Jamal Crawford says if Doc Rivers wants him to start, he’ll get used to it


Jamal Crawford

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


The Clippers are 1-1 since coach Doc Rivers inserted two-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford into the starting lineup, replacing Matt Barnes.

Rivers told reporters ahead of Monday night’s 89-85 loss to San Antonio that he made the move for the team, and intimated it was to inject more offense into it.

Crawford scored 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting in Saturday’s 106-102 victory over Portland. But he scored just 10 points on 3 of 13 from the field  – he was 1 of 7 from 3-point range – against San Antonio.

Following the loss to the Spurs, Crawford suggested he is determined to make this work because that’s what Rivers wants.

“I am fine,” said Crawford, who admitted being in the startling lineup “is an adjustment. But I will get used to it. As long as (Rivers) wants me there, I will get used to it.”

Rivers said this will be a game-by-game deal, which means we could see Barnes starting again at any time.

Barnes, incidentally, told yours truly before Monday’s game that he had no issue with being taken out of the starting lineup. First of all, he said during training camp he’d rather come off the bench, and he also conceded that he had been struggling on offense. He was averaging 6.0 points ahead of Monday, and he scored eight points against the Spurs.

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Blake Griffin has solid first half, but Clippers trail Blazers 54-46


Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

Blake Griffin scored 17 points in the first half for the Clippers on Friday, but no other player on the team was in double figures as they trailed the Portland Trail Blazers 54-46 at intermission at Staples Center.

J.J. Redick had seven points in the half, Matt Barnes six.

Damian Lilard has 18 points for the Trail Blazers.

Los Angeles is shooting 48.8 percent from the field to just 42.5 for Portland. But the Trail Blazers have been to the free-throw line 19 times and have made 16. The Clippers are 3 of 5 from the line.


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Five things to take from Clippers’ 125-107 loss at Golden State


Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


- Forward Matt Barnes went 1-for-7 from the field. That makes his 3-for-31 during the exhibition season. That equates to 9.3 percent.

- The Warriors shot 59 percent overall from the field, 59.1 percent (13 of 22) from 3-point range. That is the third time in six exhibition games a team has shot better than 45 percent from beyond the arc against the Clippers. Portland shot 68 percent (17 of 25) on Oct. 12. The next day the Utah Jazz shot 46.7 (14 of 30).

- The Clippers shot just 38.6 percent from the field. It was the second consecutive game in which they have shot under 40 percent. Their highest shooting percentage came this past Friday when they shot 44.6 percent in their only exhibition victory – 101-97 over Utah.

- While it’s true the Clippers rested Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in this one, they were still within just two points at halftime. They were then outscored by 16 in the second half. They scored 47 points in the second half after scoring 60 in the first.

- There was some good news. The Clippers, who have struggled from the free-throw line, shot 80.5 percent (33 of 41). That’s their highest percentage during the exhibition season; they have twice shot under 60 percent. Spencer Hawes (3-for-3), Chris Douglas-Roberts (4-for-4) and Jamal Crawford (5-for-5) were perfect. J.J. Redick was 6 of 7. DeAndre Jordan was 3 of 6.

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


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


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’ 119-114 loss Sunday at Portland


Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


- First and foremost, the Clippers need to defend better – in particular, the 3-point shot. The Trail Blazers shot 53.9 percent overall from the field, an almost-unbelievable 68 percent (17 of 25) from 3-point range.

- Sixth man Jamal Crawford had his second solid performance in as many exhibition games. He scored a game-high 23 points while making 8 of 13 from the field, 6 of 8 from 3-point range. In the team’s first exhibition – a 112-94 loss to Golden State on Oct. 7 – Crawford had 14 points on 5 of 10 shooting, 2 of 6 from 3-point range. Crawford recently tweeted that even at 34, he believes he’s getting better. Perhaps, he’s right.

- The Clippers shot just 59.1 percent (13 of 22) from the free-throw line. Most of the damage to that percentage was done by none other than DeAndre Jordan, who made just 3 of 9. Jordan needs to find his way at the free-throw line. He has a career percentage of just 42.5; he shot 42.8 percent this past season.

- Newly acquired reserve post Spencer Hawes had his second strong game with 15 points, six rebounds and three assists. He shot just 5 of 13 from the field, but was 3 of 6 from 3-point range. He also had a really strong drive in traffic for a layup that may have opened some eyes.

- Matt Barnes had his second poor shooting night in succession. He was 1-for-7 from the field after shooting 1 of 4 against Golden State. He was 1 of 5 from 3-point range, meaning he is just 1 of 8 from there in two games. Barnes would rather come off the bench, and he did that Sunday after starting Oct. 7.

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Matt Barnes: Spencer Hawes gives team another hard-nosed player


Spencer Hawes

Spencer Hawes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Matt Barnes is a hard-nosed player. Dirty, perhaps, at times. Apparently, that’s one of the things he likes about his new teammate – 7-foot post Spencer Hawes.

Hawes had 12 technical fouls, two flagrants and one ejection last season with Philadelphia and Cleveland.

“I think the biggest (addition) is going to be Spencer,” Barnes said. “Someone 7-foot who can shoot the ball, pass the ball, playmaker,  a dirty guy, a tough guy, probably one of the biggest free-agent pickups of the summer that people really aren’t talking about as much as they should.”

Barnes was speaking at Clippers Media Day on Monday. When it was time for Hawes to take the dais, he was told of Barnes’ comments about his style of play and agreed they were on the money.

“I think so,” Hawes said. “I think as I’ve gotten a little older I’ve been able to contain a little more. But I think that’s just kind of my personality and I think with a guy like Matt, there are some similarities there. And I think that’s what kind of makes me good and sometimes what draws me back, so there’s a fine line there.”

Hawes has career scoring and rebounding averages of 9.7 and 6.4, respectively. He has seven seasons under his belt even though he is just 26 because he was in the league at age 19.

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Hard-nosed Matt Barnes took positive steps in controlling his temper


Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes left Clippers forward Blake Griffsecond from left tangle with OklahomCity Thunder forward Serge Ibaksecond

Photo by Associated Press

Matt Barnes just completed his 11th season in the NBA, and he put up some of his better numbers. He averaged 9.9 points – his career-best is 10.3 – while pulling down 4.6 rebounds and doling out 2.0 assists. He also shot 43.8 percent from the field, 34.3 percent (97 of 283) from 3-point range.
One of the things about Barnes, he is one tough hombre. He doesn’t shy away from contact, he is not afraid to take a crucial shot with the game in the balance. If he is
having a good game, the energy with which he plays seems to pump up his teammates.

Barnes also took some positive strides when it comes to technical fouls and such. In 2012-13, he had 10 technical fouls, four flagrant and two ejections during the regular season. In this just-concluded 2013-14 campaign under first-year coach Doc Rivers, Barnes had just four technical fouls, three flagrant, two ejections.

This was an issue that both Rivers and Barnes discussed with reporters many times during the season. Rivers said he tried to impress upon Barnes that playing hard and committing needless technical and flagrant fouls are not the same thing. One can play very hard without creating unnecessary hardship for his team, the thinking was.

Barnes also had some very bright moments on defense, making him an important part of the Clippers’ lineup.

That doesn’t mean Barnes should rest on his laurels. After all, there were some games where he contributed very little. Invisibility is the type of thing that every player wants to avoid.

Barnes should be in the fold again next season as he is signed for 2014-15 for $3,396,250, with a club option for 2015-16 for $3,542,500.

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Doc Rivers fined $25,000 for blasting officials after Game 5 defeat

Coach Doc Rivers on Thursday was fined $25,000 by the NBA for his sharp criticism of officials that worked Game 5 of his team’s Western Conference semifinals series at Oklahoma City on Tuesday.

Rivers lashed out in the post-game news conference after his team blew a 13-point lead with 4:11 to play, losing 105-104 to fall behind 3-2 in the series. The play in question was an out-of-bounds play where the ball certainly appeared to go off the hand of OKC’s Reggie Jackson with 11.3 seconds to play. Officials said the replay was inconclusive and the call made on the court stood, the Thunder retaining possession of the ball.

That led to Chris Paul’s 3-point area foul on Russell Westbrook with 6.4 seconds left, and Westbrook made all three free throws for the winning points.

Afterward, Rivers referred to the call as “brutal” and “horrendous” and suggested officials were making up for not having called a foul on Matt Barnes on said play; it did appear Barnes fouled Jackson.

Barnes had Rivers’ back at the morning shootaround ahead of Game 6 Thursday night at Staples Center.

“I think it was needed,” Barnes said. “He’s done a great job all year of being a shield for this team with all the unfortunate stuff that’s come up during the playoffs.”

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Matt Barnes longs for days when physical play was more tolerated, then again …

Forward Matt Barnes – known as somewhat of a bad boy in the NBA – told reporters at practice Friday that he longed for the days when the game was more physical and players could get away with being that way more than they can today..

This was the result of Barnes on Thursday watching ESPN’s “Bad Boys” on 30 for 30, a documentary centering on the rough Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Their reputation for hard-nosed, dirty play earned them that moniker.

Barnes was asked what would happen if he was fouling that way in this day and age.

“If I did some of those fouls they had last night that I saw, I’d probably have to find a new job,” Barnes said. “Take my kids out of private school, cut my wife’s allowance.”

Reporters were laughing out-loud.

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