Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan likes what he’s seeing from the defense

Chris Paul leads Clippers past Grizzlies 110-84

Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute, right, is one of the team’s top defenders. Here he battles with Memphis’ Vince Carter for a loose ball during the Clippers’ 110-84 victory over the Grizzlies on Tuesday at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill


The Clippers are allowing opponents 100 points per game. That’s seventh-best in the league. Over the past five games, they have allowed only 87.2 points.

Defense is what wins championships, make no mistake. The Clippers are playing it very well as they are about to enter the playoffs, which begin this weekend against either Portland or Dallas. Center DeAndre Jordan, the driving force behind the defense, likes what he’s been seeing.

“We have just been preparing for the postseason,” he said. “We need our defense to be as great as it can be, because we can control that. We cannot control if our shots are falling. If our offense is off, it is nice to know we can count on our defense to limit the opponent.”

Chris Paul likes what he’s seeing from Clippers down the stretch

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


The L.A. Clippers went 14-1 in their final 15 games of the regular season in 2014-15, but they lost a seven-game series to the Houston Rockets in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs after blowing Game 6 at Staples Center, so that momentum didn’t hold up as long as they would have liked.

Still, the last thing the Clippers want is to enter the post-season on a down note. With two games left before the playoffs start this weekend, the Clippers had won five consecutive games and nine of 10 ahead of Tuesday’s against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Point guard Chris Paul likes that a lot.

“It is always nice to win, so you know what that is like, so you can have a nice rhythm going into playoffs,” he  said. “For us,we definitely want to keep winning and we want to make sure we are playing right by getting everyone incorporated.”

That includes getting Blake Griffin re-acclimated to the team after he missed 45 consecutive games with two injuries and a four-game suspension. Griffin has played four games since returning April 3 against Washington. He is coming off his best showing during that time, having scored 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in Sunday’s 98-91 victory over Dallas; Griffin also had seven assists.

Paul said regaining his rhythm with Griffin should not be such an arduous task.

“Well fortunately, this is not Blake and my first year playing together,” Paul said. “While we needed to get a little bit of the timing back, we know each other. We know our timing, what sets we like. It just sort of comes naturally. You figure it out.”

Luc Mbah a Moute, who starts alongside Griffin at forward, believes the Clippers are primed for the post-season.

“I think we are ready,” he said. “We have had Blake for a few games now. When the team gets in the rhythm with him, it is good for us.”

Five things to take from Clippers’ 103-81 victory over the Lakers

Clippers guard Chris Paul D’Angelo Russell during the first quarter Tuesday at Staples Center. (Stephen Carr/Staff Photographer)

Clippers guard Chris Paul reacts after bumping into Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell during Tuesday night’s game at Staples Center, won 103-81 by the Clippers/Staff photo by Stephen Carr


Luc Mbah a Moute and others made Kobe Bryant work hard for his shot, so on a night the Clippers honored the retiring Bryant, he scored just six points on 2 of 12 shooting. Although fans wanted to see more of Bryant, he did not play in the fourth quarter of a game the Clippers led by as many as 28 points during those final 12 minutes. Bryant played 22 minutes and 15 seconds.

– Since none of the Clippers’ starters played during the fourth quarter, that means Chris Paul’s numbers were outstanding. He scored 25 points on 10 of 14 shooting and also pulled down four rebounds and doled out eight assists in just over 23 minutes. He also had two steals and zero turnovers.

Blake Griffin had another rusty performance. In his second game back after missing the previous 45, Griffin scored just four points on 1 of 5 shooting. He had three rebounds, three assists and four turnovers in 16 minutes and 48 seconds. He would have played a few more minutes had the game not been a rout, but Doc Rivers said he didn’t want to put him back with the game the way it was. Griffin is now 3 of 12 from the field since returning. He was 2 of 7 Sunday against Washington.

Jeff Green had a nice game in 31-plus minutes off the bench. He scored 21 points on 7 of 12 from the field. He also had three rebounds, two assists, a steal, a block and just one turnover.

– The Lakers shot just 31.3 percent from the field, 30 percent (6 of 20) from beyond the arc. Part of that was solid defense by the Clippers. Lakers guards D’Angelo Russell (4 of 17) and Jordan Clarkson (4 of 13) shot a combined 8 of 30 (26.6 percent).

Five things to take from Clippers’ 99-79 victory over Timberwolves

The Clippers' Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, middle, splits the defense of Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins, left, and Ricky Rubio during Wednesday's game. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Luc Mbah a Moute of the Clippers, center, tries to drive through Andrew Wiggins (22) and Ricky Rubio of the Timberwolves during Wednesday’s game in Minnesota/AP photo by Ann Heisenfelt


– The Clippers continued their stingy ways on defense in this one. Not only did they hold the Timberwolves to 79 points, the Clippers held them to just 34.8-percent shooting. The Clippers have now given up an average of just 88.2 points over their past four games – all victories. They also helped harass Minnesota into 16 turnovers while committing just eight of their own.

– Speaking of defensive ferocity, the Clippers blocked nine shots. DeAndre Jordan had three blocks and Wes Johnson, Jeff Green and Cole Aldrich had two apiece. By contrast, the T’Wolves had one measly block. As for Aldrich, he is from Bloomington, Minn., so he was playing at home and he had family in the stands.

– This was the third game of Blake Griffin’s four-game suspension. He will sit out Thursday night’s game at Oklahoma City and will then be eligible to play Sunday when the Clippers host the Washington Wizards at 12:30 p.m. at Staples Center. The Clippers (47-27) are 30-14 without Griffin, who has not played since Christmas because of two injuries and now this suspension for punching a team equipment staffer in January.

– Johnson shot 3 of 6 for the Clippers, which means he has shot 13 of 20 (65 percent) over his past four games. For someone who has been so up and down with his shot this season, that’s a very good sign.

– The hard-playing Chris Paul didn’t shoot particularly well – he was 6 of 16 overall, 1 of 4 from 3-point range – but he still scored a game-high 20 points. More importantly, he doled out 16 assists and also tied DeAndre Jordan for team-high honors in rebounds with eight.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 114-98 loss at Golden State

The Clippers’ Chris Paul dribbles by Golden State’s Stephen Curry on Wednesday. Paul scored 13 points and shot 4- of 16 from the floor.

Chris Paul looks to the basket during the Clippers’ 114-98 loss at Golden State/AP photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez


– When your two starting guards shoot a combined 8 of 29, it’s nearly impossible to beat a team like the Warriors (64-7), who have now won 51 consecutive regular-season home games and moved a step closer to having the best regular-season record in history. That came in 1995-96 when the Chicago Bulls went 72-10. Chris Paul shot 4 of 16, J.J. Redick shot 4 of 13. Both were 1 of 6 from 3-point range. Both accepted blame.

DeAndre Jordan had a fine game. The hard-playing Jordan scored 19 points, grabbed 20 rebounds and blocked two shots. His coach, Doc Rivers, said he was the most dominant player on the floor. Jordan also doled out three assists.

– The Clippers’ starting forwards – Paul Pierce and Luc Mbah a Moute – did not provide much to this game. Pierce played just under 17 minutes and scored only three points on 1 of 3 shooting. He had three rebounds. Mbah a Moute played only 8 1/2 minutes, took two shots and scored two points with one rebound.

– Golden State’s Splash Brothers – Steph Curry and Klay Thompson – killed the Clippers. Curry scored 33 points and shot 12 of 23 – 4 of 10 from 3-point range. Thompson had 32 points on 12 of 21 from the field and made 7 of 10 from deep. Curry also had five assists and three steals. When those two are going like that, forget about it.

– Rivers said after the game that he liked the spirit with which his team played. He said that, indeed, his two guards not shooting well was a big reason why the Clippers lost. He also said that there were several defensive mistakes his players made after they got to within seven points in the fourth quarter. The bottom line is, the Clippers went 1-4 on this road trip. That’s not the best scenario with the playoffs only three weeks away. The Clippers now take on Portland on Thursday in the first of a three-game homestand. The Clippers then play Denver on Sunday afternoon and the Boston Celtics on Monday night. If the Clippers (43-27) can get well at home, it could go a long way in erasing the memory of this unsuccessful trip.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 114-90 loss to Cleveland Cavaliers

Branden Dawson

Branden Dawson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


– If it’s true Doc Rivers found out just before tip-off about the Sunday morning arrest of rookie Branden Dawson for felony domestic abuse, it couldn’t have been easy for Rivers to focus on the task at hand. As he noted after the game, “Obviously, it’s an awful situation, as far as I’m concerned. I have a daughter, so it’s a terrible situation.” TMZ first reported Dawson’s arrest in Playa Vista, the city in which the Clippers train. He was released on $50,000 bond.

– It’s always strange to see the Clippers play so well for a stretch, then get overwhelmed. They led this game 14-4 after five minutes and scored only five points the rest of the quarter to trail 21-19 entering the second. It’s like the Clippers have some kind of inner on-and-off switch. Of course, the Cavaliers have a lot of good players. They are more than LeBron James.

– One thing’s for sure, Cleveland had a lot of good 3-point shooters in this one. The Cavs made 18 of 37 for 48.6 percent. Asked afterward about his team’s defense at the 3-point line, Rivers said, “Well, what do you think? I thought it was pretty bad.” James made 3 of 4 from distance, Channing Frye 5 of 7 and JR Smith 5 of 8.

– The Clippers (42-23) did not shoot well – 40.5 percent overall, 31.3 percent (10 of 32) from 3-point range. Both Rivers and Chris Paul noted that Cleveland (47-18) played well on defense. But there were plenty of open misses as well. Starting forwards Luc Mbah a Moute (1 of 5) and Jeff Green (2 of 10) combined to shoot 3 of 15 and reserves Jamal Crawford (3 of 11) and Wes Johnson (4 of 13) combined to shoot 7 of 24. It’s hard to win like that, especially against a team with the third-best record in the league.

– The Cavaliers outrebounded the Clippers 49-34. Cleveland’s nine offensive rebounds accounted for 15 second-chance points. The Clippers did not get one point out of their five offensive rebounds.