Clippers laying groundwork for winning over Sin City fans

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Doc Rivers/Photo courtesy of Associated Press

 

It seemed like the Clippers this past season gained more fans nationally because of the unfortunate Donald Sterling saga. Now, the Clippers are more than likely becoming somewhat popular in Sin City.

First, the Clippers held their five-day training camp there for the first time. Then they took on – and lost to – the Denver Nuggets on Saturday at one of Las Vegas’ most popular hotels – Mandalay Bay.

“It’s good for us,” coach Doc Rivers said. “We build a base here in Vegas. We held camp here, so it kind of ties it together.”

 

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 104-93 loss to Denver Nuggets

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Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes is 2 of 24 from the field/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

- Jamal Crawford started in place of J.J. Redick, who was given the night off by coach Doc Rivers. Crawford has been a real bright spot on the offense thus far, and he was again with 23 points on 6 of 12 shooting. He made 4 of 7 from 3-point range as well as all seven of his free throws in 36 minutes. Crawford has played in four of the five exhibition games (the Clippers are 1-4). He has scored 14, 23, 25 and 23 points while making 27 of 48 (56.2 percent) from the field.

- Rivers started Australian Joe Ingles at small forward like he said he would. With Rivers still trying to confirm the starter there, Ingles did nothing eye-popping. He played 19 minutes, missed both of his field goal attempts and made 3 of 4 from the free-throw line for three points. He also had three rebounds, an assist and four personal fouls.

- What in the heck is going on with Matt Barnes? He missed all nine of his field-goal attempts, and was 0-for-6 from three-point range in 28 minutes off the bench. In playing four of the five games, Barnes is 2-for-24 from the field. Seriously. That is 8.3 percent.

- As a unit, Los Angeles shot just 37 percent (27 of 73), 24 percent (6 of 25) from 3-point range. Much of that damage was done by Barnes. Blake Griffin shot 9 of 19 and had 27 points, Chris Paul shot 5 of 13 for 13 points. Spencer Hawes, who has been real good, had an off night. He made just 1 of 4 from the field for six points. DeAndre Jordan was 4 of 4 from the field, but he missed both of his free-throw attempts.

- The Clippers had their highest free-throw percentage of the exhibition season. They made 33 of 45 for 73.3 percent. Their other percentages were 71, 59.1, 72.7 and 59.3. Besides Crawford’s 7-for-7 night, Griffin made 9 of 13. Ingles, Chris Paul and Hawes all made 3 of 4 and Jared Cunningham 7 of 9 in just eight minutes of action.

 

 

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Probable starting lineups for Clippers and Nuggets in Las Vegas

Here are the probable starting lineups for tonight’s (Saturday) game between the Clippers (1-3) and Denver Nuggets (1-4) at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Clippers: PG Chris Paul, SG J.J. Redick, SF Matt Barnes, PF Blake Griffin, C DeAndre Jordan.

Nuggets: PG Ty Lawson, SG Arron Afflalo, SF Danilo Gallinari, PF Kenneth Faried, C Timofey Mozgov.

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Clippers get their first exhibition win, 101-97 over Utah Jazz

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Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

A 3-pointer by Jamal Crawford with 18.5 seconds to play broke a 95-95 tie and the Clippers went on to their first exhibition victory, 101-97 over the visiting Utah Jazz on Friday at Staples Center.

The Clippers are 1-3, the J azz 4-1.

Crawford led Los Angeles with 25 points off the bench and backup post Spencer Hawes scored 24. Blake Griffin had 17 points for the Clippers, Chris Paul 11 and Chris Douglas-Roberts 10. DeAndre Jordan scored nine points and pulled down 17 rebounds.

Gordon Hayward led Utah with 22 points.

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DeAndre Jordan gives his two cents regarding team’s rebounding woes

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DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Coach Doc Rivers on Wednesday at practice told reporters that often times as soon as a shot goes up, only post DeAndre Jordan remains in the area for the rebound. Since the Clippers have been outrebounded 148-104 collectively in losses to Golden State, Portland and Utah, rebounding has become a hot topic here in the exhibition season.

Jordan led the league in 2013-14 with a 13.6 rebounding average. He touched on the subject Thursday before practice.

“It’s not like a one-person job, it’s everybody’s,” Jordan said. “It’s all the bigs, it’s the forwards, it’s the guards. Rebounding is a team effort, especially on the defensive end. Offensive rebounds, you can kind of pick and choose when you go. I like to go a lot to the offensive glass, just try to keep it alive; tip-backs and things like that. But defensively, we should definitely be one of the top teams, if not the top defensive rebounding team in this league just with the size and athleticism that we do have.”

The Clippers on Friday will try for their first exhibition victory when they play host to Utan at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center (on Prime Ticket).

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Chris Paul confident his team will improve defensively

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Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

We’re only three games into the exhibition season, yet the defensive woes of the Clippers are already a hot topic. In losing to Golden State, Portland and Utah, the Clippers allowed those teams to shoot 48.6 percent, 53.9 percent and 50.6 percent from the field.

Even worse, Portland shot 68 percent (17 of 25) from 3-point range and Utah shot 46.7 percent (14 of 30) from there.

Point guard Chris Paul was asked Wednesday at practice what his team needs to do to shore things up in this regard. He said part of the problem was that the second unit has so many new faces.

“I think we all know what to do,” said Paul, whose 0-3 team will take on Utah on Friday at Staples Center. “Just right now, part of it is being the preseason. Everybody’s a step slow, second-guessing and stuff like that. We’ll get it there. You know, our first unit, we’ve been together. Our second unit, guys haven’t really played together yet.”

The Clippers allowed an average of 101 points per game, 14th best in the NBA. Through three exhibition games, they are allowing an average of 111 points.

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Matt Barnes believes team is pressing because of emotional 2013-14

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Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Matt Barnes told reporters Wednesday at the team’s training facility in Playa Vista that he believes the Clippers are, perhaps, trying too hard to get off on the right foot after such an emotional 2013-14 campaign. That’s why they are 0-3 in exhibition play ahead of Friday’s game against Utah at Staples Center.

“I think everyone’s pressing a little bit,” Barnes said before practice. “I think on paper we have the team to beat, I personally think, and I think we feel that way. And after everything that happened last year, you know, we want to come out and have it so bad. And I think everyone’s just overthinking the game a little bit. And we’ve been talking to ourselves a little bit about this lately and everything seems to come down to playing basketball.”

His advice to himself and his teammates?

“Relax, relax,” Barnes said. “I mean, I found myself overthinking. I’m talking to Chris (Paul) and J.J. (Redick) and some of these guys, and we’re pressing a little too much. Like I said, we want this so bad and want this to be such a magical season that our foot’s all the way on the gas right now. We have to realize that, like Doc (Rivers) said, ‘You have to appreciate the process, enjoy the process and continue to get better.’ “

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 102-89 loss Monday at Utah

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DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan had four blocks Monday/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

- After the game, coach Doc Rivers intimated his 0-3 team is not yet in the shape he’d like it to be in. “Conditioning. That’s about it right now,” he said, when asked what he took from the game. “We’re not playing great. We’re having spurts here and there, but it’s still games. I think (exhibition) games help get you ready for the real thing.”

- Perhaps that is why the Clippers are not doing well on defense. They have allowed 112, 119 and 102 points in their three exhibition losses. And they are awful at guarding the 3-point shot. In their past two losses, Portland shot 68 percent from there, Utah shot 46.7 percent.

- The good news is, power forward Blake Griffin tried everything he could to will his team to victory. He scored 31 points to lead all scorers, making 14 of 22 shots with two steals and five rebounds. That was coming off of a poor outing a night earlier in Portland, where Griffin scored just nine points on 4 of 16 shooting.

- After getting just one block on Sunday night in Portland, it was good to see DeAndre Jordan get back on track there with four against Utah; he had three in the exhibition opener Oct. 7 against Golden State.

- The bench made just 6 of 26 shots (23 percent) from the field, and that won’t cut it most nights. Struggling mightily were Reggie Bullock (0-for-4) and rookie C.J. Wilcox (0-for-3). Spencer Hawes was just 2 of 7, Jordan Farmar 2 of 6.

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Clippers still looking for first win after 102-89 defeat at Utah

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Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin had 31 points Monday at Utah/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

The Clippers are now 0-3 in exhibition play after the Utah Jazz defeated them 102-89 on Monday night in Utah.

Down by 17 (56-39) at halftime, the Clippers outscored the Jazz 35-25 in the third quarter to pull within 81-74 entering the fourth. Utah outscored the Clippers 21-15 in the final quarter and is now 3-0.

Blake Griffin led everyone with 31 points. He was 14 of 22 from the field, and also pulled down five rebounds and made two steals. J.J. Redick scored 17 points. Chris Paul had 11 points and 11 assists, but his points came at the expense of a 4-for-13 shooting night.

Spencer Hawes scored six points on 2 of 7 shooting with three rebounds in 19 minutes, and Jordan Farmar had five points on 2 of 6 shooting in 16 minutes; Farmar also had three of the team’s eight turnovers.

C.J. Wilcox (0-for-3) and Reggie Bullock (0-for-4) went a combined 0-for-7 from the field; each played 16 minutes.

Chris Douglas-Roberts started as part of a three-guard Clippers starting lineup. He scored just four points on 1 of 5 shooting in 31 minutes.

The Jazz had six players score in double figures. Leading the way were Trey Burke and Derrick Favors, with 16 and 15 points, respectively.
The Clippers shot 42 percent from the field, Utah shot 50.6 percent.

Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford did not play.’

The Clippers next will play host to Utah on Friday at Staples Center.

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