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.”

Five things to take from Clippers’ 110-84 victory over Memphis

The Clippers' Paul Pierce, left, is elbowed in the face by Memphis' Xavier Munford during Tuesday's game at Staples Center. The Clippers won 110-84. 
Mark J. Terrill - The Associated Press

Clippers forward Paul Pierce takes an elbow to the face from Memphis’ Xavier Munford during Tuesday’s 110-84 Clippers’ victory/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill


– In winning their sixth game in a row and 10th in 11, the Clippers once again displayed a solid defense. The short-handed Grizzlies were held to 40.7 percent shooting, 25 percent (5 of 20) from 3-point range. The Clippers have allowed an average of only 87.2 points over their past five games.

Blake Griffin scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds, doled out four assists and made three steals in his fifth game back after missing the previous 45 with injuries and a four-game suspension. He played only 23 minutes and 16 seconds because none of the starters had to play in the fourth quarter. Those numbers are not too shabby at all.

J.J. Redick made three 3-point baskets in the first half to take him to 200 for the season. That tied his franchise record set in 2014-15. Unfortunately, a bruised left heel sustained in the second quarter meant he would not have a chance to break the record as he did not return. Coach Doc Rivers said after the game he wasn’t sure how serious the injury is. But he did say Redick, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Griffin – all starters – and sixth-man Jamal Crawford would be kept back from traveling to Wednesday night’s regular-season finale at Phoenix. If that holds true, Redick will have to wait until next season to try and surpass his record.

– The victory over Memphis means the Clippers will play either Portland or Dallas in the first round of the playoffs, which begin this weekend. The Grizzlies, who have clinched a playoff spot, needed to beat the Clippers and then win at Golden State on Wednesday in order to have a chance at playing the Clippers. As it stands, if Portland wins at home against Denver on Wednesday night, the Clippers will play the Trail Blazers. If Portland loses and Dallas beats San Antonio at home, then it will be the Mavericks.

– The Clippers had good numbers across the board in this one. They shot 54.7 percent from the field, 48 percent (12 of 25) from beyond the arc. They also had 29 assists, 11 steals and seven blocks. The Clippers committed just nine turnovers and shot 76.2 percent from the free-throw line; they shot 69.2 percent for the season.

Clippers now looking at either Portland or Memphis for first round of the playoffs

Doc Rivers/Associated Press file photo


As the team that will finish fourth in the Western Conference standings, the Clippers for the longest time had been looking at a first-round matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies, who have been in fifth for some time.

However, before Sunday’s slate of games, the sixth-place Portland Trail Blazers had pulled within a half-game of Memphis. Portland had five games remaining, the Grizzlies six – including their games Sunday against Golden State and Orlando, respectively.

Although coach Doc Rivers doesn’t like to ponder the standings too soon in the season, he’s certainly aware of them right now.

“Yeah, I mean, we look at all that and we’ll prepare for whoever we play; you have to be (prepared),” he said.

It might be nice if the Clippers knew right now who their first-round opponent will be, but Rivers said it’s better than it was this past season.

“I think we had up to four or five teams we were preparing for and this year it’s a lot easier because there are really only two that you have to have great focus on,” he said.

Including Sunday, Portland had games against Golden State, Sacramento, Oklahoma City, Minnesota and Denver. Memphis had games against Orlando, Chicago, Dallas, Golden State, the Clippers and Golden State again.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 113-102 loss at Memphis

Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) controls the ball against Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn.

Zach Randolph, left, of Memphis is guarded by the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan during the Grizzlies’ 113-102 victory on Saturday in Memphis/AP photo by Brandon Dill


– The Clippers had no answer for Memphis power forward Zach Randolph, who had not played the previous six games because of right knee soreness. Randolph scored 28 points on 10 of 19 shooting, grabbed 11 rebounds and doled out 10 assists for his first career triple-double.

– When Jeff Green left the game with 6:23 to play in the third quarter after having his head cut open by an errant Zach Randolph elbow, the Clippers trailed just 71-68. Less than five minutes later – at the 1:47 mark – the Clippers trailed by 15 at 85-70. Encased therein was a 12-0 Memphis run. Green had eight points on 2 of 5 shooting, so he wasn’t having a huge game. But they did seem to take a step in reverse once he was gone.

– The Clippers were again killed on the boards, being outrebounded 44-30. DeAndre Jordan, who has done so much to keep the Clippers competitive on the boards – especially with second-leading rebounder Blake Griffin out since Christmas – had only seven. That’s well below his season average of 14.0.

– Coach Doc Rivers after the game blasted his team for not competing and intimating it lacked focus by calling Friday’s practice as well as the Saturday morning shootaround a “waste of time.” Jamal Crawford was asked about that. “I didn’t sense it, but he obviously has a different view. He’s sitting there watching and we are playing. You have to trust what he’s saying.”

Chris Paul scored a team-high 25 points on 7 of 14 shooting – 3 of 5 from 3-point range – for the Clippers. But kind of like Jordan in the rebounding department, Paul underachieved in his specialty – assists. He had six. He averages 9.8 – fourth in the league.

BONUS TAKE: Clippers’ reserve post Cole Aldrich missed both of his field-goal attempts and scored just two points. But he four blocked shots, two assists and two steals to go along with four rebounds in 14 minutes.

All Clippers forward Jeff Green knows is that he ‘saw all the blood’

Los Angeles Clippers forward Jeff Green is helped off the court after suffering a facial laceration in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn.

Jeff Green holds a towel to his head after taking an elbow from Memphis’ Zach Randolph in the third quarter of Saturday’s game at Memphis/AP photo by Brandon Dill


Clippers forward Jeff Green caught what appeared to be an inadvertent Zach Randolph elbow to the temple midway through the third quarter of the Memphis Grizzlies’ 113-102 victory over the Clippers on Saturday night in Memphis. Green left the game with 6:23 to play in the quarter and did not return.

Green scored eight points against his former team in 21 minutes, but the Clippers could have used his help in the final quarter and a half. That’s for sure.

“It was eight stitches,” Green said. “I can’t really tell you how it happened. All I know is that I was pushed, caught an elbow and saw all the blood. That was pretty much it.”

The Clippers play at New Orleans on Sunday at 3 p.m. (on Prime Ticket). It seems doubtful Green would play.

“I think he had (eight) stitches,” coach Doc Rivers said. “I don’t know anything other than that. He took a pretty hard blow.”