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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Chris Paul says Clippers definitely more prepared for this go-round with Spurs

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Chris Paul’s first season with the Clippers was 2011-12. Paul helped the Clippers to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, where they were swept by in four games by the San Antonio Spurs.

The Clippers will play the Spurs in the first round beginning Sunday night at 7:30 at Staples Center. Paul was queried at practice this week as to whether his team is more prepared for this go-round with San Antonio. Paul answered sharply.

“If we’re not better prepared now than we were three years ago,” Paul said, “then we probably shouldn’t even play.”

The team in ’11-’12 had Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin but not Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick or Jamal Crawford.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 106-78 victory over hallway-neighbor Lakers

Chris Paul

Chris Paul doled out 15 assists in Sunday’s victory over the Lakers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

– Perhaps the best part about this victory is that the Clippers did not have a letdown against a very poor Lakers team that now has more losses (56) than any other Lakers’ team in franchise history. The Clippers led this game by as many as 43 points (99-56) by attacking and attacking some more until there was no doubt about the outcome.

– Since this was the Lakers’ home game, that meant it was a road game for the Clippers. With the victory they have now won a franchise-record 25 games away from home. As guard J.J. Redick said afterward about the record, “You have to have mental toughness.” At 25-15 on the road, the Clippers have one more road game April 14 at Phoenix in the regular-season finale.

Chris Paul took only seven shots. But that seemed by design as he was having fun dishing out sweet passes to his teammates, which resulted in him doling out 15 assists. Paul is now averaging a league-high 10.2 assists. John Wall of the Washington Wizards is close behind at 10.0.

– The Clippers once again showed how adept they are from 3-point range by shooting 55.6 percent (15 of 27) from beyond the arc. Matt Barnes and Hedo Turkoglu both shot 4 of 7 from there, Redick was 2 of 2 and Austin Rivers 2 of 3. The Clippers are now shooting a collective 37.9 percent from long distance, third in the league behind Golden State (39.5) and Atlanta (38.6).

– The defense played by the Clippers was noteworthy. They held the Lakers to 38.7 percent shooting. Most importantly, they took rookie hot-shot Jordan Clarkson and threw a blanket over him. Clarkson, who of late has been very good, came in with point totals of 30, 26 and 27 in three of his previous seven games. But he scored just two points Sunday. Clarkson took just six shots, making one, because he had difficulty getting open. The game before, Friday against Portland, Clarkson scored 27 points and took 20 shots – making 12.

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Matt Barnes believes Clippers have bad blood with all teams – and vice versa

Matt Barnes

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

 

Following Wednesday’s 126-122 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers that included a row when the Trail Blazers’ Chris Kaman pushed Chris Paul to the ground after Paul out-fought Kaman for a rebound, the Clippers’ Matt Barnes was asked to talk about the bad blood the Clippers might have with any other team in the league.

Interestingly, the hard-nosed Barnes believes there is a general dislike between the Clippers and, well, everyone.

“We have bad blood against the whole league and I think they have it against us,” he said. “It’s whatever. Sometimes it gets physical and we’re OK with that. Just like tonight, it was a big win. It took 48 minutes to get it, but we did a great job.”

It appeared Kaman’s push of Paul was in response to Paul pushing Kaman below the belt with his left hand during the play.

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J.J. Redick scores 27 points as Clippers win seventh straight, 119-106 at Boston

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

J.J. Redick scored 27 points and the Clippers on Sunday won their seventh consecutive game with a 119-106 victory over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden in Boston. Interestingly, the Clippers held a 35-point lead (96-61) with 4:20 left in the third quarter and the Celtics were able to whittle that gigantic deficit down to 14 (111-97) with 4:16 to play in the game.

The Clippers’ starters came back in and then Boston’s Luigi Datome buried a 3-pointer to bring the Celtics within 11 points at 111-100 with 4:01 left before Matt Barnes made a huge put-back after the second of two missed free throws by DeAndre Jordan, who again fell victim to the hack-a-DJ ploy by making just 3 of 15 from the free-throw line.

Chris Paul and Blake Griffin contributed 21 points apiece with Paul also doling out 10 assists and Griffin grabbing nine rebounds. Barnes had 18 points and seven rebounds and Jordan scored 15 points and pulled down 14 rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics (32-41) with 19 points off the bench and Tyler Zeller scored 16.

The Clippers (49-25) now return home to take on the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday at Staples Center. The Warriors have the league’s best record at 60-13.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 119-98 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers

DeAndre Jordan

DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

– Philadelphia coach Brett Brown utilized the rather disgusting hack-a-DJ in the last 1 1/2 minutes of the second quarter, during which time DeAndre Jordan made just 1 of 8 from the free-throw line on his way to making only 5 of 17. That is 29.4 percent. Jordan is making just 39.4 percent of his free throws on the season. Believe it or not, that is only the fourth worst percentage of his career. He shot 38.5 percent in 2008-09, 37.5 in 2009-10 and 38.6 in 2012-13.

Blake Griffin took only eight shots for the second consecutive game. Sure, he played fewer minutes in those two games – 29 and 27 – because both games were routs; the other game was Wednesday at New York, where the Clippers blasted the Knicks 111-80. But that doesn’t account for the disparity between taking 21 and 19 shots in the previous two games in 37 and 36 minutes, respectively. Griffin needs to stay aggressive. He’s averaging 17 shots per game on the season.

– Getting back to Jordan, he did pull down another 20 rebounds in this one. That means he has grabbed at least 14 in 20 of his past 21 games. He’s averaging 17.6 rebounds in 14 games this month, a league-leading 14.8 on the season.

Spencer Hawes, who has struggled mightily this season, had seven points and eight rebounds off the bench in 19 minutes. The rebounds were one more than the 7-foot-1 reserve had over the previous three games combined. That’s a good thing. Now, he needs to keep on doing it.

Matt Barnes had another solid game in what has been his best month of the season. He scored 15 points while pulling down four rebounds and making four steals with three assists. Barnes shot 4 of 8 – 3 of 7 from 3-point range. He’s averaging 10.1 points on the season, but 12.9 in March, during which he’s shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc.

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Clippers clinch playoff berth with 119-98 victory over Philadelphia 76ers

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Chris Paul scored 25 points, J.J. Redick scored 19 and DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 20 rebounds as the Clippers (48-25)  clinched a playoff berth with a 119-98 victory at Philadelphia on Friday night. The Clippers have won six consecutive games.

Matt Barnes contributed 15 points and Austin Rivers had 13 off the bench. Blake Griffin scored just 10 points but had eight assists and five rebounds.

Nerlens Noel led the 76ers (18-55) with 30 points and 14 rebounds.

The Clippers complete this three-game road trip Sunday at Boston.

 

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Chris Paul scores 19 points in first half as Clippers lead 62-54 at Philadelphia

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

Chris Paul scored 19 points in the first half Friday at Philadelphia and the Clippers led the 76ers 62-54 at the break.

The 76ers went to the awful hack-a-DJ tactic in the final minutes and DeAndre Jordan ended up making just 3 of 12 from the free-throw line.

J.J. Redick contributed 14 points for the Clippers (47-25), Matt Barnes scored 10 and Jordan had nine points, 13 rebounds and two blocks. Blake Griffin had just two points on 1 of 3 shooting.

Nerlens Noel led Philadelphia (18-54) with 18 points and nine rebounds.

 

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New York coach Derek Fisher praises Clippers after they rout his Knicks

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers scored a game-high 21 points in the Clippers’ victory Wednesday at New York/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Derek Fisher’s New York Knicks had just been thrashed 111-80 by the Clippers on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City, when he doled out quite a compliment.

They are a good team,” said Fisher, in his first year at the New York helm. “They are athletic, fast and strong. You don’t understand the speed and force that these guys play with unless you are out there.”

Austin Rivers scored 21 points off the bench to lead Los Angeles (47-25); he shot 9 of 10 from the field. J.J. Redick contributed 17 points, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan had 14 apiece and Chris Paul and Matt Barnes each scored 11. Paul also had 16 assists. Jordan also blocked five shots and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Cleanthony Early led the Knicks (14-58) with 18 points off the bench.

The Clippers next play Friday at Philadelphia (18-54).

 

 

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