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.

Coach Doc Rivers stoked about recent play of Clippers bench

Los Angeles head coach Doc Rivers makes a point to his son, Austin Rivers (25) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015.

Austin Rivers, who chats here with father/coach Doc Rivers, led the bench with 22 points in Wednesday’s 122-117 victory at Charlotte/AP photo by Bob Leverone

 

Josh Smith has not played the past two games, and has not played in four of the past five. Lance Stephenson has played a total of only 15 minutes the past three games. Yet, the bench is playing well in the absence of the team’s leading scorer – Blake Griffin (partially torn quad tendon). Griffin has missed the past three games, all of which the Clippers (20-13) have won; they have won four in a row, overall.

Reserves scored 44 of the team’s 109 points in a 109-104 victory at Utah this past Saturday, 54 of the team’s points in a 108-91 victory Monday at Washington and 47 of the team’s points in a 122-117 victory Wednesday at Charlotte.

In that win at Charlotte, Austin Rivers led the reserves with 22 points. Jamal Crawford scored 11. Cole Aldrich, who has been playing very well since he started getting minutes six games ago, had seven points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks; and Pablo Prigioni had five points and four assists.

Coach Doc Rivers was stoked about the bench play post-game at Charlotte. He noted how the reserves stayed in a little longer in the fourth quarter.

“I left them in until five minutes (left in the game), which I don’t do a lot,” he said. “They are just playing with the right spirit. You can just see it. You can just see the ball moving. They are so active defensively.”

This is becoming an upbeat unit, Doc Rivers said.

“I think when your team is confident and your group is confident, everybody becomes confident,” he said. “You can see that in that group.”

 

Clippers shoot rare 50 percent from distance in win at Charlotte

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

When you shoot 50 percent from 3-point range, you’re going to win a lot of games.

The Clippers did just that Wednesday, making 15 of 30 from beyond the arc in their 122-117 victory at Charlotte. J.J. Redick was the biggest weapon, scoring 26 points while making 5 of 6 from long-distance, 8 of 14 overall.

“We had great ball movement and great spacing,” Redick said. “Obviously, without Blake (Griffin), we’re playingsmaller for the whole game pretty much, so we have three or four shooters on the floor at every point in the game. Whether it was penetration or DJ (DeAndre Jordan) rolling or Cole (Aldrich) rolling, we just had the floor wide open and put the defense in tough situations.”

The Clippers (20-13) are 3-0 without Griffin, who is out with a partially torn quad tendon.

 

Austin Rivers very impressive – especially to teammate Chris Paul

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

Austin Rivers had not scored in double figures in over a month when he took the floor for Wednesday night’s game at Charlotte. That was Nov. 27 when he scored 17 points during a 111-90 victory over New Orleans at Staples Center.

Rivers, who has struggled with his shot – especially from distance – came through with 22 points in a 122-117 victory over the Hornets. He shot 7 of 11 overall, 4 of 6 from 3-point range.

Chris Paul was impressed.

“Austin was amazing tonight,” Paul said. “You could sort of see it on his face in the locker room. He was so focused. Our second unit’s energy gave us a chance to rest a lot in the fourth quarter. J.J.(Redick)  was amazing tonight. It was a great team win.”

Redick, the Clippers’ starting shooting guard, scored a team-high 26 points on 8 of 14 from the field, 5 of 6 from beyond the arc.

Even with this performance, Rivers is shooting only 41.7 percent on the season, 24.3 percent from 3-point range. Prior to Wednesday, he was shooting just 20.6 percent from distance.

The Clippers (20-13) have won four consecutive games, the past three without Blake Griffin (partially torn quad tendon).

 

Clippers suffer 113-71 loss to the Hornets in Shanghai, China

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

The Clippers on Wednesday morning finished their week-long trip to China by getting routed 113-71 by the Charlotte Hornets in Shanghai. The Hornets defeated the Clippers 106-94 four days earlier in Shenzhen.

The Clippers are now 1-3 and will finish their exhibition season with games Tuesday and Thursday against Golden State and Portland, respectively, at Staples Center. The Clippers open the regular season Oct. 28 at Sacramento.

The Clippers on Wednesday morning trailed the Hornets by just a 56-51 count at halftime, but the Clippers were outscored 57-20 in the second half. That’s right, the Clippers scored only 20 points in the half – just eight in the third quarter.

Chris Paul, playing with a fractured left index finger, led the Clippers with 17 points and six assists. Blake Griffin scored 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, but he was the only other Clippers player to score in double figures.

The Clippers shot just 35.9 percent from the field, and Paul Pierce was 0 of 5 off the bench. J.J. Redick and Austin Rivers both shot 2 of 7 with DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Johnson both shooting 1 of 5. Josh Smith had nine points, four rebounds and three steals.

The Clippers shot just 17.4 percent (4 of 23) from 3-point range. They were out-rebounded 55-40 and have been out-rebounded in all four exhibition games.

Al Jefferson led Charlotte (4-0) with 17 points, Nicolas Batum had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Jeremy Lin scored 13.

The Hornets shot 56 percent (14 of 25) from 3-point range.

 

 

 

Five things to take from Clippers’ 106-94 loss to Charlotte in China

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin was one rebound short of a triple-double in Saturday night’s loss to Charlotte in Shenzhen, China/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

– This loss isn’t all that bad when one considers the Clippers – now 1-2 in exhibition games – were without point guard Chris Paul and reserve guard Austin Rivers. Paul sustained a fractured left index finger in practice Saturday morning. The Clippers sent out a news release stating they don’t believe Paul will miss much action. Rivers suffered what the Clippers referred to as “mouth trauma” during practice Friday.

– The Clippers were out-rebounded 48-40, meaning they have been out-rebounded in all three exhibition games. In their opener against the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 2 at Staples Center, the Nuggets out-rebounded the Clippers by a whopping 57-39 count, yet the Clippers won the game 103-96.

– With Paul out, Blake Griffin led the team in assists with 10. He also had 13 points and nine rebounds, falling a rebound short of a triple-double.

– Shooting guard J.J. Redick had a real good game, scoring a team-high 23 points on 9 of 16 shooting. He was 4 of 9 from 3-point range.

Lance Stephenson could be a big deal for the Clippers this season. He entered the game having made just 2 of 14 from the field in the first two games. He was 3 of 8 in this one, 1 of 3 from beyond the arc. Not terrific, but an improvement. Stephenson also had seven assists.