Clippers’ six-game exhibition schedule includes two games in China

Chris Paul

Chris Paul will soon begin his fifth season with the Clippers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

The Clippers have released their six-game preseason schedule and it includes two games in China.

The slate opens Oct. 2 with a game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. The Clippers then go to Vancouver for a game against the Toronto Raptors on Oct. 4.

The Clippers will travel to China to play the Charlotte Hornets on Oct. 11 and Oct. 14 in arenas in Shenzhen and Shanghai, respectively.

The final two games of the exhibition schedule will feature the Clippers playing host to defending-NBA champion Golden State on Oct. 20 and the Portland Trail Blazers on Oct. 22.

Jamal Crawford remembers the buzz in Game 7 against Golden State in ’14

Jamal Crawford

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

 

With the playoffs fast approaching, the Clippers still don’t know who they’ll play in the first round or whether they will have the homecourt advantage, which proved vital to the Clippers in 2014 when they took on Golden State in the first round.

The Clippers had homecourt advantage in that one, and it was a good thing because the Warriors have a great crowd at Oracle Arena and had Game 7 been there, the result might have been different. As it was, the Warriors were up by eight points at halftime in Game 7 at Staples Center before the Clippers emerged with a 126-121 victory to advance to the second round against Oklahoma City.

Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford remembers the buzz at Staples Center.

“I remember when we came on the court, it was electric,” Crawford said. “The crowd was into it, they were fired up and it was truly a win-or-go-home moment for us because we had to get it done.”

Warriors’ Steph Curry talks about dribble move that sent Chris Paul sprawling

Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors had already whittled a 17-point deficit down to nine points when he did a number on the Clippers’ Chris Paul with a dribble move that sent Paul down to one hand on the hardwood. The move and subsequent short jumper pulled the Warriors within 48-41 with 2:25 left in the second quarter on their way to a 110-106 victory over Los Angeles.

Curry afterward talked about the play.

“I snaked through the paint and he (Paul) was trailing and I thought I could make a move back to the basket, and somewhere with the creativity in between doing the double move … as soon as I saw him go down, I knew I had to shoot it and see what happens,” Curry said.

His teammates on the bench went wild.

“You just have to block it (the bench’s reaction) out as best as you can,” Curry said. “You get a little bit of an adrenaline rush, so those are cool moments. But thankfully the shot went in and I finished the play. I haven’t seen the bench yet, but I heard that everyone was going crazy.”

Even if you are a Clippers fans, you have to appreciate this. Here it is once again:

Blake Griffin just wants to win, so his 40-point night Tuesday means little to him

Blake Griffin

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

 

Blake Griffin on Tuesday night had easily his best game since he returned from an elbow injury. He scored 40 points on 16 of 25 shooting. He also grabbed 12 rebounds, doled out five assists and blocked three shots in 42 1/2 minutes.

But the Clippers lost 110-106 to the rival Golden State Warriors at Staples Center, so to him, the numbers didn’t mean much.

“I don’t really count that (scoring performance) as anything dynamic,” he said when asked to assess his game. “When you walk away with a loss, it does not matter. It doesn’t really mean a lot. There were plenty of things I could have done to help us play better. The bottom line is that we need to be a better team. Championships are not won today, but we still need to improve as a team.”

Griffin’s season-high of 45 points came Dec. 8 in a 121-120 overtime victory over Phoenix.

Blake Griffin, Doc Rivers not happy about all the cheering for the Warriors

Matt Barnes of the Clippers goes up for a shot in Tuesday’s 110-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors/Staff photo by John McCoy

 

The Golden State Warriors aren’t the only team that has had a strong fan base this season at Staples Center when playing the Clippers. The same could be said when the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat played them there.

But it seemed like all the cheering for the Warriors in their 110-106 victory over the Clippers on Tuesday at Staples Center really rubbed some the wrong way. Blake Griffin, for example, made no bones about how displeased he was during the post-game news conference.

He was asked if it felt like a playoff atmosphere.

“Not really, no,” he said. He was asked why.

“I don’t know, the homecourt advantage is just not there for us,” Griffin said. “So if that’s how it feels in the playoffs, it’s not looking good.”

Coach Doc Rivers also was queried as to whether the ambiance had a post-season feel.

“It did, in some ways,” Rivers said. “I liked our crowd tonight, for the most part. I didn’t like their crowd.”

Having covered Clippers-Warriors games at Oracle Arena in Oakland, believe this, there is almost no cheering for the Clippers.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 110-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin scored 40 points in Tuesday’s loss to Golden State/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

– The absence of sixth-man Jamal Crawford was very obvious in this loss. While the Warriors got a big spark off the bench from post Marreese Speights, who had 13 points, the spark Crawford typically brings was not there to ignite as he missed his 14th consecutive game with a calf injury. Golden State got 34 points from its bench, the Clippers just 12. Sure, the Warriors’ bench played more minutes. But still, in games against the elite teams, Crawford not being in there becomes much more damaging. The good news is Crawford could return after the Clippers come back from their two-game trip that will see them play games Wednesday night at Portland and Saturday night at Denver.

DeAndre Jordan leads the league in field-goal percentage at 70.6, so shooting 1 of 5 in this one was certainly uncharacteristic. Interestingly, he seemed to have a couple of opportunities to throw down dunks but instead tried to lay the ball in the basket. That resulted in misses. Even fans were yelling at Jordan to “dunk the ball.”

Blake Griffin had a monster game. With 40 points on 16 of 25 shooting, he appears all the way back from the staph infection that was surgically removed from his right elbow. His season-high of 45 points came Dec. 8 in a 121-120 overtime victory over Phoenix. Griffin also pulled down 12 rebounds Tuesday, doled out five assists and blocked three shots.

– Considering this game was played at Staples Center and not Oracle Arena, there were way too many Warriors fans present. Both coach Doc Rivers and Griffin complained about that afterward, which was understandable. This isn’t the first time that has happened, but it makes one wonder just how much of a homecourt advantage the Clippers are going to have during the playoffs when they are playing at what are supposed to be the friendly confines of Staples Center.

Chris Paul scored 27 points and had nine assists. But he still had to try and contain Golden State’s Steph Curry, who started out by shooting 1 of 4 before getting hot and finishing 8 of 15 for 27 points of his own. Afterward, Paul said there were three instances where he was in Curry’s chest, yet Curry still made his shot. Tonight (Wednesday), Paul will have his hands full with another dynamic guard – Portland’s Damian Lillard. “It’s a point-guard-driven league,” Paul said.