Five things to take from Clippers’ 108-103 loss Friday at New Orleans

Eric Gordon, guarded by J.J. Redick, puts up a shot. He scored 28 points in New Orleans’ victory over the Clippers on Friday/Photo by Associated Press

 

- The Clippers have been playing well, so it’s hard to take a shot at them. But to lose this one when New Orleans did not have forward Anthony Davis (groin injury) – one of the top players in the league – has to be tough for them to take. That was Davis cheering from the bench as his team was securing the victory. The Pelicans are 2 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, so they are very hungry.

- The setback cost the Clippers (32-15) in the Western Conference standings. They went from being tied for third with Houston and Portland to tied for fourth with Portland, now a game behind third-place Houston, 2 1/2 games behind second-place Memphis and 5 1/2 behind frontrunning Golden State.

- The Clippers did not guard the 3-point line as well as they could have. The Pelicans shot 52 percent (13 of 25) from beyond the arc and that is not going to cut it. Forward Ryan Anderson and guard Eric Gordon, in particular, torched the Clippers from there. Anderson made 5 of 11 from 3-point range and Gordon was 5 of 7 as he went for a game-high 28 points. The Clippers, on the other hand, made just 25 percent (7 of 28) from long-distance.

- One could also say the Pelicans won this game from the free-throw line. They shot 26 free throws and made 23 for a whopping 88.5 percent. The Clippers, one of the more inferior free-throw shooting teams in tne league, made 12 of 17 for 70.6 percent. DeAndre Jordan was 0 of 2.

- It’s difficult to take a lot of positives from a road loss against a middle-of-the-road team missing its best player. But Chris Paul had a terrific game. He scored a team-high 24 points with seven assists, eight rebounds and three steals while shooting 10 of 20.

BONUS TAKE: The Clippers were outrebouned 51-38 by a team that, again, was sans Davis, who averages a team-high 10.4 rebounds. DeAndre Jordan had 15, Blake Griffin only four. Remember, Paul had eight and at 6-foot he’s 10 inches shorter than Griffin.

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Just got done with the Clippers first summer league practice

We’ll have more later, but in the meantime, here’s a few notes:

- Blake Griffin has adjusted his shooting form. Instead of shooting on the way down from his vertical jump as he did in his predraft workout with the Clippers in June, he’s now shooting at the top of his (albeit shorter) jump. It’s a more streamlined jumper, for sure. Griffin: “That’s something we’ve really been working on, shooting on the way up for my jumper, and extending every time and finishing as I’m going up. I feel like I’m shooting a lot better than I did in the workout. It feels really good.”

- Mike Taylor was still a bit out of control at times, but he had a couple of nice alley-oop passes and certainly showed his quickness against former Notre Dame and Ohio State guards Kyle McAlarney and Jamar Butler. Both Griffin and DeAndre Jordan said after the workout that Taylor has pulled them aside and readied them for in-air action by the hoop.

- Jordan has been working on his offensive game. A couple times in the post he pulled nice moves against former Nevada center Kevinn Pinkney, but everything is still in its beginning stages. Jordan: “I’ve been working on my offense, trying to get it right. Even its some small moves, paint shots, I’ve been trying to work on anything besides dunking every time.”

-Eric Gordon didn’t make himself as much a part of the game as you would expect with the other players being of a lower caliber than he’s used to. Still, he didn’t disappoint.

- There were quite a few participants in the mini-camp of sorts who won’t be on the summer league roster: guard Jamar Butler (Ohio State), forwards Korvotney Barber (Auburn), Corey Belser (San Diego), and Travon Bryant (Missouri), and forward/center Kibwe Trim (Sacred Heart).

- Sean Banks was probably the most impressive non-Clipper at today’s workout. He showed his athleticism numerous times in the scrimmage. After leaving Memphis after his sophomore season in 2005, Banks has floated around the basketball scene, including appearances in the summer league, NBDL, and in Puerto Rico and Turkey. He averaged nearly 22 points a game in the 2007-08 season with the L.A. D-Fenders of the NBDL.

- Mike Dunleavy: “We threw a lot of stuff at them in the first practice, but overall picture, as we go through the next couple days we’ll smooth it out. We’ll come back tonight and see what did they grasp, what do they come back with, what do they have the second time, and start doing repetitions to find the places where they were lacking tonight.”

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