Former Clippers forward Matt Barnes traded to Memphis Grizzlies

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes/Photo courtesy of Los Angels Clippers, NBA.com

 

Former Clippers small forward Matt Barnes on Thursday was traded from the Charlotte Hornets to the Memphis Grizzlies for guard Luke Ridnour. Charlotte then traded Ridnour and a conditional 2016 draft pick to Oklahoma City for guard Jeremy Lamb, Charlotte general manager Rich Cho announced.

Barnes, along with post Spencer Hawes, was recently traded to Charlotte for wing Lance Stephenson.

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Clippers set to introduce Lance Stephenson to Los Angeles media

Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson/Photo courtesy of Charlotte Hornets, ESPN.com

 

The Clippers on Thursday afternoon will introduce newly acquired Lance Stephenson to the Los Angeles media at a news conference.

Doc Rivers, Clippers coach and president of basketball operations, on Monday traded small forward Matt Barnes and forward/center Spencer Hawes to the Charlotte Hornets for Stephenson, who at 6-foot-5 can play both guard positions and small forward.

Stephenson, just 24, played his first four seasons with the Indiana Pacers. His final season with them was his statistical best as he averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 2013-14.

Stephenson signed with Charlotte after that season, but he did not follow up his previous season with anything similar. He averaged 8.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists in his only season there. He started just 25 of 61 games in which he played.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 113-100 Game 7 loss to the Rockets

Jamal Crawford brings the ball up court as the Rockets’ James Harden whoops it up during the third quarter of Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals Sunday at Toyota Center in Houston/Photo by James Nielsen, Houston Chronicle

 

 

– The first thing we take from this Game 7 loss is that had the Clippers taken care of business when they should have in Game 6 at Staples Center when they had the Rockets right where they wanted them with a 19-point lead late in the third quarter, there never would have been a Game 7. And the Clippers would be playing the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals instead of the Rockets. You snooze, you lose.

– The Trio of J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes struggled shooting from the field for the third consecutive game – all Clippers losses. Redick scored 10 points on 4 of 12 shooting, Barnes was scoreless on 0 of 2 and Crawford scored a hard 17 points on 6 of 18. They were a combined 5 of 19 from 3-point range. As a team, the Clippers shot just 25 percent (7 of 28) from beyond the arc, also their third poor performance from there in succession.

Doc Rivers bemoaned the turnovers, noting his Clippers were “a low-turnover” team all season. The Clippers had 18, the Rockets 17 total (16 player, 1 team). But the Clippers scored only 17 points off Rockets miscues, while the Rockets scored 27 off the Clippers’. Redick had six turnovers, Blake Griffin five and Chris Paul four.

– Other than Crawford’s 17 points – and again, they were not a good 17 points – the Clippers received virtually nothing from their bench. Austin Rivers and Glen “Big Baby” Davis each scored two points. That was it. Houston got 11 points from Corey Brewer, eight from Terrence Jones, four from Pablo Prigioni and two from Clint Capela. Moreover, Prigioni had four assists and three steals in 20 productive minutes.

– The Clippers did well to fight back in this game, pulling within three points in the third quarter and within eight twice late in the fourth. But Doc Rivers was not happy when Trevor Ariza hit a 3-pointer with just under a minute to play to increase his team’s lead to 11 and sealing the Clippers’ fate. Rivers was obviously dismayed when he called a timeout, looking at his players as if to say, “Why was he so open?” Rivers afterward said his team missed a lot of assignments. The Rockets shot 40 percent (12 of 30) from 3-point range.

BONUS TAKE: Rockets guard James Harden did not shoot well from the field, making 7 of 20. But his game-high 31 points included 18 trips to the free-throw line; he made 15. By the way, the Clippers shot just 17 free throws all game, the Rockets 41.

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J.J. Redick says crushing Game 7 loss feels ‘like a wake or a funeral’

Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers congratulates Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets after the Rockets defeated the Clippers 113 to 100 during Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals at the Toyota Center for the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 17, 2015 in Houston, Texas.   (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Blake Griffin of the Clippers shakes hands with the Rockets’ Dwight Howard following Houston’s 113-100 victory over the Clippers in Game 7/Photo by Scott Halleran, Getty Images

 

J.J. Redick wasn’t the only member of the Clippers to struggle in the last three games of the Western Conference semifinals won by the Houston Rockets on Sunday via a 113-100 count over the Clippers in Game 7 at Toyota Center in Houston.

Jamal Crawford and Matt Barnes also struggled.

Redick on Sunday scored 10 points on 4 of 12 shooting, 2 of 9 from 3-point range. He also had six of his team’s 18 turnovers.

Afterward, Redick described the mood.

“Still in shock,” he said. “Sadness. Disappointment. You never want to equate sports with death, but it does feel like a wake or a funeral.”

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 124-103 Game 5 loss to the Rockets

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets takes the ball by Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals at the Toyota Center for the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2015 in Houston, Texas.   The Rockets won 124-103. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Blake Griffin plays defense against James Harden of Houston in the Rockets’ 124-103 victory over the Clippers in Game 5 on Tuesday at Toyota Center in Houston/Photo by Scott Halleran, Getty Images

 

– The Rockets played much better defense in this one. The Clippers’ shooting percentage of 41.8 percent bears that out. What really sticks out is that J.J. Redick (3 of 12), Matt Barnes (1 of 8) and Jamal Crawford (2 of 10) were a combined 6 of 30 from the field. That equates to 20 percent for those three. Moreover, they were a combined 3 of 17 from 3-point range, with Redick going 1-for-8. The Rockets, by the way, shot 54.1 percent.

– With DeAndre Jordan getting into early foul trouble – he had his third foul early in the second quarter and fourth midway through the third – he was only able to play just a little more than 24 minutes. That was part of the reason why the Rockets scored more than half of their points – 64 – in the paint. That played right into the hands of James Harden and Dwight Howard. Harden had a triple-double with 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists and Howard scored 20 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.

– Speaking of rebounds, the Rockets blasted the Clippers on the boards, outrebounding them by a whopping 58-39 count. Besides Howard’s 15 and Harden’s 11, Josh Smith – who started at forward instead of Terrence Jones – had seven rebounds and Trevor Ariza pulled down eight. Blake Griffin had 16 for the Clippers and Jordan had 11, but no other player had more than five. That was Spencer Hawes.

– The reason the statistics are so much in favor of Houston is because, according to coach Doc Rivers, the Rockets played with a sense or urgency and the Clippers did not. Griffin, who had a good game with 30 points and those 16 rebounds, said his team played “like we had a couple of bullets in the chamber and we can’t do that.”

– With all this, there was actually a bit of good news. Chris Paul played 35 minutes and showed no signs that his left hamstring, which caused him to miss the first two games of this series, was bothering him. He scored 22 points on 9 of 16 shooting – 4 of 9 from 3-point range. He also doled out 10 assists.

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Matt Barnes fined $50,000 for verbal sparring with James Harden’s mom

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes told reporters at the Friday morning shootaround he expected to get fined for remarks made to a fan who turned out to be the mother of Houston Rockets’ guard James Harden during Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinals series Wednesday at Toyota Center in Houston.

Sure enough, he was fined $50,000 by the NBA for what it termed inappropriate language.

“We’ve made our peace,” Barnes said, before he was officially fined, of he and Harden’s mother, Monja Willis. “We’ve spoken twice since the incident. She said something, I said something back.”

Barnes said he had heard about some of what he supposedly said.

“I’ve heard speculation as to what I allegedly said, which is crazy,” Barnes said. “Crazy, untrue, crazy. But it is what it is.”

Barnes, who said he received a “tongue-lashing” from Clippers coach Doc Rivers, wouldn’t say what was actually said.

“That’s between her and I,” he said.

Barnes had just received a technical foul late in the first quarter Wednesday after bumping Harden. Barnes said he didn’t know who was chirping at him.

“I had no idea who it was,” he said. “I didn’t find out who it was until I was on the bus. But I saw D.J. (DeAndre Jordan) speak to her at halftime as well and I was like, ‘Who was that?’ He’s like, ‘Jame’s Harden’s mom.’ “I was like, ‘Oh, God, that’s going to make it a hundred times worse.’ I don’t know her, I don’t really know James too well and like I said, we’ve made our peace and we’re focused on winning this game.”

All that said, Barnes – speaking in generalities – doesn’t like the idea that fans can say whatever they want without suffering any repercussions.

“Well, what’s crazy is they can say anything and everything from things about our kids to our wives to anything and we say one thing and they run and tell and next thing you know, I’m proably going to get fined $25,000,” he said, before knowing it was $50,000. “So, I think I heard D.J. say and D-Wade (Dwyane Wade) said it before, you know, we’re human, too. You know what I mean?

“But they can pick and prod us like animals in a cage and run and tell when we respond. So if you don’t want nothing said to you, don’t say nothing to begin
with.”

Rivers wouldn’t say what he said to Barnes.

“I’m not going to talk about that much,” he said prior to Friday’s Game 3 tip-off at Staples Center. “I just was not pleased. I made that clear. And I made it clear to Matt and the entire team. So I’m just going to leave it at that.”

Harden talked briefly about the incident at the Rockets’ morning shootaround.

“Any situation where you’re talking about somebody else’s parents, that’s just disrespectful,” Harden said. “I’m focused on Game 3 and we’re very focused and locked in. There will be some great intensity tonight.”

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 117-101 Game 1 victory over Houston

Blake Griffin

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

Blake Griffin took charge in the absence of point guard Chris Paul, who sat out Game 1 with a hamstring injury sustained in Game 7 of the Clippers’ first-round victory over San Antonio, won by the hobbled Paul with a last-second shot. Griffin had his second consecutive triple-double, going for 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists. Doesn’t get much better than that. Yes, he had five turnovers. Big deal. The man was the point forward out there and handled the ball a lot.

– Good job by J.J. Redick. He had zero points in the first half, missing all four of his field-goal attempts – three of those from the 3-point line. He scored 17 points in the second half, going 6 of 9 – 3 of 4 from 3-point range.

– Terrific game by Matt Barnes. He scored 20 points on 8 of 11 from the field – 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. He also had five rebounds, three assists, four steals and two blocked shots. Other than that, he didn’t do a thing. He also got into some verbal sparring with Rockets fans. That’s never good, but you have just got to love the emotion with which he plays. Barnes also had a fine showing in Game 7 against the Spurs. If he stays on a roll, and Paul comes back healthy, the Clippers will likely have too many weapons for the Rockets.

– It was kind of interesting that on a night when Rockets fans were chanting “MVP, MVP,” when James Harden made a shot, Harden had nine turnovers. That’s an enormous amount for one game by a player of his stature. Harden did have 20 points, 12 assists and four steals. But some of that was negated by his inability to take care of the ball. Harden this week finished second to Golden State’s Steph Curry in the MVP voting.

– Griffin wasn’t the only player to pick up the slack in Paul’s absence. Jamal Crawford scored 18 points with five rebounds, four assists and two steals while handling the ball more than usual. He did have six turnovers. DeAndre Jordan had 10 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, two steals and four blocks. And Austin Rivers, son of Doc, started in Paul’s place and went for 17 points. He only had three assists, but he came up with four steals. This is what you call a team pulling together when it’s quarterback was not available to guide them.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 102-96 victory over Spurs in Game 6 at AT&T

Blake Griffin

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

– There is a song in the 1958 movie “Damn Yankees” entitled “Heart.” The lyrics include the phrase, “You’ve gotta have heart …” After this victory, no one should ever question the heart of the Clippers. They stared elimination in the face, and won. A loss, and all the wolves would have been out, wondering why the Clippers are going in reverse instead of forward. There is still a Game 7 to be played Saturday, but whatever happens, this team’s heart should not be in question.

– Kudos to Chris Paul. He missed all seven of his shots in the first half and although he still ended up shooting just 7 of 21, he was a big reason why the Clippers emerged victorious in this one. He scored 19 points, doled out 15 assists and played a game-high 44 minutes.

– Then there was the play of Blake Griffin. His body-language spoke volumes. It was as if he was not going to let this team lose. He scored a game-high 26 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, doled out six assists and for good measure blocked four shots.

Matt Barnes played a role in holding Kawhi Leonard to just 12 points on 3 of 15 shooting. Leonard scored 32 points in the Spurs’ Game 3 100-73 rout of the Clippers in San Antonio, so if he gets going he can be deadly.

– The only bummer to this game was that Glen “Big Baby” Davis sustained a sprained ankle at the outset of the fourth quarter. The hustle Davis gives the Clippers will be missed if he can’t make it for Saturday’s Game 7.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 100-73 Game 3 loss to San Antonio Spurs

Jamal Crawford

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

 

– When Jamal Crawford is in a groove, he can be as deadly from the field as anyone. But after shooting 1 of 11 in this one, he is a combined 5 of 24 over the past two games – 1 of 10 from beyond the arc. This needs to change in a hurry, as in Game 4 Sunday.

– Another shooter, J.J. Redick, is also struggling. He is now shooting 31.2 percent from the field (10 of 32) in the series after going 2 of 7 in this massacre. The Clippers need Redick to be closer to the guy who had the best regular season of his nine-year career.

– To be clear, Crawford and Redick were not the only poor shooters in this loss. Blake Griffin was 6 of 15, Chris Paul 3 of 11. As a team, the Clippers shot 34.1 percent, 26.1 percent from 3-point range. Doc Rivers himself said the loss was more about his team’s “awful” offense than their defense that cost them the game. We should note, however, that the Spurs shot 52.6 percent from the field, so that was in play, too.

– We heard it a lot that the Clippers’ bench can’t stack up with San Antonio’s. Clippers reserves scored 30 points, but much of that was during garbage time. Crawford scored just five points before garbage time. The Spurs, on the other hand, got 15 big points, seven rebounds and four assists from Boris Diaw in 23 terrific minutes; six points from Patty Mills and nine from Marco Belinelli.

Matt Barnes has had a rather lousy series. He’s averaging 5.7 points and shooting 30 percent from the field. But at least in Game 2 – when he shot 1 of 10 – he had 10 rebounds. Barnes had zero rebounds in this game. Guarding Kawhi Leonard – or trying to – is killing the rest of his game.

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Doc Rivers loved the energy Clippers faithful brought to Staples Center

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes sent Clippers fans into a frenzy when in the third quarter he got into a vicious wrestling match for the ball with San Antonio’s Aron Baynes that spilled out of bounds and into photographers sitting on the end line/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

There has been plenty of talk this season – not all good – about how there always seems to be a decent amount of opposing fans at Clippers home games. Sometimes, it’s felt like there were just as many of them as Clippers fans.

There was very little of that Sunday in the Clippers’ 107-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of their playoff series at Staples Center. The crowd was electric, and 98 percent of it rooted for the Clippers.

It did not go unnoticed by coach Doc Rivers.

“It was awesome. I agree,” Rivers said. “I thought it was better than the Golden State game last year (in Game 7 of that first-round series). They had energy, and they had energy throughout. It’s amazing … that your team needs energy sometimes from your crowd. I thought they did that for us tonight.”

Game 2 is Wednesday night at Staples Center.

 

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