Food for thought: the Rockets have not lost three in a row all season

Live: Clippers in Houston for Game 5 of NBA West Semis

The Rockets’ Dwight Howard and the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan tip off Game 4 at Staples Center/Photo by Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press

 

The Clippers entered Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinals series against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center in Houston having won the previous two games to take a 3-1 series lead.

Here is an interesting statistic that is food for thought: The Rockets have not lost three consecutive games all season.

 

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James Harden dislikes Hack-a-DJ, but Chris Paul has no issue with it

DeAndre Jordan made 14 of 34 free throws in Sunday’s victory over the Houston Rockets/Staff photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News

 

There has been plenty of talk this season about whether the rule should be changed so the Hack-a-DJ strategy can’t be used. Rockets guard James Harden, for one, is not in
favor of the ploy that saw Clippers center DeAndre Jordan shoot 34 free throws in Sunday’s 128-95 victory over Houston in Game 4 at Staples Center.

“I mean, personally I don’t like it,” Harden said. “But I guess different coaches have their different philosophies on the game.”

Jordan shot 28 of his 34 free throws in the first half, which slowed down the game tremendously. There was a lot of standing around because of it, which is another element Harden doesn’t like.

“Yeah, it’s a little difficult,” he said. “That’s why at halftime you’ve got to get a good warm-up in. They jumped on us right … I think J.J. Redick had  two 3s coming out the third quarter, which gave them a 13-point lead and they took advantage of it from there. With this thing we’ve got to be alert at all times.

“We’ve got to know where guys are and know what’s going on in the game.”

The Clippers led just 60-54 at halftime and opened the third quarter on a 15-2 run to move to a 19-point lead at 75-56. Chris Paul had a 3-pointer during the onslaught, as did Redick.

Interestingly, Paul apparently does not think the Hack-a-DJ tactic should be abolished.

“I don’t know, it is what it is,” he said. “It’s part of the game. You know, people be talking about should they ban it, whatever. No, it’s part of the game.”

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Hack-a-DJ sends DeAndre Jordan to FT line 28 times in half, Clippers up 60-54

 

 

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

With Hack-a-DJ being used to disgusting proportions, the Clippers on Sunday took a 60-54 lead over the Houston Rockets into the halftime break of Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinals at Staples Center.

Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan scored 12 points apiece in the half. Rockets coach Kevin McHale went to the Hack-a-DJ in the first quarter, with Jordan shooting 14 free throws, making seven. He shot 14 more in the second quarter, but made just three more to finish 10 of 28.

Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford scored eight points apiece and Austin Rivers had seven.

Trevor Ariza led Houston with 15 first-half points and Terrence Jones and James Harden each scored 10.

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Clippers outscore Rockets 41-21 in second quarter to lead 65-56 at break

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers trailed by 11 points at 35-24 after one quarter Wednesday night in Game 2 against the host Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. But the Clippers roared back to outscore the Rockets by 20 points (41-21) in the second quarter to take a 65-56 lead into the halftime break.

This, without Chris Paul, who remains out with a left hamstring strain.

Blake Griffin was unbelievably good. He scored 26 points on 11 of 14 shooting. He also grabbed five rebounds and doled out three assists.

DeAndre Jordan contributed 10 points even though he didn’t play much of the first quarter after getting two quick fouls. Lester Hudson came through with two big baskets and five points.

The Rockets, who got 16 points from Dwight Howard and 12 from James Harden in the half, continued their turnovers trend with 10. Harden, who had nine in Monday’s Game 1 loss to the Clippers, had five of those.

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After trailing by 10, Clippers rally to tie San Antonio Spurs 51-51 by halftime

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers trailed 45-35 with just over six minutes to play in the first half Thursday night in Game 6 against the Spurs at AT&T Center in San Antonio.

By the time halftime rolled around, they were tied 51-51 with San Antonio.

DeAndre Jordan led the Clippers with 15 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in the half. Hack-a-DJ was deployed by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, and Jordan responded by making 7 of 13 from the free-throw line.

J.J. Redick also had a solid half, with 14 points.

Marco Belinelli led the Spurs with 12 points off the bench, all on 3-pointers. Kawhi Leonard scored 10 and Tim Duncan had six points and seven rebounds, but also had three fouls.

The Clippers shot 1 of 9 from 3-point range.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 114-105 victory over Spurs in Game 4

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

– It was kind of ironic that coach Doc Rivers became a bit perturbed about being asked – once again – about the lack of a good bench at the pregame news conference at AT&T Center. Then his son, Austin, goes out and has the game of his life with 16 points on 7 of 8 shooting while also playing solid defense. He did all this in 17 absolutely terrific minutes.

– Both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin said that without the younger Rivers, the Clippers would not have won this game. They are probably right. Then again, Paul and Griffin both had monster games. Paul scored 34 points and shot 11 of 19 while doling out seven assists. Griffin scored 20 points and was a beast on the boards with 19 rebounds; he, too, had seven assists. So you could also say that if either one of those two has a mediocre game, the Clippers don’t win this one.

DeAndre Jordan didn’t score much in this one, going for six points. But he had 14 rebounds and four blocked shots that helped the Clippers, setting the tone for a stronger defensive effort than in Game 3, when the Clippers were destroyed by 27 points.

– Another key element to this win was J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford getting their shooting back on track. Redick had shot 10 of 32 in the first three games, but shot 6 of 12 in this one for 17 points. Crawford was 12 of 34 the first three games, and shot 6 of 13 for 15 points in this one. Again, the Clippers needed every bit of that.

– If you’re a Spurs fan, don’t blame Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard or Tony Parker for San Antonio’s loss. Duncan scored 22 points with 14 rebounds, Leonard had 26 points and seven rebounds. Parker scored 18 points. The other two starters – Tiago Splitter and Danny Green – shot a combined 0 of 11. Splitter was 0 of 5, Green 0 of 6. All of Green’s misses were from 3-point range. Ouch! Neither player went to the free-throw line, either.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 107-92 Game 1 victory over San Antonio

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Jamal Crawford had shot just 10 of 36 (27.7 percent) from the field in four games since returning from a calf injury that caused him to miss 17 consecutive games. To see him shoot 7 of 10 – 3 of 4 from 3-point range – and score 17 points in this game was nothing more than a really terrific thing for the Clippers. They need all they can get from a bench not nearly as deep as San Antonio’s.

– You could see it by the look of determination Chris Paul had on his face. There was just no way the Clippers were going to lose this game if he had anything to say about it. He scored 32 points on 13 of 20 from the field – 3 of 5 from beyond the arc – and also pulled down seven rebounds while doling out six assists. Doesn’t get much stronger than that. Will this be the year Paul and the Clippers get past the second round? Stay tuned.

– As good as Paul was, Blake Griffin was almost as good. He scored 26 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, had six assists and three blocked shots in an overall fine performance. He also showed some of the ferocity we don’t see quite as much since he added the outside game to his repertoire by throwing down a mean tomahawk dunk in the third quarter for a 77-61 lead. Griffin also wore that winning look.

– Even though the Clippers emerged victorious, one has to wonder if San Antonio’s deeper bench will eventually play a larger role in determining the outcome of these games. The Spurs got 43 points from six reserves, the Clippers got the 17 points from Crawford and only five more from two other players combined. The Clippers’ starters played many more minutes than their San Antonio counterparts. Griffin played nearly 43 minutes, DeAndre Jordan played over 38 minutes and Paul nearly 38. Kawhi Leonard played the most minutes for the Spurs at 33. Will the Clippers starters tire out if this continues?

– We can’t leave out the fans. They were as good as they have been all year, with the Spurs getting only a few cheers from a few people. The Clippers notice when fans at their Staples Center root for the opponent, and it was a good thing that almost all the love was for the Clippers in this one. When Griffin threw down that aforementioned monster slam, the Clippers faithful went absolutely wild.

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Clippers lead Spurs 49-43 at halftime in Game 1 at Staples Center

Blake Griffin scored 13 points, Jamal Crawford had nine and Chris Paul and J.J. Redick seven apiece and the Clippers led the San Antonio Spurs 49-43 at halftime of Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series Sunday at Staples Center.

The Clippers shot 47.2 percent from the field.

Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with nine points. San Antonio shot just 35.6 percent.

DeAndre Jordan scored five points for the Clippers, all on free throws as the Spurs went to the Hack-a-DJ late in the half. Jordan was 5 of 12 from the free-throw line.

 

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Clippers vs. Spurs: Game 1 reading material

Here’s a few links about today’s game while we wait for tip-off.

Let us know in the comments section who will win the series, and in how many games.

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Chris Paul says Clippers definitely more prepared for this go-round with Spurs

Chris Paul

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

 

Chris Paul’s first season with the Clippers was 2011-12. Paul helped the Clippers to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, where they were swept by in four games by the San Antonio Spurs.

The Clippers will play the Spurs in the first round beginning Sunday night at 7:30 at Staples Center. Paul was queried at practice this week as to whether his team is more prepared for this go-round with San Antonio. Paul answered sharply.

“If we’re not better prepared now than we were three years ago,” Paul said, “then we probably shouldn’t even play.”

The team in ’11-’12 had Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin but not Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick or Jamal Crawford.

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