Chris Paul: Clippers won’t know exactly who they are until Jamal Crawford returns

Jamal Crawford

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

 

Chris Paul was asked Monday if the team is starting to find the consistency it would like to have. The Clippers have won four in a row and own a record of 46-25.

Paul quickly brought the injured Jamal Crawford into the conversation. Crawford, the sixth-man averaging 16.4 points, has missed the past 10 games with a calf injury.

“We’re still trying to find it,” Paul said. “And like I’ve said, we can play as well as we want to right now. But ‘Mal is a huge piece of this team. So I don’t care what anybody says, we’re not going to see who we really are until ‘Mal comes back.”

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J.J. Redick breaks Jamal Crawford’s franchise record for made 3-pointers

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

J.J. Redick scored 26 points Friday in the Clippers’ 113-99 victory over the Washington Wizards at Staples Center. He made 4 of 7 from 3-point range and now holds the Clippers’ single-season record for made 3-pointers with 164. He broke the record of teammate Jamal Crawford, who made 161 in 2013-14.

“I knew I was getting close,” Redick said. “I didn’t know I was that close, that I was one away (before Friday). Jamal had mentioned something to me two or three weeks ago, when I was at 130-something. It’s cool to break Jamal’s record – a good friend and a guy I love playing with. Hopefully, I will have many more seasons with the Clippers and challenge this record.”

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 116-105 victory over Sacramento Kings

Chris Paul

Chris Paul led the Clippers with 30 points in Wednesday’s 116-105 victory at Sacramento/:Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

- The Clippers received very little from their bench in this victory. Austin Rivers, Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Spencer Hawes all shot 1 of 4 from the field, meaning they were a combined 3 of 12. Nate Robinson was 2 of 3 for four points, but he played only 9 1/2 minutes. Well, when four of your starters each score at least 19 points – Blake Griffin and Hedo Turkoglu had 19 apiece, J.J. Redick scored 27 and Chris Paul 30 – the bench doesn’t need to score much.

- Speaking of Turkoglu, his 19 points were a season-high. He shot very well, making 7 of 12 shots overall, 5 of 10 from 3-point range. He made his second consecutive start in place of Matt Barnes (hamstring). He also played solid defense on Kings forward Rudy Gay, who made just 6 of 19 from the field to get his 23 points. “Tonight he looked like the defender that he was before,” Kings coach George Karl said. “When he was in his prime, his defense was pretty first class. I thought that he did a nice job on Rudy Gay tonight.”

- There is one thing that seems to have gone unnoticed regarding the return of Griffin. Remember how he had taken his game to the outside more than ever this season, thus resulting in his rebounding numbers being down? Well, he had 10 rebounds in this one, meaning he has had 11, 11 and 10 in his three games back. He’s averaging a career-low 7.7 for the season.

- What can we say about Redick? He had himself another fine outing with his 27 points. He shot 9 of 16, 7 of 12 from beyond the arc. Redick is now averaging 15.6 points while shooting 46.6 percent from the field, 42.4 percent (160 of 377) from 3-point range. All of those numbers represent career-highs. Redick is averaging 20.7 points in 10 games this month.

- So, had a few tweets and whatnot about why it was so difficult for the Clippers to put away a lowly team like the Kings, who are now just 22-45. The Clippers led just 87-86 with 8:07 to play. Yes, the Clippers were again without Barnes and Jamal Crawford (calf). But the Kings
were without All-Star post DeMarcus Cousins (calf) and have been without guard Darren Collison (hip) since early February. That said, keep in mind that the Clippers all season have had trouble maintaining focus throughout a given game. That’s still happening. Yet, they are 44-25 and tied for fifth-place in the Western Conference standings. The point being, if the Clippers can figure out their in-game lapses – and we realize that is “if” – they could be tough to deal with in the post-season.

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Blake Griffin could return Sunday against the Houston Rockets

Blake Griffin

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

 

A spokesman for the Clippers on Thursday told this newspaper it’s possible Blake Griffin could return Sunday when the Clippers host the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. If not, then Tuesday at home against the Charlotte Hornets would be the next opportunity.

The spokesman also said that there is still no definitive timetable for the return of sixth-man Jamal Crawford.

Griffin had a staph infection removed from his right elbow Feb. 9 and has missed the past 14 games, during which the Clippers are  9-5. Crawford has missed four consecutive games with a right calf strain.

The two players have combined to average 38.9 points. Griffins is averaging 22.5 points, Crawford 16.4.

The Clippers (42-23) next play Friday at Dallas (41-25).

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Five things to take from the Clippers’ 120-108 victory at Oklahoma City

Chris Paul goes up for two of his 33 points with OKC’s Russell Westbrook guarding him/Photo by Alonzo Adams, Associated Press

 

- Point guard Chris Paul had a terrific game. He scored 33 points on 11 of 19 shooting - 5 of 8 from 3-point range. He also helped throw a blanket over OKC point guard Russell Westbrook, who has been phenomenal this season – especially of late. Since Feb. 2 he had produced six 40-plus point games and six triple-doubles. He was held to 24 points Wednesday on 5 of 14 shooting. He was just 2 of 8 from the field for seven points and seven of his 10 turnovers while Paul was guarding him. Paul has averaged 22 points and 13.4 assists in the past 14 games, all of which have been missed by Blake Griffin (elbow).

- J.J. Redick also came up with another fine performance. He scored 25 points with five rebounds, seven assists and three steals. Redick has averaged 22.6 points in five games this month while shooting a combined 48.3 percent from the field – 41 percent from beyond the arc.

- What the heck is going on with Spencer Hawes? He scored just four points on 1 of 7 shooting in 31 1/2 minutes of action. The 7-foot-1 big gathered only three rebounds. In his past five games he’s made just 11 of 40 field-goal attempts (27.5 percent) while averaging 5.8 points and just 3.6 rebounds. In one of those games, Monday’s victory over Minnesota, Hawes had one measly rebound in 23 minutes. Though a center by trade, Hawes has been starting at power forward for Griffin.

- Matt Barnes was feeling it in this one. The small forward out of UCLA burned the Thunder for 22 points on 6 of 8 shooting. Barnes made all of his field-goal attempts from 3-point range, going 6 of 7 from beyond the arc. Barnes also was solid on defense as he came through with three steals and two blocks.

- So the Thunder and coach Scott Brooks went to the hack-a-DJ ploy in this one and DeAndre Jordan responded by making 12 of 22 from the free-throw line. That is 54.5 percent. For someone shooting just 41 percent on the season, that is not too shabby. Beginning with 7:50 left in the game, Jordan made seven of his final 10 free-throw attempts. He had 17 points and 18 rebounds.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 89-76 victory over the Timberwolves

Chris Paul

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

 

- First and foremost, we must give kudos to Chris Paul. He was hobbled by a bruised right knee because he banged knees a day earlier in Golden State. He scored only two points on 1 of 6 shooting, but he was able to dole out 15 assists, leading his much-depleted team very
well. The T’Wolves (14-48) have the worst record in the West and had nothing to lose, so they played hard. With the Clippers already sans Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford, it wasn’t an easy game to win.

- The Clippers are now 8-5 without Griffin and 1-2 without both Griffin (elbow) and Crawford (calf). Coach Doc Rivers said he expects Griffin will be back before Crawford. Rivers did not have an exact timetable, but he did say Griffin could be back in a week. That said, Rivers
said Griffin might travel with the team on the upcoming trip that includes games Wednesday at Oklahoma City and Friday at Dallas. Crawford will not travel. We should also note that while Griffin was on the bench in a suit Monday, Crawford was nowhere to be seen. Keep in mind that he missed 13 games last season with a strained left calf.

- Nate Robinson played in his second game with the Clippers since signing a 10-day contract. He played nearly 17 rather unproductive minutes. Robinson scored four points on just 1 of 9 shooting, but the 5-foot-9 guard did grab five rebounds.

- Reserve guard Austin Rivers had another good game off the bench. He came through with 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting – 2 of 4 from 3-point range – with four rebounds, six assists and two steals. Rivers had 22 points in Sunday’s loss at Golden State.

- The Timberwolves outrebounded the Clippers 50-42, but DeAndre Jordan led all players with 17 rebounds. He also scored 20 points on 10 of 11 shooting and caught no less than three perfectly thrown lobs from Paul for monster dunks that made the crowd roar. No one else on the team had more than five rebounds. Interestingly, 7-foot-1 Spencer Hawes was of little help in this regard as he had one lousy rebound in nearly 23 minutes.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 106-98 loss to Golden State at Oracle Arena

DeAndre Jordan sits on the bench in the second half as Clippers are about to lose to the Golden State Warriors. Jordan had with 14 rebounds, meaning his streak of 10 consecutive games with at least 15 rebounds was halted/Photo by Jeff Chiu, Associated Press

 

- Let’s face it, trying to beat Golden State anywhere is tough. Trying to beat Golden State without Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford is almost unthinkable. When you add into the equation that this game was played at Oracle Arena in Oakland, well, all you can do is tip your cap to the Clippers for getting this close. They fared better without Griffin and Crawford than they did in November when they lost by 17 points at Oracle. The Clippers once again showed the mettle that should help them in the post-season.

- Although newest Clippers guard Nate Robinson did not have a good first game for Doc Rivers – he scored five points on 1 of 6 shooting in 20 minutes – he did have three assists and zero turnovers. The bench, on the whole, played well with Austin Rivers leading the way with 22 points – a team-high. Glen “Big Baby” Davis had eight points and seven rebounds and Hedo Turkoglu scored 12 points while making 4 of 7 from 3-point range.

- It was nice to see the retun of small forward Matt Barnes, who had missed the previous two games with a hamstring injury. He played well enough, going for nine points on 4 of 7 shooting – he was 0 of 3 from 3-point range – while doling out two assists and blocking a shot. He had nary a rebound, however, in his 23 minutes.

- The Clippers had 18 turnovers in this game. That makes it very difficult to beat any team, let alone the team with the best record in the Western Conference. Five of those turnovers were point guard Chris Paul’s and four of them belonged to reserve guard Austin Rivers. That’s not going to cut it.

- DeAndre Jordan had a mere 14 rebounds. He needed one more to extend his streak of at least 15 rebounds. But it was stopped at 10. During the run he had games of 27, 20, 22 and 26 rebounds. Jordan is averaging a league-high 14.5 rebounds with 19 regular-season games left. In second is Andre Drummond of Detroit. He’s averaging 13.0 rebounds.

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VIDEO: Check out this cool after-the-whistle routine by Jamal Crawford

Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford has always been dazzling on the basketball court. He’s out with a calf injury at the moment, so when we saw this video from the Clippers’ 97-79 victory Feb. 27 at Memphis, we couldn’t help but wonder how long it will be before we get to see him to it again. He hears the whistle blow and then goes into this cool routine. Enjoy:

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Familiarity brings comfort to Nate Robinson, newest member of Clippers

Former Husky Nate Robinson signs with Clippers

Nate Robinson played 33 games with the Denver Nuggets this season/Photo by David Zalubowski, Associated Press

 

The Clippers were not the only team courting free-agent point guard Nate Robinson. The Cleveland Cavaliers were one of the others, Robinson said.

But Robinson on Saturday signed a 10-day contract with the Clippers and had already joined the team at its practice facility in the morning. He will be reunited with Clippers coach Doc Rivers as well as with fellow Seattle native and Rainer Beach High alum Jamal Crawford.

Rivers coached Robinson for two seasons in Boston. Robinson also played four seasons with Crawford on the New York Knicks. Partly for this, he’s stoked to join the Clippers.

“I’ve played with Jamal since high school – I was a freshman, he was a senior,” Robinson said. “Played on the Knicks together, so this is going to be our third go-round and pretty cool just to have. You know, ‘Mal’s like my big brother. He’s a real Seattle guy. Our high school team is playing for its fourth state championship in a row tonight, so hopefully they can win it.

“But just beihg here and being under Doc’s system again, it’s definitely going to be comfortable for me. I know all the plays, so it won’t be hard for me to be able to come in and just help the team and run the team how he wants me to do.”
 

 

 

 

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Jamal Crawford sustains contusion of right calf Monday in Minnesota

Jamal Crawford

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

 

Sixth-man Jamal Crawford has sustained a right calf contusion Monday at Minnesota and will not be available for the rest of the game. He scored nine points in the first half, after which the Clippers trailed 60-58.

The Clippers (39-21) were already without Blake Griffin (elbow) Matt Barnes (hamstring).

The Timberwolves (13-45) were leading the Clippers 80-73 with 5:28 left in the third quarter.

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