Chris Paul third, Blake Griffin fifth in current All-Star voting

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Chris Paul is third among backcourt players in the Western Conference and Blake Griffin is fifth among frontcourt players in the most recent tabulation of All-Star votes released Thursday by the NBA.

Paul has 268,672 votes and sits behind Golden State’s Steph Curry (925,789) and Russell Westbrook (479,512) of the Thunder.

Klay Thompson (267,602) is fourth behind Paul.

Griffin, who has missed the past six games with a partially torn left quad tendon, has 298, 212 votes. He sits behind the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (1,262,118), Kevin Durant (616,096) of the Thunder, Draymond Green (332,223) of Golden State and Kawhi Leonard (330,929) of San Antonio.

DeAndre Jordan is 14th with 91,186 votes.

Bryant leads all players in votes.

Coach Doc Rivers would like to see coaches’ challenge instituted

J.J. Redick

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


When the NBA released its “Last 2 Minutes” report from Monday’s game between the L.A. Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder, it showed officials made three mistakes in the final two minutes of the Clippers’ 100-99 loss at Staples Center. All went against the Clippers.

OKC’s Dion Waiters grabbed J.J. Redick’s jersey before Redick caught a pass and shot and missed a 3-pointer with no foul called on Waiters. Russell Westbrook should have been called for a foul when Chris Paul scored a basket that put the Clippers ahead 99-98 with 10.9 seconds left and Serge Ibaka should have been called for an illegal screen that set up Kevin Durant’s game-winning jump-shot with 5.8 seconds to go.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Wednesday at practice said it was all moot.

“Until something changes, it doesn’t matter,” said Rivers, whose team next will play the Lakers (5-23) on Christmas night at 7:30. “I really believe we’ve gotta make a change there. Those non-calls or calls, or whatever you want to call them, cost the game for us, literally. We have to come up with something, and I don’t even know what it is.”

Yes, he does.

“I’ve been thinking about a coaches’ challenge the last 2 minutes,” he said. “I’m a big believer in it. I think if we had a coaches’ challenge, the last two minutes of that game, we win the game.”

Rivers beefed to officials about all three situations once they happened.

“I don’t think anybody’s trying to make mistakes or anything like that,” Rivers said. “It’s a hard game to ref, but I do think the last two minutes … and if you get it wrong, you lose a timeout. And if you get it right, you keep the timeout.”

Rivers is part of the NBA’s competition committee, which has discussed using a challenge.

“Yeah, we’ve talked about it,” he said. “But it’s not gone too far. I think it will, eventually.”

Redick intimated he couldn’t care less about the L2M report.

“It doesn’t make a difference,” he said. “I don’t even know why they do it. Who cares? It doesn’t change anything. You can go through 48 minutes and write INC (incorrect call) or CNC (correct non-call) all you want, but it doesn’t change anything. So I don’t see a point to it. I’m not going to get worked up over it.”

Neither is Paul.

“We all make mistakes,” said Paul, who immediately after the game said, “I’ll save my money,” when asked about the officiating.

Clippers won’t be seeing OKC’s Kevin Durant in playoffs, nor will anyone else

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant/Photo courtesy of Oklahoma City Thunder,


The Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday announced that reigning MVP forward Kevin Durant is out for the season and will not be able to resume playing basketball for four to six months because he will need bone graft surgery on his right foot.

Dr. (Martin) O’Malley will perform the bone graft surgery early next week in New York,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement on the team’s website. “He has extensive bone grafting experience amongst athletes and has been consulting on the case throughout. Kevin will miss the remainder of the 2014-15 season and is expected to return to basketball activities in the next four to six months.”

Oklahoma City (41-31) is currently in line for the eighth and final playoff spot available in the Western Conference. The Thunder in 2013-14 eliminated the Clippers in six games in the conference semifinals.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 93-90 victory over Oklahoma City


DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan had a big block down the stretch Thursday/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


– This may have been just the first game of the 2014-15 season, but the idea that the Clippers had difficulty putting away OKC when the Thunder were missing reigning MVP Kevin Durant and guard Reggie Jackson, is kind of scary going forward; that’s not to mention that guard Russell Westbrook played only eight minutes because he fractured a finger in the second quarter.

– The Clippers had a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and nearly lost it when the Thunder’s Sebastian Telfair hit a 3-pointer to pull OKC within 89-88. Again, that this would happen when the Clippers are basically at full strength and the Thunder were at about two-thirds of that, is head-shaking.

– One of the things the Clippers were so poor at during the preseason – rebounding – was again at work in this one. The Thunder outrebounded the Clippers 47-33.

– The Clippers shot 72 percent (18 of 25) from the free-throw line. That’s not terrific. But Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick were 4-for-4 in the waning moments, and the Clippers will need that kind of clutch free-throw shooting all season because they figure to be in a lot of close games with the league’s better teams.

– The Clippers also were clutch down the stretch defensively. DeAndre Jordan blocked Telfair’s driving shot attempt with under 10 seconds to play. Not long before that, Jamal Crawford stole the ball away from the Thunder, preventing them a chance to take the lead just seconds after Telfair hit that 3-pointer to get his team within a point.


The Oklahoman redeems itself with some terrific headlines

Founded in 1889, The Oklahoman is the largest daily newspaper in Oklahoma. But it took a lot of heat for its headline after Game 5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round Western Conference playoff series against Memphis when it came with this headline: “Mr. Unreliable.” It was in reference to Kevin Durant, who, of course, was named league MVP on Tuesday. In a 100-99 Game 5 loss to Memphis that gave the Grizzlies a 3-2 series lead, Durant scored 26 points, but shot just 10 of 24 from the field. An 88.2-percent career free-throw shooter, he made just 3 of 6 from the line.

The newspaper apologized for the headline, and it has redeemed itself the past two days with some real catchy ones. After Chris Paul made 8 of 9 3-pointers in the Clippers’ 122-105 Game 1 rout of OKC at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City on Monday in the Western Conference semifinals, the headline in the next day’s paper – “CPTHREE’D” – was awesome.

Then in Wednesday’s editions, the day after Durant gave a very warm speech thanking the organization, his teammates, coaches and especially his loved ones upon accepting his MVP award, the headline – “All in the family,” also was outstanding.