Clippers again fall apart down the stretch, fall 102-91 at Portland

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 21 points in Friday’s loss at Portland/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Perhaps still hurting from Thursday’s  collapse against the Golden State Warriors, the Clippers on Friday again fell apart down the stretch, this time at Portland.

Down by just a point with 4:13 to play, the Trail Blazers outscored the Clippers 16-6 to emerge with a 102-91 victory at Portland.

The Clippers are now 6-6 after starting 4-0.

The Trail Blazers led 86-85 after a basket by the Clippers’ Blake Griffin. Portland embarked on a 14-2 run for a 100-87 lead with 1:46 to go.

The Clippers had turnovers by J.J. Redick and Griffin during that stretch. It was Redick’s first game after missing the previous three with back spasms. Redick scored seven points on 3 of 12 shooting.

Paul Pierce was rested and did not play. That gave the start to Lance Stephenson, who rode the pine against Golden State and the game before that played less than two minutes against the Detroit Pistons. Stephenson scored two points in 18 minutes.

Griffin led the Clippers with 21 points and Jamal Crawford scored 20 off the bench. DeAndre Jordan scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds and Chris Paul had 11 points on 4 of 12 shooting, and eight assists.

Also off the bench, Josh Smith had eight rebounds and two blocks and Austin Rivers scored 10.

Damian Lillard scored a game-high 27 points, 11 in the fourth quarter – nine of those on 3-pointers.

Portland (5-9) entered having lost seven consecutive games.


Paul Pierce: ‘We have got to do a better job at playing 48 minutes’

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


The Clippers have earned their reputation of giving up leads and not being able to close out games in killer-instinct fashion.

On Thursday, the Clippers hosted the undefeated and defending-champion Golden State Warriors. The Clippers twice led by 23 points in the second quarter and led by 10 with 5:54 to play, only to be outscored 25-8 down the stretch as the Warriors came away with a 124-117 victory.

There is no shame in losing to the Warriors, who are now 13-0. It’s the way the Clippers (6-5) lost, totally void of any execution during winning time.

Paul Pierce, who played for coach Doc Rivers in Boston – the two won a title there in 2008 – intimated this has to stop.

“We have to do a better job at playing 48 minutes,” said Pierce, who scored six points in nearly 32 minutes. “That’s two games in a row versus these guys where we have had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. We gave up our lead, so we have to do a better job on defense.”

The Warrioirs shot 52.1 percent overall, 56.7 percent (17 of 30) from 3-point range. They shot 8 of 9 (88.9 percent) from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter. But it was more than that, Pierce said.

“We have to do a better job on offense and trusting one another,” he said. “You can’t give up 40 points in the fourth quarter versus the best team in basketball. Simple and plain, we have to do a better job at finishing.”

The Warriors outscored the Clippers 39-26 in the fourth.

Two and a half weeks ago, on Nov. 4 in Oakland, the Clippers led the Warriors by 10 in the fourth quarter and lost by four (112-108).


Paul Pierce: Nov. 4 loss at Golden State can pay dividends in rematch

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


The Clippers were defeated by the Golden State Warriors 112-108 on Nov. 4 at Golden State. It was the smallest margin of victory so far for the 12-0 Warriors, who came from 10 down with 7:56 to play to emerge victorious.

Clippers small forward Paul Pierce on Wednesday before practice was asked if knowing that the Clippers almost beat Golden State on its home court gives them a certain level of confidence heading into Thursday’s rematch at Staples Center.

“I’m not sure, but we can use some things that we did well versus them,” Pierce said. “You know, each game is always played out different. You come with different strategies, you rotate different players, so just because you play them close one day doesn’t mean you;’re going to win or play them close the next day.

“That’s the thing about the game of basketball, it’s never scripted. It could turn out to be a completely different ballgame. But I know some of the things we did well, we can kind of go over that today in practice and see what we can do to strategize to play better.”

Pierce is expected to get his second consecutive start in this one after coming off the bench the first nine games.

The defending-champion Warriors are 12-0, the Clippers are 6-4.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 104-88 win over Mavericks

Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan share a moment during Thursday’s victory over the Dallas Mavericks/Staff photo by Keith Birmingham

  • Blake Griffin had another fine performance. He scored 26 points in just under 27 minutes. He shot 11 of 17 a night after he shot 14 of 20 in a win at Sacramento. Griffin is shooting 67.6 percent (25 of 37) from the field in the first two games.
  • It was good to see the emotion coming from DeAndre Jordan, who got into a brief fracas with Dirk Nowitzki after Nowitzki fouled him hard under the basket in the second quarter.
  • The Mavericks were down a few players, but Doc Rivers was nevertheless happy with the defense played by his team, which held Dallas to just 36.1 percent shooting – 20 percent (6 of 30) from 3-point range.
  • The play of reserves Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford was vital. Rivers scored 14 points on 5 of 10 shooting, Crawford had 15 points on 6 of 11 shooting.
  • Three of the Clippers’ new players did not have a good time of it in this one. Starting small forward Lance Stephenson shot 1 of 5 and reserves Josh Smith and Paul Pierce were 1 of 5 and 1 of 6, respectively. That’s a combined 3 of 16. That could spell defeat on many nights. However, the rest of the team picked up some of the slack and when all was said and done, the Clippers shot 43.7 percent from the field. Not terrific, but not horrible.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 111-104 victory at Sacramento

Blake Griffin drives to the basket in Wednesday’s victory at Sacramento/Photo by Associated Press


– The Clippers held a 15-point lead early in the third quarter, but had it wiped away and trailed by a point at 93-92 with 6:50 to play. The good news was the Clippers did not panic. Rather, they outscored the Kings 19-11 down the stretch to win by seven.

– What a game by Blake Griffin. Showing he can do it all – at one point the 6-foot-10 power forward had a length-of-the-court drive with some fancy moves and acrobatic finish – Griffin scored 33 points on 14 of 20 from the field. He also had eight rebounds, four assists and just two turnovers in 38 minutes. Other than that, he didn’t do a thing.

– You have to love what 38-year-old Paul Pierce did in this one. He scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. Most importantly, he had eight of those points in the fourth quarter when the Clippers were fending off a talented Kings team no doubt fueled by their fans.

Chris Paul also had a fine game for the Clippers. The veteran point guard scored 18 points and doled out 11 assists with two steals and only two turnovers in 37 minutes.

– The Clippers blocked nine shots – four each by DeAndre Jordan and Josh Smith. The cool thing about Smith’s blocks was that he otherwise did not have a good game. He missed both of his field-goal attempts and had five turnovers in just 16 minutes. Yet, he stayed very focused on defense. He had one point and six rebounds.

Clippers hold off Kings, defeat them 111-104 behind 33 from Griffin


Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


The Sacramento Kings erased all of a 15-point early fourth-quarter deficit to take a 1-point lead on the Clippers, but the Clippers pulled together and came away with a 111-104 victory over the Kings in a season-opener Wednesday at Sacramento.

The Kings took a lead at 93-92 with 6:50 to play, but the Clippers fought back to outscore Sacramento 19-11 down the stretch.

Blake Griffin led all scorers with 33 points on 14 of 20 from the field. He also had eight rebounds and four assists. Chris Paul had 18 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and two steals. J.J. Redick scored 15 points, DeAndre Jordan had eight points, 12 rebounds and four blocks; and Paul Pierce and Jamal Crawford scored 12 and 11 off the bench, respectively. Josh Smith had four blocks and six rebounds.

DeMarcus Cousins had 32 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Kings and Rudy Gay scored 16.

The Clippers shot 52.5 percent from the field