Five things to take from Clippers’ 106-94 loss to Charlotte in China

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin was one rebound short of a triple-double in Saturday night’s loss to Charlotte in Shenzhen, China/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


– This loss isn’t all that bad when one considers the Clippers – now 1-2 in exhibition games – were without point guard Chris Paul and reserve guard Austin Rivers. Paul sustained a fractured left index finger in practice Saturday morning. The Clippers sent out a news release stating they don’t believe Paul will miss much action. Rivers suffered what the Clippers referred to as “mouth trauma” during practice Friday.

– The Clippers were out-rebounded 48-40, meaning they have been out-rebounded in all three exhibition games. In their opener against the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 2 at Staples Center, the Nuggets out-rebounded the Clippers by a whopping 57-39 count, yet the Clippers won the game 103-96.

– With Paul out, Blake Griffin led the team in assists with 10. He also had 13 points and nine rebounds, falling a rebound short of a triple-double.

– Shooting guard J.J. Redick had a real good game, scoring a team-high 23 points on 9 of 16 shooting. He was 4 of 9 from 3-point range.

Lance Stephenson could be a big deal for the Clippers this season. He entered the game having made just 2 of 14 from the field in the first two games. He was 3 of 8 in this one, 1 of 3 from beyond the arc. Not terrific, but an improvement. Stephenson also had seven assists.

With Chris Paul out, Clippers defeated 106-94 by Hornets in China

Chris Paul

Chris Paul sustained a fractured left index finger during practice Saturday


With Chris Paul out with an injured left index finger, the Clippers were defeated 106-94 by the Charlotte Hornets in Shinzhen, China in a game that began at 10:30 p.m. Saturday night Pacific time and finished about 12:40 a.m. Sunday.

According to a statement released by the Clippers, Paul fractured his finger during practice Saturday. The release indicated Paul is not expected to miss much time.

Reserve guard Austin Rivers also missed the game with what the Clippers described as “mouth trauma” sustained Friday in practice.

J.J. Redick led the Clippers with 23 points, Josh Smith scored 14 off the bench and Blake Griffin had 13 points on 6 of 14 shooting, with nine rebounds and 10 assists. Jamal Crawford contributed 12 points.

The Clippers shot 43.5 percent, the Hornets 48.2.

Jeremy Lin took advantage of Paul’s absence by scoring 16 points off the bench to help lead Charlotte, which is now 3-0 in exhibition play. The Clippers are 2-1. Cody Zeller also had 16 points off the bench for Charlotte, to go along with 10 rebounds.

Former Clippers post Spencer Hawes had 10 points on 4 of 14 shooting for the Hornets, as well as 13 rebounds.

The Clippers were out-rebounded 48-40 and have been out-rebounded in all three exhibition games.

Pablo Prigioni started in Paul’s place and scored five points while doling out seven assists.

The teams play each other again Wednesday in Shanghai, which is about 890 miles from Shenzhen.



Clippers don’t look good in 93-73 loss to Toronto in Canada

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


It’s only the exhibition season, so there is nothing to worry about at this time, but the Clippers on Sunday played the Toronto Raptors in Canada and came out on the short end of a 93-73 score.

The Clippers (1-1) shot just 38 percent (27 of 71) from the field with Blake Griffin (5 of 13) and Chris Paul (2 of 8) combining to shoot 7 of 21. The talented bench made just 10 of 35 shots with Josh Smith going 2-for-8 and Lance Stephenson going 0-for-4; Jamal Crawford shot 2 of 7.

J.J. Redick scored a team-high 15 points, Griffin had 14 and DeAndre Jordan had eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocks.

Toronto out-rebounded the Clippers 48-33.

The Raptors (1-0) were  led by 26 points from Kyle Lowry. Toronto shot 36 free throws, making 29 for 80.6 percent.

J.J. Redick talks about the one open spot available in starting lineup

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Sure, there are quite a few new players on this Clippers team – but most of them will be playing on the second unit. The only starting spot available is the small forward position left open with Matt Barnes’ departure.

At this point, it appears either Paul Pierce or Wesley Johnson will start there. J.J. Redick, the starting shooting guard, was asked Thursday after practice about the starting unit and its one open spot.

“We still need to find a little bit of continuity with that starting group,” Redick said. “Our ball movement has been really good. That’s one of the things that Matt was great at is just making quick decisions moving the ball. Wes is similar to Matt, capable of hitting 3s and spacing the floor. So we’re going to ask him to do a lot of the same things that Matt did. It’ll take a little bit of time.

“With Paul, I think that Paul can just kind of fit in and plug in wherever. He’s that smart and that savvy.”

Five things to take from Clippers’ 113-100 Game 7 loss to the Rockets

Jamal Crawford brings the ball up court as the Rockets’ James Harden whoops it up during the third quarter of Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday at Toyota Center in Houston/Photo by James Nielsen, Houston Chronicle



– The first thing we take from this Game 7 loss is that had the Clippers taken care of business when they should have in Game 6 at Staples Center when they had the Rockets right where they wanted them with a 19-point lead late in the third quarter, there never would have been a Game 7. And the Clippers would be playing the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals instead of the Rockets. You snooze, you lose.

– The Trio of J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes struggled shooting from the field for the third consecutive game – all Clippers losses. Redick scored 10 points on 4 of 12 shooting, Barnes was scoreless on 0 of 2 and Crawford scored a hard 17 points on 6 of 18. They were a combined 5 of 19 from 3-point range. As a team, the Clippers shot just 25 percent (7 of 28) from beyond the arc, also their third poor performance from there in succession.

Doc Rivers bemoaned the turnovers, noting his Clippers were “a low-turnover” team all season. The Clippers had 18, the Rockets 17 total (16 player, 1 team). But the Clippers scored only 17 points off Rockets miscues, while the Rockets scored 27 off the Clippers’. Redick had six turnovers, Blake Griffin five and Chris Paul four.

– Other than Crawford’s 17 points – and again, they were not a good 17 points – the Clippers received virtually nothing from their bench. Austin Rivers and Glen “Big Baby” Davis each scored two points. That was it. Houston got 11 points from Corey Brewer, eight from Terrence Jones, four from Pablo Prigioni and two from Clint Capela. Moreover, Prigioni had four assists and three steals in 20 productive minutes.

– The Clippers did well to fight back in this game, pulling within three points in the third quarter and within eight twice late in the fourth. But Doc Rivers was not happy when Trevor Ariza hit a 3-pointer with just under a minute to play to increase his team’s lead to 11 and sealing the Clippers’ fate. Rivers was obviously dismayed when he called a timeout, looking at his players as if to say, “Why was he so open?” Rivers afterward said his team missed a lot of assignments. The Rockets shot 40 percent (12 of 30) from 3-point range.

BONUS TAKE: Rockets guard James Harden did not shoot well from the field, making 7 of 20. But his game-high 31 points included 18 trips to the free-throw line; he made 15. By the way, the Clippers shot just 17 free throws all game, the Rockets 41.

J.J. Redick says crushing Game 7 loss feels ‘like a wake or a funeral’

Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers congratulates Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets after the Rockets defeated the Clippers 113 to 100 during Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals at the Toyota Center for the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 17, 2015 in Houston, Texas.   (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Blake Griffin of the Clippers shakes hands with the Rockets’ Dwight Howard following Houston’s 113-100 victory over the Clippers in Game 7/Photo by Scott Halleran, Getty Images


J.J. Redick wasn’t the only member of the Clippers to struggle in the last three games of the Western Conference semifinals won by the Houston Rockets on Sunday via a 113-100 count over the Clippers in Game 7 at Toyota Center in Houston.

Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes also struggled.

Redick on Sunday scored 10 points on 4 of 12 shooting, 2 of 9 from 3-point range. He also had six of his team’s 18 turnovers.

Afterward, Redick described the mood.

“Still in shock,” he said. “Sadness. Disappointment. You never want to equate sports with death, but it does feel like a wake or a funeral.”