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.

After flopping at San Antonio, Clippers bench shines at Houston

Clippers Rockets Basketball

Austin Rivers, center, of the Clippers battles with Houston’s James Harden and Dwight Howard during Wednesday’s game at Houston/AP photo by Pat Sullivan

 

The Clippers’ second unit took some heat after its rather lousy performance in Tuesday night’s 108-87 loss at San Antonio. In it, Clippers reserves scored only 20 points and shot just 6 of 22 from the field (27.2 percent). Spurs reserves scored 51 points.

But Wednesday, it was a different deal. The Clippers’ second unit scored 47 points and shot a combined 17 of 29 (58.6 percent) in their 122-106 win at Houston.

Struggling Wes Johnson shot 5 of 5, Austin Rivers was 4 of 8, Paul Pierce 3 of 6, Jamal Crawford 4 of 9 and Cole Aldrich made his only shot.

Starting point guard Chris Paul, who stuck up for the bench a night earlier, liked what he saw.

“They definitely challenged themselves,” Paul said. “Like we said, in San Antonio last night, we are a team and we stick together.”

Five things to take from Clippers’ 122-106 victory at Houston

Houston Rockets interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, center, yells as Michael Beasley, left, faces the Clippers' Paul Pierce during Wednesday's game in Houston. The Clippers won 122-106. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Paul Pierce, right, of the Clippers is hounded by the Houston Rockets’ Michael Beasley as Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff looks on during Wednesday’s game at Houston//AP photo by Pat Sullivan

 

– You never know what can happen from one game to the next. In Tuesday’s loss at San Antonio, the bench stunk up the joint by scoring just 20 points while shooting a lousy 27.2 percent (6 of 22). The opposite happened in this one. Reserves scored 47 points and shot 17 of 29 (58.6 percent). Wes Johnson, who has been struggling mightily with his shot for some time, made 5 of 5 from the field.

– Fine game by DeAndre Jordan. He scored 23 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked two shots. He also made 7 of 13 from the free-throw line. For that, that’s good.

J.J. Redick had one of those games from deep. He shot 5 of 9 from beyond the arc and scored a team-high 25 points.

– Speaking of the reserves, Jamal Crawford’s performance had to put a smile on Doc Rivers’ face. Crawford shot just 1 of 9 at San Antonio and scored only six points. He scored 14 points in this one and made 4 of 9 from the field. Crawford also doled out seven assists.

– It’s interesting to note that while Jordan had a fine game for the Clippers (43-24), his counterpart – Dwight Howard – did not. Howard took just four shots – he made two – in nearly 33 minutes. He scored six points and grabbed only seven rebounds. Howard averages 14.8 points and 12.1 rebounds on the season for the Rockets (34-34).

Chris Paul speaks in humble tones following big game at Dallas

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Chris Paul is demonstrative on the court, a real ball of intensity. But the L.A. Clippers’ point guard doesn’t boast much when he’s off the court, so his humility after his fine effort Monday night at Dallas wasn’t surprising.

Paul scored 27 points on 12 of 18 shooting in the Clippers’ 109-90 victory over the Mavericks. He scored 18 of his points in the third quarter when the Clippers outscored Dallas 33-16, which means Paul outscored the Mavericks by himself during those 12 minutes. Impressive, indeed. But Paul wouldn’t take all the credit. Keep in mind that Paul made 8 of 9 from the field in the third.

“I think when (the game) is going like that, I’m just trying to force the action,” he said. “(Coach) Doc (Rivers) is always talking about finding a play and sticking with it. So it wasn’t about me making shots. It was about finding help, finding Wes (Johnson) for a shot and finding J.J. (Redick) for a shot. I think when we’re playing like that, it helps our defense.”

Paul also had seven assists, three steals and committed just one turnover in 28 minutes.

As for Redick and Johnson, one of them shot well. Redick scored 22 points on 9 of 14 from the field – 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Johnson scored just three points and shot just 1 of 6, 1 of 4 from beyond the arc. Johnson is just 5 of 26 from long-distance over the past six games. That equates to a woeful 19.2 percent.

DeAndre Jordan shutting out the hate, as latest performance at Dallas would suggest

Los Angeles Clippers forward DeAndre Jordan (6) dunks during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks Monday, March 7, 2016, in Dallas.

DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers powers down a reverse slam in the Clippers’ 109-90 victory Monday night at Dallas/AP photo by Brandon Wade

 

Suffice to say, DeAndre Jordan isn’t hearing or seeing any of the hate the fans of the Dallas Mavericks might have for him after he spurned the Mavericks over the summer to re-sign with the Clippers. Not if Monday’s performance at Dallas means anything.

Jordan scored 23 points, grabbed 20 rebounds, made two steals and blocked two shots to lead the Clippers to a 109-90 victory.

Chris Paul led the Clippers with 27 points, J.J. Redick scored 22 and Jamal Crawford had 15 points off the bench; Crawford shot just 5 of 15 overall, but was 2 of 5 from 3-point range.

The Clippers shot 47 percent overall, a respectable 37.5 (12 of 32) from distance. Paul, Redick and Jordan all shot very well. But Jeff Green was 0 of 5 from the field, Paul Pierce was 1 of 5, Wes Johnson 1 of 6.

The Mavericks (33-31) shot just 37 percent, only 16 percent (4 of 25) from beyond the arc.

The Clippers (41-21) picked up a half-game on Oklahoma City and now trail the third-place Thunder (43-20) by 1 1/2 games in the Western Conference standings.

Dirk Nowtizki led Dallas with 22 points.

The Clippers next play Wednesday at Oklahoma City.

Wes Johnson says Clippers realize they are often not in Western Conference conversation

 

Wesley Johnson

Wes Johnson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

It seems that whenever talking heads on television or radio discuss the Western Conference, the three teams that get mentioned are Golden State, San Antonio and Oklahoma City – the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 teams in the standings. Every once in a while, the Clippers are brought into that conversation. But not as a rule.

Clippers reserve forward Wes Johnson on Friday at practice said the team has noticed. He admitted it has created a chip of sorts, on players’ shoulders.

“Of course,” he said. “We know that. So it’s one of those things that we’re going to let them know we’re legit, that we’re for real. So when we play those top teams, we want to make a statement when we play them.”

The Clippers did that Wednesday when they came from 17 down after three quarters to defeat Oklahoma City 103-98 at Staples Center. The Thunder also lost Thursday at Golden State, so the fourth-place Clippers (40-20) are now just one game behind OKC (42-20).