Five things to take from Clippers’ 114-104 victory Monday night at Minnesota

- 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.

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Without Blake Griffin most of the way, Clippers still win at Houston

Despite having Blake Griffin for only six minutes, the Clippers on Saturday defeated the host Houston Rockets 118-107 at Toyota Center.

Griffin went out in the first quarter with back spasms. He did not return. Also, reserve Glen “Big Baby” Davis was sent to the locker room in the second quarter by coach Doc Rivers following a verbal confrontation between the two near the Clippers’ bench. He, too, did not return.

Chris Paul led the Clippers, who clinched a playoff berth, with 30 points, 12 assists, five rebounds and three steals and only one turnover in 39 minutes.

DeAndre Jordan contributed 20 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks for Los Angeles. He did not have to face Rockets center Dwight Howard, out with a sore ankle.

Matt Barnes, who hit a big 3-point shot down the stretch for a 10-point lead, had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

James Harden led the Rockets (49-23) with 32 points and Chandler Parsons scored 28.

The Clippers (52-22) moved two games up on Houston in the Western Conference standings.

Next up, Monday at Minnesota.

 

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A look at the big fellas ahead of Saturday’s game against the Rockets

Just a quick look at how the two big fellas have fared for the Rockets and Clippers in their first three games – all won by the Clippers – ahead of Saturday’s game between the teams at Houston. Prime Ticket will televise at 5 p.m.
In the first game Nov. 4 at Staples Center, DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers, who won 137-118. Dwight Howard went for 13 and nine.
In the second game Nov. 9 at Houston, Jordan had 12 points and 18 rebounds for the Clippers, who won 107-94. Howard went for 21 and eight for the Rockets.
Then, Feb. 26, Jordan scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 10-93 Clippers’ victory at Staples Center. Howard had 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Jordan has the clear advantage in blocks with eight in the three games to four for Howard.

The third-place Clippers (51-22) are a game ahead of Houston in the Western Conference. The Clippers have nine games remaining, Houston 11.

It should be noted that Howard had recently missed three games with a sore left ankle. He has played in two consecutive games, but he told the Houston Chronicle after Thursday’s victory over Philadelphia that his ankle was sore.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ come-from-behind victory over Mavericks

- Thursday’s rally from down double digits in the fourth quarter was the third time the Clippers have done that to the Mavericks this season. Thursday’s final was 109-103. In the other two, Los Angeles emerged by scores of 119-112 and 129-127.

- Superstars like Chris Paul don’t stay down long. He missed all 12 of his field goal attempts in Wednesday’s surprising loss at New Orleans. On Thursday he was 9 of 18 overall, 4 of 8 from 3-point range for a game-high 31 points. Enough said on that.

- Any time a team shows the wherewithal the Clippers showed Thursday, that makes playoff opponents take notice. They know the Clippers have heart, and that can be worrisome to said opponent.

- DeAndre Jordan averages 2.38 blocks as of this writing. He had a rare no-block game against Dallas. But when you score 16 points and grab 15 rebounds, it’s all good. Man, Jordan has been a beast this year. He’s now averaging a league-best 13.7 rebounds.

- Other than Jamal Crawford, who had 14 points, the bench contributed very little. Then again, other than Crawford – who played 28 minutes – no one really played enough minutes to get into a rhythm. Jared Dudley and Danny Granger each played 10 minutes, but the other two players who saw time played a combined 11 minutes. The five starters played 40, 38, 38, 40 and 25 (Darren Collison) minutes.

Next up, Saturday at Houston.

 

 

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Clippers rally from 11 points down to win by six at Dallas; Chris Paul rebounds nicely

The Clippers on Thursday rallied from an 11-point deficit to outscore the host Dallas Mavericks by 17 points down the stretch to come away with a 109-103 victory. It was a huge win for the Clippers for two reasons: they had just come off a rather stunning loss at New Orleans a night earlier, and Chris Paul scored 31 points after scoring just two at New Orleans and missing all 12 of his field goal attempts.

Paul made 9 of 18 from the field, 4 of 8 from 3-point range. The team made 11 of 26 3-point attempts for 42.3 percent.

Blake Griffin scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, DeAndre Jordan went for 16 points and 15 rebounds and Jamal Crawford had 14 points. Counting 12 points from Matt Barnes and 11 from Darren Collison, the Clippers had six players score in double figures.

Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points for Dallas (43-30), which is a half game behind Phoenix for the No. 8 playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Each time had three players get technical fouls.

The Clippers (51-22) are third in the Western Conference behind front-running San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

Next stop on the five-game road trip is Houston on Saturday.

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Jamal Crawford can’t say enough about defense of DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan has 169 blocked shots this season. That’s 27 more than his previous best of 142 in the 2010-11 season, and there are still 12 games left in the regular season. His average of 2.4 is third best in the league.

Jordan is also averaging a league-high 13.7 rebounds. His previous best was 8.3 in 2011-12.

Teammate Jamal Crawford, for one, can’t say enough about the 6-foot-11 Jordan.

“He’s the defensive player of the year,” Crawford said at Monday’s shoot-around ahead of the Clippers’ game against the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center. “He’s unbelievable. I mean, sometimes we’ll get beat and we’ll look up in the air, and we know he’s there.

“I mean, it’s not a good thing to have, but I guess it is a good thing to have in that respect. I think his impact on defense has been as good or better than anyone else in the league.”

 

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Blake Griffin’s scoring average is highest since his rookie campaign

Blake Griffin had a terrific rookie season in 2010-2011. He averaged 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds. But his numbers declined in each of the next two seasons. He went for 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds his sophomore campaign and 18.0 points and 8.3 rebounds this past season.

Griffin has responded by averaging 24.3 points through 69 games of this, his fourth season in the NBA. His rebounding numbers – he’s averaging 9.7 – still don’t match what he did as a rookie. Then again, center DeAndre Jordan is averaging a league-leading 13.7 rebounds for the Clippers this season, and that makes it difficult for Griffin to grab 12 a game himself.

Jordan averaged 7.2 rebounds during Griffin’s rookie season.

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Center DeAndre Jordan has the longest current iron-man streak in the NBA

Clippers center DeAndre Jordan has now played in a league-high 227 consecutive regular-season games, including Monday’s at Denver.

That puts Jordan No. 4 all-time for the franchise. Randy Smith played in 595 consecutive games, Michael Brooks in 293 and Freeman Williams 249. Danny Manning is fifth at 206.

Jordan and Blake Griffin are the only two Clippers to have played in all 69 games this season.

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Blake Griffin lays blame for loss at Denver at his own talented feet

Clippers forward Blake Griffin had just been named Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday when he took the floor later that night at Denver. The quest: a 12th consecutive victory.

Griffin scored 26 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and doled out four assists. But he made just 7 of 25 shots from the field, and he seemed to want to take the blame for the defeat.

“Too many missed shots, too many small errors here and there,” Griffin said on the Clippers’ website. “Everybody played hard, but I just put us in a bad position.”

It was the second leg of back-to-back games, but center DeAndre Jordan did not want to use that as an alibi.

“Back-to-backs are always tough, especially because we’ve got guys down,” he said, referring to his team’s injuries. “But that’s no excuse. Every team has back-to-backs and it’s tough. You’ve just got to find a way to win. That’s all.”

The Clippers have been given a couple of days off by coach Doc Rivers and won’t practice again until Thursday. They play host to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday at 7:30  p.m.

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Forward Blake Griffin named Western Conference Player of the Week

Clippers forward Blake Griffin has been named Western Conference Player of the Week, the NBA announced Monday.

In four games played between March 10 and March 16, Griffin averaged 27 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists in victories over Phoenix, Golden State, Utah and Cleveland.

Griffin is averaging 24.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists on the season. He is one of just two Clippers who have played in all 68 games – center DeAndre Jordan is the other.

Griffin and the Clippers (48-20) will put their 11-game winning streak on the line tonight when they play at Denver (29-37) at 7:30 (on Prime Ticket).

The Clippers have not tasted defeat since dropping a 102-96 decision
Feb. 21 at Memphis.

 

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