Had they lost that game, and that was a real possibility as they led by just four points with 3:24 to play, that could have been disastrous heading out for a five-game road trip. The psyche is a delicate thing. At least they won.