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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After leading by 18, Clippers down by two points at halftime at Minnesota

Chris Paul

Chris Paul had 19 points and nine assists in the first half Monday at Minnesota/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers on Monday night at Minnesota led by 18 points (36-18) with 50 seconds left in the first quarter. They trailed by two (60-58) at halftime. That’s a 20-point turnaround against the worst team in the Western Conference as Minnesota entered play with a record of 13-45.

The Clippers (39-21) – 6-3 without the injured Blake Griffin (elbow) – got 19 points and nine assists from Chris Paul in the half. Jamal Crawford scored nine points, J.J. Redick eight and DeAndre Jordan had six points and nine rebounds.

Recently signed Jordan Hamilton started for Matt Barnes at small forward because Barnes is out with a hamstring injury. Hamilton scored five points in the first quarter and did not score in the second.

Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine scored 12 points apiece for the Timberwolves in the half.

 

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Five things to take from Clippers’ big 97-79 victory over Grizzlies in Memphis

Glen “Big Baby” Davis reacts during the Clippers’ 97-79 victory at Memphis on Friday/Photo by Brandon Dill, Associated Press

 

- The importance of this victory should not be minimized. The Clippers (38-21) were coming off consecutive losses for the first time since losing Blake Griffin to an elbow injury. Four days after not playing well down the stretch and losing by three points at home to Memphis, the Clippers dominated the Grizzlies on their home court. Without Griffin. They did it with terrific defense, too, holding Memphis to just 37.9 percent shooting.

- Speaking of Griffin, he has now missed the past eight games because of the staph infection that was surgically removed from his right elbow. Four of those victories were against Dallas (5th, Western Conference), Houston (3rd, West), San Antonio (7th, West) and now Memphis (2nd, West). How many people would have thought the Clippers would have that many quality victories without Griffin? Not many.

- Safe to say, Chris Paul wasn’t tripping off his turnover at the end of Monday’s loss to Memphis that was responsible for the Clippers not getting off a shot that could have won the game. All Paul did in this one was score 19 points with 13 assists, four rebounds, two steals and just one turnover in 40 minutes.

- Man, DeAndre Jordan is not messing around out there, is he? He scored 15 points. But that’s just the start of it. He also grabbed a whopping 22 rebounds with three assists, two steals and three blocks. Other than that, he didn’t do a thing. Jordan is averaging 17.1 points and 18.5 rebounds in the eight games Griffin has missed. He’s averaging 16.0 points and 17.2 rebounds in 11 games in February. In four games, he had at least 20 rebounds with a high of 27 in a Feb. 9 win at Dallas. He entered play Friday averaging 11.2 points and 14.0 rebounds.

- The shooting guard tandem of J.J. Redick and sixth-man Jamal Crawford continues to be one of the best around. Redick scored 18 points on 6 of 12 shooting – 2 of 5 from 3-point range – and Crawford scored 19 points on 8 of 16 shooting, also 2 of 5 from beyond the arc. Crawford has averaged 21.2 points in the eight games missed by Griffin, Redick has averaged 15.0. Teams either have to worry about being out-dazzlied by Crawford or out-worked by runaround Redick.

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Jamal Crawford just loves taking shots that others might not even attempt

Jamal Crawford

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

 

One thing about sixth-man Jamal Crawford, not only does he have the ability to get scalding hot and carry a team with a grip of points in rapid fashion, some of the shots he takes and makes are extremely difficult. He sinks 28-foot 3-pointers with defenders in his face, he makes them falling down and out of bounds, and so on.

Crawford tries to explain.

“I have just always, ever since I was young, made those shots that (to) other people are difficult,” he said. “I’m not trying to brag about it, but they’re really not that difficult for me, honestly.

“Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t, but I’m really comfortable taking them.”

Crawford scored a game-high 24 points in Wednesday’s 110-105 loss at Houston.

The Clippers (37-21) on Friday night at 5 will play at Memphis (41-15). The Clippers are sixth in the Western Conference standings, the Grizzlies are second.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 110-105 loss Wednesday at Houston

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan had another big game for the Clippers on Wednesday at Houston/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

- The Clippers received another fine overall effort from DeAndre Jordan, who came through with 22 points and a whopping 19 rebounds. Jordan is averaging 17.4 points and 18.0 rebounds in the past seven games, all missed by the injured Blake Griffin. Jordan’s season scoring average is up to 11.2 and his league-leading rebounding average is up to 14.0.

- OK, so the Clippers have now lost two in a row since winning four of their first five without Griffin. But there is no shame in losing to Memphis by three points and by just five on the road at Houston. The Grizzlies and Rockets are second and third in the Western Conference standings, respectively. The problem is, every one of these games is so vital at this point. The Clippers (37-21) are sixth in the West and would love to be in the top four entering the playoffs for homecourt advantage in the first round. As tough as the West is, playing a Game 7 at home could be the difference between advancing and going home.

- Jamal Crawford has been on a roll. He scored 24 points in this one on 10 of 17 shooting and is averaging 21.3 points over his past eight games. His season scoring average is up to 16.5, the same average he held in 2012-13 in his first season with the Clippers. Crawford averaged 18.6 points in ’13-’14. Crawford made three 3-pointers Wednesday and now has 1,808 for his career. He is eighth all-time and is now only 22 behind Chauncey Billups (1,830).

- It’s tough to win close games against good teams – especially on the road – when you have 15 turnovers and 18 assists. By contrast, Houston had 27 assists and just nine turnovers.

- The Rockets also blocked nine shots – five by Terrence Jones. The Clippers – even with the shot-blocking machine Jordan – had only four blocks. Jordan had two of them.

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