Five things to take from Clippers’ 96-94 victory over Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers Clippers Basketball

Coach Doc Rivers gives Jamal Crawford a fist-bump during Thursday’s 96-94 Clippers victory over Portland/AP photo by Alex Gallardo


– There is nothing like a buzzer-beating victory to get a struggling team back on the right track. J.J. Redick’s last-second shot after he received a bounce pass from Chris Paul delivered between the legs of Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee, could do just that. The Clippers had lost three in a row and seven of 10 and were coming off a brutal road trip, during which they went 1-4.

Jamal Crawford has been up and down this season. He’s shooting just 32.4 percent from 3-point range, his lowest percentage since shooting 30.8 percent while playing for Portland in 2011-12. But Crawford has always been a clutch performer, and that still rings true. He scored 25 points on 12 of 21 shooting – 3 of 6 from beyond the arc – in this one.

– Reserve post Cole Aldrich had a nice 15 minutes and 21 seconds in this game. He scored seven points on 3 of 5 shooting, grabbed five rebounds, blocked two shots and had a steal and an assist. This guy plays hard.

Paul Pierce was 0 of 5 from the field. He’s shooting a career-low 34.8 percent from the field. His previous low was 40.2 percent in 2003-04 in Boston. Pierce is shooting just 30.8 percent from deep. That is by far his worst since shooting 29.9 percent in that same ’03-’04 season. That’s not to mention he doesn’t play much defense. While it might be nice to have the 38-year-old Pierce on the team because he’s a future Hall of Famer with a championship ring (Boston ’08), he’s not helping this team on the floor. Perhaps he is in the locker room.

– The Trail Blazers shot just 40 percent from the field, 25 percent (6 of 24) from deep. Part of that was Portland missing open shots, part of it was the suffocating defense the Clippers played at times. Again, at times, because the Clippers did show fatigue from yet another back-to-back. The Clippers have had 14 back-to-backs this season. Their past six games were all played under that umbrella.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 114-98 loss at Golden State

The Clippers’ Chris Paul dribbles by Golden State’s Stephen Curry on Wednesday. Paul scored 13 points and shot 4- of 16 from the floor.

Chris Paul looks to the basket during the Clippers’ 114-98 loss at Golden State/AP photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez


– When your two starting guards shoot a combined 8 of 29, it’s nearly impossible to beat a team like the Warriors (64-7), who have now won 51 consecutive regular-season home games and moved a step closer to having the best regular-season record in history. That came in 1995-96 when the Chicago Bulls went 72-10. Chris Paul shot 4 of 16, J.J. Redick shot 4 of 13. Both were 1 of 6 from 3-point range. Both accepted blame.

DeAndre Jordan had a fine game. The hard-playing Jordan scored 19 points, grabbed 20 rebounds and blocked two shots. His coach, Doc Rivers, said he was the most dominant player on the floor. Jordan also doled out three assists.

– The Clippers’ starting forwards – Paul Pierce and Luc Mbah a Moute – did not provide much to this game. Pierce played just under 17 minutes and scored only three points on 1 of 3 shooting. He had three rebounds. Mbah a Moute played only 8 1/2 minutes, took two shots and scored two points with one rebound.

– Golden State’s Splash Brothers – Steph Curry and Klay Thompson – killed the Clippers. Curry scored 33 points and shot 12 of 23 – 4 of 10 from 3-point range. Thompson had 32 points on 12 of 21 from the field and made 7 of 10 from deep. Curry also had five assists and three steals. When those two are going like that, forget about it.

– Rivers said after the game that he liked the spirit with which his team played. He said that, indeed, his two guards not shooting well was a big reason why the Clippers lost. He also said that there were several defensive mistakes his players made after they got to within seven points in the fourth quarter. The bottom line is, the Clippers went 1-4 on this road trip. That’s not the best scenario with the playoffs only three weeks away. The Clippers now take on Portland on Thursday in the first of a three-game homestand. The Clippers then play Denver on Sunday afternoon and the Boston Celtics on Monday night. If the Clippers (43-27) can get well at home, it could go a long way in erasing the memory of this unsuccessful trip.

Paul Pierce: Players have to be mentally tough at this time

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


The Clippers are 1-3 on this road trip ahead of Wednesday’s game at Golden State, having suffered back-to-back losses Saturday and Sunday against inferior teams Memphis and New Orleans, respectively. After Sunday’s game, shooting guard J.J. Redick said the team’s spirit is just not right at the moment.

Point guard Chris Paul was asked his thoughts on that before practice Tuesday.

“It’s not the first time it’s been like that, either,” he said. “So I’m sure today we’ll have a good, hard practice and we’ll try to get it right.”

It’s about mettle, veteran forward Paul Pierce said.

“… It’s mental at this point in the season,” he said. “Everybody’s played the same number of games, everybody plays back-to-backs. So for us, we know we’re better than a lot of teams we lost to. But I think it’s all about the mental aspect that we’re losing sometimes. It’s that time of the year.

“You’ve gotta be mentally tough. Sometimes guys look ahead to the playoffs, but the playoffs aren’t here. You’ve gotta finish out the season on a strong note. So, hopefully, we don’t look past these 10 or 13 games or whatnot, try to secure the best seed we can and get a good rhythm going into the playoffs.”

The Clippers (43-26) have 13 regular-season games left. They are in fourth in the West and would play No. 5 Memphis if the postseason started now.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 109-105 loss at New Orleans

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, center, sits on the bench because of injuries with teammates center Alexis Ajinca, right, and guard Tim Frazier, left, in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, March 20, 2016.

The Pelicans were without Anthony Davis (in the suit) on Sunday, but still managed to beat the Clippers 109-105 in New Orleans/AP photo by Max Becherer


– One of the first things that stands out is how many 3-point shot attempts the Clippers took and how few they made. The Clippers shot just 25.6 percent (10 of 39) from beyond the arc. The worst offenders were Wes Johnson (0 of 6), Austin Rivers (0 of 5), Paul Pierce (0-4) and Jamal Crawford (1 of 5). Hard to win like that, even against a Pelicans team missing Anthony Davis.

– This was the Clippers’ 39th game without forward Blake Griffin (quad, hand) and although they got off to a great start, reality seems to be setting in. The Clippers have lost four of their past five and six of their past nine and are now 26-13 sans Griffin.

J.J. Redick had a fine game. He scored 24 points and shot 9 of 11, 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Unfortunately for the Clippers, his marksmanship couldn’t off-set what was a team overall shooting percentage of 40.2.

DeAndre Jordan had just nine rebounds, well under his average of 13.9. It also marked the first time this season Jordan has had sub-10 rebounding games in succession. He pulled down only seven a night earlier in a loss at Memphis.

– The Pelicans committed 23 turnovers to just 14 for the Clippers. And the Pelicans still won. That’s because not only did they shoot better – 49.3 percent to 40.2 percent for the Clippers – they made their free throws. New Orleans shot 80 percent (32 of 40) from the free-throw line, the Clippers shot just 69 percent (29 of 42). DeAndre Jordan made 6 of 11. For him, that’s good.

BONUS TAKE: Good for the Clippers that they came from 14 down with 2:17 to play to trail by just a point twice in the final 27 seconds. But they never should have been down to a poor team missing its best player by 14 to begin with, even if they were the road team. The Pelicans are 26-43. The Clippers are 43-26.

Clippers can’t stop Zach Randolph, who leads Grizzlies to 113-102 win

Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) shoots in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn.

Zach Randolph takes a shot during Saturday’s 113-102 victory over the Clippers in Memphis/AP photo by Brandon Dill


Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies had not played the past seven games when he took the court Saturday night at Memphis to take on the Clippers. All Randolph did was come up with his first career triple-double by scoring 28 points, pulling down 11 rebounds and doling out 10 assists in the Grizzlies’ 113-102 victory over the Clippers.

Memphis solidified its position in the Western Conference standings. The Grizzlies (40-30) are in fifth-place, four games behind the fourth-place Clippers and four games ahead of the sixth-place Portland Trail Blazers. If the standings don’t change, the Clippers (43-25) and Grizzlies will play each other in the first round of the playoffs.

Chris Paul led the Clippers with 25 points and six assists, DeAndre Jordan had 16 points and just seven rebounds and Paul Pierce had 12 points off the bench.

Clippers’ Paul Pierce ’50-50′ for Sunday’s game against Cavaliers; Luc Mbah a Moute likely back

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Clippers veteran forward Paul Piece sat out Friday’s 101-94 victory over the New York Knicks with a sore right big toe. Coach Doc Rivers isn’t sure if Pierce will be available Sunday when the Clippers play host to the Cleveland Cavaliers at 12:30 p.m. at Staples Center.

“I don’t know yet,” he said. “Probably 50-50.”

Forward Luc Mbah a Moute (lacerated eyelid) is likely to return Sunday.