Age, fewer minutes contributing factors to Paul Pierce’s struggles

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Paul Pierce, 38, is having the worst shooting season of his long and, eventually, Hall of Fame career. Pierce has a career shooting percentage of 44.6 percent. He’s shooting 33.6 percent this season; his previous low was 40.2 in 2003-03 with Boston.

Pierce has shot 36.9 percent from 3-point range for his 18-year career, but he’s at 30.6 percent right now. He hasn’t shot that poorly from distance since ’03-’04, when he shot 29.9 percent – his worst ever.

“I think maybe it has to do with my age,” Pierce said, smiling.

His age is an issue. It’s why he’s only averaging a career-low 17.5 minutes, nearly nine minutes less than this past season when he was with Washington.

“Yeah, I’m sure that has something to do with it,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He puts in the time and the work, but I know he can shoot and I feel like when you need him to make a shot, for the most part he’ll make shots.

“But his minutes have gone down each year over the last three or four years. Usually, statistically, especially guys who play a lot, when their minutes start
dwindling, their field-goal percentage struggles a little bit, too.”

Pierce understands why his minutes are down, suggesting his age and the way the team is structured mandates that. His main concern is “just to be rested enough going into the playoffs because that’s where I feel my value is going to be felt the most.”

Five things to take from Clippers’ 120-93 victory over Chicago

Wesley Johnson plays tough defense on Jimmy Butler of the Bulls in the Clippers’ 120-93 victory on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center/Staff photo by Hans Gutknecht

 

– Once again the bench sparkled. Jamal Crawford scored 26 points on 11 of 15 shooting, Austin Rivers scored 16 and was 5 of 6 from 3-point range and Wesley Johnson scored 11 on 4 of 8 shooting – 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. The bench outscored the Bulls bench 58-18. The Clippers shot 53.1 percent (17 of 32) from long-distance.

J.J. Redick had a very poor shooting game on Friday against the Lakers, making just 2 of 10 from the field, 1 of 6 from 3-point range. He rebounded nicely in this one, scoring 21 points 7 of 11 from the field – 4 of 4 from deep, where Redick is shooting a league-leading 48.6 percent.

DeAndre Jordan continued his rebounding tear, pulling down 20. He has had 19, 19, 17 and 20 rebounds his past four games and has raised his season average to 13.8, second to Andre Drummond (15.0) of Detroit. Jordan also had 17 points, four assists, four blocks and a steal

Paul Pierce’s struggles continued. He played just under 16 minutes and missed all six of his field-goal attempts, five of them coming from 3-point range. The 38-year-old Pierce is shooting 33.6 percent from the field overall, by far the worst percentage of his career, which is in its 18th season. He’s shooting 30.6 percent from beyond the arc, third-worst of his career. He shot 30.2 percent from there in 2002-03 and 29.9 percent in 2003-04.

– Considering the Clippers are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, it’s always news when they outrebound an opponent. They did that in this one, taking 46 to Chicago’s 42. Besides Jordan’s 20, Lance Stephenson grabbed six boards in less than 10 minutes off the bench. Cole Aldrich and Redick had four apiece.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 112-94 loss at Toronto

Referee Bennie Adams separates Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford (right) and Toronto Raptors forward Patrick Patterson during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. Both players were charged with a technical foul on the play. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP) Photo: Frank Gunn, AP / The Canadian Press

Things got a bit heated between the Clippers’ Jamal Crawford, right, and the Raptors’ Patrick Patterson during the first half of Sunday’s game at Toronto, won 112-94 by the Raptors. They are separated by referee Bennie Adams/AP photo by Frank Gunn

 

– This loss makes the Clippers 1-2 on this East Coast swing with games Tuesday at Indiana and Wednesday at Atlanta still to come. The Clippers (28-16) are now 11-3 without Blake Griffin, who could return at Indiana.

– Coach Doc Rivers always talks about this being “a make-miss league.” Well, the Clippers shot a respectable 44.7 percent overall, but just 30.8 (8 of 26) from 3-point range. The Raptors shot 49.4 percent, 54.5 (12 of 22) from beyond the arc. Since both teams made 18 free throws, it was from the field where the Clippers lost this game.

Chris Paul came in averaging 22.4 points, 10.4 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 steals over his previous five games. He had 23 points, 11 assists, four rebounds and two steals in this one, staying right in line with those impressive numbers. He did have four of the team’s 13 turnovers. But again, he’s the point guard.

Lance Stephenson shot 4 of 4 and Austin Rivers 4 of 8. Otherwise, the bench struggled from the field. Jamal Crawford shot 1 of 6 and Wesley Johnson was 2 of 7, all of his field-goal attempts coming from 3-point range. That’s not to mention Rivers and Pablo Prigioni had three turnovers apiece; Prigioni only played eight minutes.

DeAndre Jordan led the Clippers with 13 rebounds. But no one else had more than five, which was Paul Pierce’s total. Consequently, the Clippers were outrebounded 44-34.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 110-103 loss to Sacramento Kings

Cole Aldrich, left, of the Clippers defends against DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings during Saturday’s game at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill

 

– The Clippers’ bubble finally burst in this one. They had won 10 consecutive games, the last nine of those coming without injured forward Blake Griffin. The last victory of the streak, Wednesday over Miami, came without both Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, who sat out that one with pneumonia. Jordan also missed this game.

– The Clippers shot 39 3-pointers. That’s only good if you make 40 percent of them. Not so much when you make only 13, which is 33.3 percent. Paul Pierce was 1 of 5 from beyond the arc, Austin Rivers and Wesley Matthews were both 0 of 4. Hard to win like that.

Chris Paul getting into foul trouble in the first half set the tone for what would be a 64-point first half for the Kings. This was surprising to see because the Clippers have been solid on defense of late. But Paul played only nine minutes in the half, and he’s one of the team’s top defenders. Even Paul didn’t realize he had played so little. After the game, he said to an inquiring reporter, “Who only played nine minutes?” The Clippers allowed Charlotte

– Interesting game by Cole Aldrich. He began by making just one of his first seven shots. He finished 8 of 14 and scored 19 points for the second consecutive game. He also had 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks while again starting for the ill Jordan.

– Credit the Kings. They shot 52 percent (13 of 25) from 3-point range and five players scored at least 15 points. Throw in Rajon Rondo‘s 13 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and two steals, and the Kings fought hard for the win. Chris Paul made as much afterward: “They played great. They made shots, they moved the ball.”

Five things to take from Clippers’ 104-90 victory over Miami

Cole Aldrich, right, of the Clippers dunks as Miami’s Justise Winslow tries to defend/Staff photo by David Crane

 

– This victory was the Clippers’ 10th in a row, ninth without the services of Blake Griffin (partially torn quad tendon) and first without DeAndre Jordan (pneumonia). That snapped Jordan’s 360 consecutive games streak, which had been the longest current streak. Griffin figures to still be out when the Clippers host Sacramento on Saturday. Jordan is listed as questionable.

Cole Aldrich is getting better and better. Starting for the first time this season because of Jordan’s absence, he scored a team-high 19 points on 7 of 14 shooting. Aldrich also pulled down seven rebounds, doled out three assists and made a steal in 24 minutes, his longest stint of the season.

Paul Pierce rebounded from two horrible shooting games to score 15 points on 6 of 10 from the field, 3 of 7 from 3-point range. Pierce had shot a combined 3 of 16 his previous two games, 1 of 12 from beyond the arc.

Josh Smith had a DNP next to his name in eight of the previous 10 games. With Jordan out, he played 20 minutes off the bench and scored nine points on 4 of 11 shooting. He also grabbed three rebounds, had one assist and made three steals.

– The Clippers had just eight total turnovers – seven individual, one team. The Heat had 24. Some of that was Miami’s own sloppiness, some of it was the solid defense now being played on a more consistent basis by the Clippers.

J.J. Redick: Saturday’s win over Hornets of ‘grind-it-out’ variety

Los Angeles Clippers guard Austin Rivers, right, shoots Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Austin Rivers goes up for a shot while being defended by Charlotte’s Jeremy Lin/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill

 

The Clippers did not have a terrific day shooting the ball Saturday in their 97-83 victory over the visiting Charlotte Hornets. They even trailed 46-43 at halftime after a strong first quarter, after which they led 27-18.

Defense saved the day. The Hornets shot just 36.9 percent from the field, 30.4 percent (7 of 23) from 3-point range.

J.J. Redick, who scored 17 for the Clippers, afterward talked about the team’s stinginess.

“This was just going to be a grind-it-out game,” he said. “After that initial surge we had offensively, it seemed like the game really slowed down. It was a little slow, the pace was not great. Even when we were getting looks, they were not going down.

“Obviously, for us to win we had to embrace the defensive side of the ball and we did that. Three quarters for them under 20 points, is pretty phenomenal.”

The Clippers (24-13) have won eight in a row, the past seven without leading scorer Blake Griffin.

The Clippers shot 44 percent overall, just 25.8 percent (8 of 31) from 3-point range. Paul Pierce missed all eight of his 3-point attempts, Jamal Crawford (19 points) was 1 of 7 and Wes Johnson 1 of 5.