Los Angeles Clippers: Danny Granger

Redick to sit out finale in Portland

April, 15, 2014
Apr 15
6:40
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Clippers guard J.J. Redick will start Tuesday against the Denver Nuggets but will be held out for Wednesday's regular-season finale against the Portland Trail Blazers for precautionary reasons.

Redick returned to the lineup nearly two weeks ago after recovering from a bulging disk in his lower back.

"I don't want him playing in a back-to-back," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "I don't think that's wise."

Rivers also said the Clippers hope to have Danny Granger back at practice Thursday or Friday with the hope he might be ready for Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. Granger has been out since March 27 because of strained left hamstring and was ruled out until the start of the playoffs soon after.

The Clippers have not had a completely healthy roster this season and if they make it through the final two games unscathed and get Granger back, their first time may be to start the postseason.

"I think we know who went want to play," Rivers said. "The problem will be how well they all play together because they haven't played together a lot. The playoffs are not the place you want to be trying to find out what's your best group."

Clippers hone in as playoffs, Warriors loom

April, 12, 2014
Apr 12
4:38
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Doc Rivers will tell you he doesn’t look at the standings posted in the Los Angeles Clippers locker room. He’ll joke that they are updated daily by the equipment manager and that his players never talk about it.

But with two games left in the regular season after Saturday’s 117-101 win over the Sacramento Kings, those standings and the start of the playoffs next week are clearly the only things the Clippers are focused on. Their third-place finish in the Western Conference standings is cemented, and their opponent in the first round -- the Golden State Warriors -- is essentially locked in as well.

"We’ve already started," Rivers said when asked when the Clippers will start planning for the Warriors. "We pretty much, in our opinion, felt like that's who we were going to play for the last week or two. But I don't know how much more attention you can pay to a team than you already do anyway. It is nice. You're preparing and I'm sure they're preparing for us. It's not anything with the players. It's more the looks and the film stuff that you can start cutting and getting ready."

A first-round matchup between the Clippers and Warriors would certainly not be void of history and storylines. While both teams are young and trying to change the culture of two historically downtrodden franchises, over the past two seasons, both teams have grown a disdain for each other that is sure to boil over during the course of a seven-game series.

[+] EnlargeGlen Davis
AP Photo/Danny MoloshokDavis' addition has provided needed depth to the Clippers' bench and another physical player to defend the West's elite.
"I don’t know if you guys know this, but Chris [Paul] has a unique ability of getting under people’s skin. I don’t know if you guys know that about him," deadpanned Kings coach Mike Malone, who was an assistant with the Warriors the previous two seasons and coached Paul with the New Orleans Hornets for a season before that. “It’s just a competitive series. My first two years there we were 5-3 against the Clippers, and this year it’s 2-2. Every game is hotly contested.

"You have two power forwards in David [Lee] and Blake [Griffin], and David is trying prove he’s an All-Star, which he is. You have Steph[en] Curry, who is emerging and no longer wants to be under Chris Paul’s shadow. He wants to show people what he can do. The playoffs is where rivalries are made. If they play each other in the first round, it will be a great series, and I’m sure a lot of emotions will be involved."

(Read full post)

Rest not yet an option for Clippers

April, 8, 2014
Apr 8
12:30
PM PT
PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Clippers have just four more games left in the regular season and are only one game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second seed in the West.

It would stand to reason that the result of Wednesday’s game against the Thunder at Staples Center will likely determine how much Clippers coach Doc Rivers will play his starters over the final three games of the season, but he said that wasn’t the case Tuesday.

“We’re getting a lot of rest right now already,” Rivers said. “So I don’t know if we really will have that issue. If someone gets banged up to a point where I think they need the rest, then we’ll do that. But other than that, we’re getting two games off between each game. I think we should put that in for the rest of the year for every team.”

Rivers may look to rest players in the final game of the season if there is nothing to play for with the game being in Portland on the second night of a back-to-back, but he said he would look to rest players based more on feel than anything else.

“I’ll probably do that visually,” Rivers said. “Not having a plan, but if you’re in a game and you think a guy is tired, you’ll just rest them on the spur of the moment.”

Two players who likely won't play before the end of the regular season are Jamal Crawford and Danny Granger. Crawford is out with a sore left Achilles, and Granger is out with a strained left hamstring. Crawford shot before practice Tuesday and said he hopes to be back before the playoffs start while the start of the playoffs would likely be the earliest return for Granger.

“[They’re] not ready,” Rivers said. “They won’t play Wednesday. I don’t see Saturday for either one. If there’s a change, I’ll let you know, but I don’t see them getting healthy enough to play.”

Rapid Reaction: Mavericks 113, Clippers 107

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
10:47
PM PT


PHOENIX -- The Los Angeles Clippers are accustomed to being down double-digits to the Dallas Mavericks late in the fourth quarter.

That was the scenario three times this season before Thursday night’s game, and all three times they came back and won.

But the fourth time would be the charm for the Mavericks, as Dallas finally was able to hold on to its double-digit lead and secure a 113-107 win. In the process, the Mavericks handed the Clippers only their sixth loss at home this season and first since Feb. 18.

How it happened: The Clippers played like a team that had just returned home from a five-game trip and three comeback wins in the past four games: confident they would find a way to rally and win. But you can only play with fire so many times. With the Mavericks up 12 with 2:51 to go, the Clippers went on a 10-0 run over the next 85 seconds. But the comeback was not to be this time.

What it means: The Clippers finally fell short in a comeback attempt and missed out on their first season sweep of Dallas in 20 years. It also hurt the Clippers’ shot of catching the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second seed in the West after OKC halted the 19-game winning streak of the San Antonio Spurs and pushed its lead over L.A.to 2 1/2 games with only five games left.

Hits: Despite dealing with back spasms, Blake Griffin had a triple-double with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Griffin also appeared to twist his ankle in the waning seconds. Griffin said after the game it was a misstep and that he was fine. DeAndre Jordan had 21 points and 15 rebounds. Chris Paul had 17 points and nine assists, and Darren Collison had 22 points. J.J. Redick had 12 points off the bench in his return.

Misses: Outside of Redick’s 12 points off the bench, the Clippers’ second team was a disappointment. With Redick moving up to the starting lineup soon and Jamal Crawford and Danny Granger out until the playoffs, the Clippers will need to find a way to get some more consistent production from the second unit.

Stat of the game: The Clippers hit only 6-of-27 from beyond the arc, while the Mavericks nailed 14-of-29 3-pointers.

Up next: The Clippers have a couple of days off before facing the Los Angeles Lakers in what will be a Clippers home game at Staples Center. The last time these two teams met, the Clippers blew out the Lakers by 48 points. It was the largest margin of victory in Clippers history and the largest margin of defeat for the Lakers.

Rapid Reaction: Clippers 118, Rockets 107

March, 29, 2014
Mar 29
7:54
PM PT
HOUSTON -- When Doc Rivers sat on the scorer’s table before the Los Angeles Clippers played the Houston Rockets on Saturday, he shrugged his shoulders when asked about the Rockets being without Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley.

“We’re missing guys, too,” Rivers said.

Rivers was referring to J.J. Redick and Danny Granger.

But that list would soon include Blake Griffin and Glen Davis before the first half of Saturday’s game.

Griffin left with 5:48 left in the first quarter with back spasms and did not return. Then Davis was sent back to the locker room for disciplinary reasons with 10:21 left in the second quarter.

None of it seemed to faze the Clippers. They came back from 15 points down to beat the Houston Rockets 118-107 and sweep the season series.

How it happened: The Clippers were trailing by 15 points in the second quarter when Rivers made the decision to remove Davis from the game. After he sent him back to the locker room, the Clippers went on a 34-18 run to take a 61-58 lead into the half and never looked back, opening up a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter.

What it means: The Clippers have swept the season series against the Rockets and now hold a two-game lead on them in the standings and also own the tiebreaker. After starting their five-game road trip with a lackluster loss in New Orleans, the Clippers have responded by coming back from double-digit deficits on the road in Dallas and Houston to beat two playoff-caliber teams.

Hits: With Griffin out, Chris Paul was far more aggressive against the Rockets than he has been in a while. He finished with 30 points, 12 assists and five rebounds. DeAndre Jordan had 20 points and 12 rebounds and hit some big free throws down the stretch, when the Rockets sent him to the foul line intentionally. Matt Barnes had 15 points and 10 rebounds, including a late 3-pointer to put the game away.

Misses: On a night when the Clippers lost Griffin and needed Davis, “Big Baby” let the team down with behavior that led to Rivers sending him back to the locker room. He was signed primarily for his championship experience and time with Rivers; neither of those is worth a pouting player sitting in the locker room while you’re trying to mount a comeback on the road.

Stat of the game: The Clippers hit 12-of-41 from beyond the arc. The Clippers are now 31-1 this season when making at least nine 3-pointers.

Up next: The Clippers travel to Minneapolis to play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. The Clippers have defeated Minnesota in their previous three meetings this season and beat the Wolves 120-116 in overtime during their last meeting in Minneapolis on Dec. 22.

Griffin valuable but improved, too

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27
10:20
PM PT
DALLAS -- Doc Rivers is no stranger to going to bat for his players.

The Los Angeles Clippers coach called up his fellow coaches before they submitted their All-Star ballots earlier this season and made the case for DeAndre Jordan to be on the team.

[+] EnlargeGriffin
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsBlake Griffin probably figures to finish, at best, No. 3 in the MVP race, so perhaps the Clippers should focus on supporting him for a different award.
Jordan didn't make it, but that won't stop Rivers from banging the drum for several of his players to be considered for awards as the season winds down.

"I do like our guys receiving stuff that they deserve," Rivers said. "I always speak out for that. I'm not going to go on a publicity tour or go on Leno or Jimmy Fallon, but I think you guys know."

Rivers might not go on the talk-show circuit, but he has been pushing for Jordan to be considered for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award since training camp, has mentioned Jamal Crawford as a sixth man of the year candidate at various times this season and is never shy to say Blake Griffin deserves MVP consideration.

The Clippers, however, might need to refocus their campaign strategy. Like a political strategist looking at incoming polling data, they would be smart to pull out of precincts that are guaranteed to net them nothing.

Instead it might be time to make the case for Griffin winning the Most Improved Player of the Year award.

Obviously it's not as prestigious an award as MVP, but Griffin will be the first to admit he is probably a distant third behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant in that race.

Simply the fact that Griffin is currently the odds-on favorite to finish third in the MVP race should tell you how much he has improved. Griffin wasn't one of the 16 players to show up on MVP ballots last season and wasn't one of the 15 players to appear on MVP ballots the season before.

He wasn't even on the radar of MVP voters before, and now he's legitimately part of the conversation. While that might not be good enough to win the MVP, it should be good enough to validate him as the league's most improved player.

(Read full post)

Rapid Reaction: Clippers 96, Jazz 87

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14
8:51
PM PT
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers has been around the league long enough to know that games toward the end of the season against below-.500 teams are far from locks for teams with championship aspirations.

The combination of a lesser team approaching the contest like a playoff game and a superior team looking ahead to the actual playoffs can be an easy recipe for an upset.

“It’s human nature,” Rivers said.

For the majority of Friday’s game against the Utah Jazz, it looked as if the Clippers would fall victim to human nature and an upset. But they woke up late in the third quarter to record their season-high and current league-leading 10th straight game, defeating the Jazz 96-87.

How it happened: The Jazz jumped out to a 13-point lead in the first quarter and led by double digits for most of the first half. It wasn’t until the end of the third quarter that the Clippers finally made their move and took their first lead of the game. The Clippers closed out the quarter on a 17-2 run and took a five-point lead into the final period. The Clippers went up by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter and held on.

What it means: The Clippers have won a season-high 10 straight games, the longest active winning streak in the league. They also took a five-game lead over the Golden State Warriors in the Pacific Division. The Clippers also hold a two-game lead, which is really three with the tiebreaker, over the Houston Rockets for the third seed. The Clippers are just three games back of the top seed in the West and two games back of the No. 2 seed.

Hits: Blake Griffin had 20 points and has now scored at least 20 points in a franchise-record 25 straight games, which is the second longest streak in the NBA this season. Chris Paul had 18 points and seven assists and played through a sprained left ankle that he suffered in the second half. Matt Barnes had 15 points and Darren Collison added 14 points.

Misses: After his best game as a Clipper on Wednesday, Danny Granger had his worst on Friday, finishing without scoring on 0-for-4 shooting in 17 minutes off the bench.

Stat of the game: The Clippers had 31 fast-break points -- compared to 10 for the Jazz -- and outscored the Jazz 53-36 in the second half.

Up next: The Clippers will get Saturday off before playing the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday at Staples Center. The Cavaliers are just 25-40 this season. But one of their biggest wins came earlier this season when they beat the Clippers 88-82 in Ohio. Sunday will be the second and final meeting of the season between the teams as the Clippers try to win their 11th straight.

Rapid Reaction: Clippers 111, Warriors 98

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12
10:16
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- Blake Griffin has reached plenty of milestones during his first four seasons in the NBA.

He reached another one on Wednesday as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Golden State Warriors, 111-98. Griffin joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Charles Barkley as the only players to have accumulated 6,000 points, 3,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists while shooting at least 50 percent from the field.

"Wow, that's impressive," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "I played against Kareem and Charles, and they are completely different. If three guys could be more different those three ... there is not anything that is similar about any of them. Which is amazing and it's another lesson that you can get things and do things similar in different ways."

Griffin had 30 points and 15 rebounds on the night, his franchise-best 24th straight game scoring at least 20 points. On the season, he is averaging a career-best 24.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game.

"It just tells you how great Blake is," Rivers said. "He's awful young to be reaching milestones."

How it happened: The Warriors controlled the game from the end of the second quarter to the end of the third quarter before the Clippers finally reclaimed the lead after a 15-3 run to end the third quarter. A couple of big put-back dunks by Griffin and DeAndre Jordan helped the Clippers control the momentum and the lead in the fourth quarter as the Clippers were able to hold on for the win.

What it means: The Clippers have won a season-high nine straight games, the longest active winning streak in the league. They also took a five-game lead over the Warriors in the Pacific Division and tied the season series at two games apiece. The win also increases their lead over the Houston Rockets for the third seed by a full game and gives them a 3½ game lead over the Portland Trail Blazers. The Clippers are only three games behind the top seed in the West and two games behind the No. 2 seed.

Hits: Aside from Griffin's performance, Chris Paul had 16 points and 12 assists, and Danny Granger came off the bench to score 18 points with six rebounds. Granger made his first six shots from the field. Willie Green also had 13 points off the bench.

Misses: Not many misses on the night although the Clippers would like to get Glen "Big Baby" Davis more involved heading into the playoffs. He had only two points on 1-of-3 shooting in 14 minutes off the bench.

Stat of the game: The Clippers had 19 second-chance points compared to only three for the Warriors. L.A. also had 21 fast-break points compared to only 15 for Golden State.

Up next: The Clippers are off Thursday before traveling to Salt Lake City to play the Utah Jazz. The Clippers won their first two games against the Jazz and their most recent encounter, 102-87, in Los Angeles.

Rapid Reaction: Clippers 112, Suns 105

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10
11:12
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- Blake Griffin will not win the NBA MVP award.

This is not a revelation, of course. The odds of him even finishing second probably are not worthy of getting on the boards in Las Vegas.

But if he finishes the season the way he has played up until this point -- and if the Clippers make a push for the top seed in the West -- there’s no reason he shouldn’t finish third in the race behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

On Monday night, Griffin scored 37 points -- 22 in the first quarter -- as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Phoenix Suns 112-105. It was the 23rd straight game in which Griffin scored at least 20 points, the most in franchise history. Last month he earned his first player of the month honors for being one of only two players in the league to average at least 30 points and 10 rebounds per game in February.

“He’s just doing a lot of stuff; I wish you could see him,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “He works out so much. Long before practices start. He works on that bank shot over and over again. He got it going again tonight, which is a great sign. I like that he’s using it.”

That Griffin is part of the MVP conversation this season shows how much he has improved his game, especially in the absence of Chris Paul for 20 games, when the Clippers went 14-6 without their All-Star point guard.

Griffin’s first 35 points Monday came after going 14-of-15 from the field and hitting his first six free throw attempts.

His night ended early, however, as he fouled out in the fourth quarter after he got involved in a tussle with Suns forward P.J. Tucker, who was ejected for punching Griffin.

“Blake gets hit as much as anyone in the league,” Rivers said. “We have all seen it. It’s gets old. It really does. I think he’s doing the right thing. He puts his arms up, because if he reacts the way some people think he should, then he gets thrown out and suspended and it hurts the team. I know it’s very difficult for him, but he’s doing the right thing for the team.”

It’s not the first time Griffin has been involved in a skirmish after getting under the skin of an opponent. It also likely won’t be the last for Griffin, who is averaging a career-high 24.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game and is shooting about 70 percent from the free throw line this season.

“He just works on his game and he’s getting the payment,” Rivers said. “He’s putting in the deposits and now he’s getting some cash back.”

How it happened: The Clippers were in control of this game through three quarters. They led by 11 in the first quarter, 20 in the second quarter and 25 in the third quarter -- before things began to unravel in the fourth quarter. The Suns got to within four points toward the end of the game with Griffin out. However, for the second game in a row, the Clippers were able to hold on for a win that should not have been as dramatic.

What it means: The win gives the Clippers a 4 1/2-game cushion atop the Pacific Division and essentially ties them with the Houston Rockets for the third seed. They are 2 1/2 games back of the top seed in the Western Conference.

Hits: With his 37 points, Griffin now has scored at least 20 points in 23 straight games. Paul had 17 points and 11 assists. Darren Collison added 20 points, while DeAndre Jordan had eight points and 17 rebounds.

Misses: The Clippers got a spark off the bench from Danny Granger, who scored 14 points and connected on two 3-pointers. But that was about it from the second unit. Glen Davis had only two points, and Hedo Turkoglu scored one.

Stat of the game: Griffin scored 22 points in the first quarter. It was one point shy of the team record for points in a quarter by a player. Baron Davis had 23 in 2010, and Randy Smith had 23 in 1973.

Up next: The Clippers will get Tuesday off before playing the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday in L.A. There are a few teams the Clippers don’t particularly care for but none more so than the Warriors, who they might see in the first round of the playoffs. The home team has won every game in the series this season, with the Warriors winning the past two in Oakland.

Rapid Reaction: Clippers 109, Hawks 108

March, 8, 2014
Mar 8
10:18
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- The faces in the Los Angeles Clippers' locker room have changed a lot since the last time the team played and lost to the Atlanta Hawks back in December.

Back then, the Clippers didn't have Danny Granger, Glen "Big Baby" Davis and Hedo Turkoglu -- three players L.A. is counting on to breathe new life into its second unit not only at the end of the regular season, but in the playoffs as well.

On Saturday, the Clippers didn't necessarily need their second unit to have a big night as every starter scored at least 12 points and the Clippers defeated the Hawks, 109-108, to win their seventh straight game and inch closer to home-court advantage in the first round.

But that trio and the second unit did help the Clippers take a 11-point lead in the fourth quarter that should have helped made the victory far less dramatic at the end.

"That stretch in the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter with Danny, Willie Green and Hedo," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "That group, they stretched the lead and they got it to 11 and that was big for us."

How it happened: The Clippers had a hard time breaking away from the Hawks on Saturday. Atlanta led for most of the first half and at the break. The Hawks grabbed a four-point lead in the third quarter before the Clippers took control and didn't look back until the end of the game, when Atlanta nearly tied it at the end of regulation before Jeff Teague missed a free throw that essentially gave the Clippers the one-point win.

What it means: The Clippers have now won seven straight games and are virtually tied with the Houston Rockets for the third seed in the Western Conference. With the Clippers holding a 26-5 record at home, the best in the West, home court in as many rounds as possible come playoff time will be crucial.

Hits: Blake Griffin had 27 points, eight rebounds and five assists and now has scored at least 20 points in 22 straight games. Chris Paul had 19 points and 10 assists, his 32nd double-double of the season, and DeAndre Jordan had 13 points and 12 rebounds, his 33rd double-double of the season. Matt Barnes scored 17 points and Darren Collison had 12.

Misses: Jamal Crawford was expected back from a strained left calf, but he played less than 10 minutes in the first half and didn't play in the second. He missed both of his shots and finished with three points. Crawford is listed as day-to-day.

Stat of the game: The Clippers scored 60 points in the paint compared to 40 for the Hawks in a physical game during which the officials let the bigs go at it for most of the game.

Up next: The Clippers will take Sunday off before playing the Phoenix Suns on Monday. The Clippers and Suns have split their first two games this season with both teams winning on the other's home court. The Clippers came from behind to beat the Suns, 104-96, on Tuesday. The last time the Suns played the Clippers in L.A. they beat them 107-88.

Rapid Reaction: Clippers 104, Suns 96

March, 4, 2014
Mar 4
9:04
PM PT


The biggest difference between the last time the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns faced off in late December and their matchup Tuesday night was Blake Griffin's offensive evolution.

It was on display from the opening tip, when Griffin contributed to four of the Clippers' first five scoring possessions by either scoring or facilitating in the open court. It was also featured late, when the Clippers fed him on the block and he faced up and banked in a clutch jumper to help secure a 104-96 win over a scrappy Suns squad.

Arguably the second-biggest difference, however, was the promotion of Matt Barnes into the starting lineup.

Barnes, who has scored in double figures in nine of his past 12 games, was the key difference-maker, scoring a season-high 28 points (12-of-17 shooting, 4-of-7 on 3-pointers) and, more important, helping a disjointed Clippers offense tread water through the first three quarters.

"We just need to pick each other up," Barnes told Fox Sports Prime Ticket after the game. "It's not going to be Blake and Chris [Paul] every night. We've got a lot of weapons. ... We've just got to keep moving the ball and find what works for us."

What worked was a starters-heavy attack, as the entire starting lineup scored in double figures and played 37-plus minutes. The Clippers (42-20) had been mentioning for days that they sought payback against the Suns (35-25) for an embarrassing 107-88 loss at Staples Center on Dec. 30, and that's exactly what they got Tuesday.

How it happened: Los Angeles jumped out to a 22-14 lead with two minutes left in the first quarter, but it didn't last. Phoenix amped up its perimeter defense -- the Suns forced nine turnovers, including four from Paul -- and found its offensive touch to take a 55-44 lead into intermission.

But Barnes and Griffin combined to score 30 of the Clippers' 37 third-quarter points, and L.A. quickly built a 15-point lead in the beginning of the fourth. The Suns made a late run and cut the deficit to three, but the Clippers' defense and Griffin's jumper sealed the game.

What it means: With Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Houston and Golden State all winning Tuesday, the Clippers badly needed a win to keep pace with the rest of the West. The rest of their week is less intense -- they play the Los Angeles Lakers as the road team Thursday and the Atlanta Hawks at home on Saturday -- but just as important.

Hits: Griffin had 22 points (9-of-18 shooting), five rebounds and six assists. Darren Collison chipped in with 18 points (6-of-10 shooting), five assists and three steals. DeAndre Jordan had 10 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.

The Clippers held the Suns to 42.5 percent shooting in the second half.

L.A. shot 8-of-20 from beyond the arc.

Misses: Paul had five turnovers, which partially negated his 14 points and nine assists.

The Suns' bench outscored the Clippers' bench 37-12.

Among the newcomers, Danny Granger was missed his only shot in four minutes, and Glen Davis had nearly a foul every two minutes (four fouls in nine minutes).

Stat of the game: After turning the ball over 10 times in the first half, the Clippers had only five second-half turnovers.

Up next: The Clippers get a day off before facing the Lakers (21-39) on Thursday. Last time the two L.A. teams met, the Clippers obliterated their purple-and-gold rivals 123-87, the largest margin of victory in Clippers history.

Granger should help bolster thin front line

March, 2, 2014
Mar 2
12:06
AM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Danny Granger was ready to make his debut for the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night until ... well, he wasn’t.

He had signed his contract Friday afternoon, went through the team’s shootaround Saturday morning and was in uniform and on the court later that night.

That was when he was told he had to go back into the locker room and change out of his uniform.

[+] EnlargeDanny Granger
AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillThe Clippers expect new forward Danny Granger to more than make up what he missed during his false start Saturday.

Despite being one of the 12 healthy and presumably active players on the Clippers’ roster, Granger was in fact ruled inactive before the game because his name was simply written onto the team’s roster and not circled. All active players on a team’s roster must be circled by the mandatory deadline of 6:30 p.m. local time.

The list, as is the case with many teams, was written out by a member of the public relations department and handed to Doc Rivers to sign.

When referee Bill Spooner spotted Granger in uniform on the court warming up, that’s when he informed the Clippers that Granger’s name was not circled on the active list and, therefore, he was not allowed to play in the game.

“The Granger thing was on me,” Rivers said. “My job is to the check it, so I’m going to have to pay a silly fine; our team instituted a silly fine, so they’re going to fine me. I don’t know what the amount will be, probably dinner. Fortunately, we didn’t need him tonight.”

The Clippers certainly didn’t need the services of their newest player on Saturday night, as they trounced the New Orleans Pelicans 108-76 and rested the starters in the fourth quarter.

It was the second time a Clippers new addition was forced to watch his first game with the team from the locker room instead of with his new teammates:

After Glen “Big Baby” Davis signed with the Clippers last week and was expected to make his debut against the Pelicans in New Orleans, he was told to sit out pending his taking a physical back in Los Angeles.

Regardless of their delayed debuts with the Clippers, the additions of Granger and Davis upgrades what had been a thin front line on the Clippers and gives the team two players that will also bolster a struggling second unit as it enters the stretch run of the regular season toward the playoffs.

Rivers hopes Granger, who was an All-Star in 2009, can at some point this season work his way into being the team’s starting small forward to allow Matt Barnes to go back to his more natural role of coming off the bench. Barnes was thrust into the starting lineup after the consistent struggles of Jared Dudley, who is experiencing the worst shooting season of his career.

“He hasn’t played a lot over the last couple of years, but I thought before the trade he was starting to round into shape and starting to make shots,” Rivers said of Granger. “What I see in him is length. He’s a long small forward who has the ability to add a different dimension to us. The way I look at it is we can have a post game at the 3 spot as well now, which would be nice for us. If gives us another dimension.

"He can stretch the floor, and he comes from a defensive organization that runs a lot of the stuff that we run, so I thought defensively he would be the easier fit of the guys that were out there. He’s still coming back from the injury, so he still needs more time and minutes, and we’re trying to do that.”

Granger was being pursued heavily by the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs, the two teams that met in the 2013 NBA Finals and that have won a combined six titles since 1999. Ultimately, he selected the Clippers as the best fit for himself and his pursuit of winning his first title.

“I’ve always liked the style that Doc coaches,” Granger said. “I just think this is the team I can have the biggest impact on. They had a role that I could fill.

“The style of offense that they play is appealing, and I’m familiar with it. They run you to death and put up a lot of shots and alley-oops. It’s an exciting way to play, and that’s always intriguing, especially for an offensive player like myself.”

That Granger, like Davis, would spurn similar offers from established championship contenders to sign with the Clippers is another example of how far the franchise has come over the past three seasons -- with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Rivers giving the team a greater level of respect.

“The culture has changed tremendously,” Granger said. “When I train here in the offseason, a lot of us come to the Clippers facility, and it’s one of the newer facilities in the NBA and its state of the art. The culture has really changed. Bringing Doc here and C.P. and the best power forward in the game with Blake, it’s a winning culture now.”

Before the game, Granger was going over different aspects of the team and playbook with Darren Collison, who he played with Granger from 2010 to 2012 at Indiana.

“He can shoot the ball extremely well,” Collison said of Granger. “He’s one of the better scorers in the league when he’s playing a lot of minutes.

“Everything that he brings to the table is something that we need.”

Granger’s addition comes at a good time for the Clippers, who are going to be without J.J. Redick for the foreseeable future with a bulging disk in his lower back and Jamal Crawford for about a week with a strained left calf.

Despite playing in just 34 games since the 2011-12 season after knee surgery, Granger said he’s healthy and won’t be asked to carry a heavy load on the team.

“He’s a weapon offensively. He can score the ball several different ways, so that just gives us another guy and body we need; somebody that can defend and do all those things for us,” Griffin said. “The great thing is I don’t think we’re going to have to ask him to do too much too soon. Hopefully, he can kind of work his way into it and hit his stride by the time playoffs come.”

The Clippers look to be hitting that stride now as a team after winning four straight games, taking a four-game lead atop the Pacific Division and being just a game out of the third seed in the Western Conference. The addition of Granger, who will now make his debut Tuesday in Phoenix, will only benefit a team that looks to be getting stronger as they make their playoff push.

“I think Danny brings an edge, a confidence, and one thing about our league is you have to earn respect, and Danny has done that,” Paul said. “So with him on the court every night, I don’t care what his percentage is or what’s happened in the game; he is respected, and we were hoping he was going to get on the court with us tonight, but soon enough.

“I really like the way our team looks right now.”

Rapid Reaction: Clippers 108, Pelicans 76

March, 1, 2014
Mar 1
10:11
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- Five days after the Los Angeles Clippers played the New Orleans Pelicans in the Crescent City, the result wasn’t much different in their return engagement at Staples Center.

The Clippers beat the Pelicans 108-76 to claim their fourth straight victory and remain within a game of the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.

How it happened: The Clippers took a 25-8 lead in the first quarter and never really looked back. They were ahead by as many 35 points. The Pelicans never led and never cut the Clippers' lead to lower than double digits after the midway point of the first quarter.

What it means: The Clippers have won four straight after dropping the first two games after the All-Star break and are a game out of the No. 3 seed and just 2½ games out of the No. 2 seed. The Clippers also hold a four-game lead atop the Pacific Division.

Hits: It was another big game for Blake Griffin, who had 20 points and five rebounds, extending his streak to 19 straight games of scoring at least 20 points. Chris Paul had 21 points and eight assists, while DeAndre Jordan had seven points and 12 rebounds.

Misses: The Clippers got contributions from everyone on the bench, but Jared Dudley continues to struggle this season. He hit only one of his five attempts and missed all three of his 3-point attempts. It was another example of why he is now on the bench and why the Clippers felt the need to upgrade the small forward position with the addition of Danny Granger, who was not active on Saturday because his name was inadvertently not circled on the active list.

Stat of the game: The Clippers hit their magic number of nine from long distance on Saturday. The Clippers are now 26-0 when they make at least nine 3-pointers.

Up next: The Clippers have a couple of days off before going on the road Tuesday to play the Phoenix Suns. The Clippers lost their first game against Phoenix 107-88 on Dec. 30. This will be a big game in the Pacific Division, as Phoenix is just five games behind the Clippers and could possibly play them in the first round of the playoffs.

Clippers winning after the trade deadline

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
2:53
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- The NBA trade deadline came and went without much action from the Clippers last week. The only real drama occurred on the team charter in the hours leading up to the deadline as players reloaded the Twitter on their phones while the flight was delayed due to weather conditions.

The delay allowed enough time for the Clippers to unload Antawn Jamison and Byron Mullens off the plan and off the roster and about a week later, their spots on the team and on the plane have been taken by Glen “Big Baby” Davis and Danny Granger.

There wasn’t much fanfare involved when the Clippers traded Jamison to the Atlanta Hawks for the draft rights to Cenk Akyol or Mullens to the Philadelphia 76ers for a conditional second round draft pick but those deals represented so much more.

In essence, the Clippers traded Jamison and Mullen for Davis and Granger without taking on any added salary. If grading the trade deadline were extended eight days, the Clippers would be big winners.

They had come close to trading Matt Barnes and Darren Collison to the New York Knicks for Iman Shumpert and Raymond Felton at the deadline but pulled back when Shumpert suffered a sprained MCL just before the deadline. Shumpert is out indefinitely. Days later, Felton was charged with two counts of criminal weapon possession in New York.

The Clippers haven’t always been blessed with good fortune around trades, but things have broken their way of late. They were, of course, the beneficiary of Chris Paul's vetoed trade to the Lakers in 2011, and also have benefited from the league disallowing a trade of DeAndre Jordan to the Boston Celtics for Kevin Garnett as a side deal to acquiring Doc Rivers as their head coach.

While Garnett, 37, is averaging a career-worst 6.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in 21 minutes per night, Jordan, 25, is having a career year, leading the league in field goal percentage (.669) and rebounds (14.0), is fourth in blocks (2.43) and is averaging a career-best 10.2 points per game.

Jamison and Mullens were nonfactors when they were traded but the Clippers are hoping that Davis and Granger can fill two major holes on this team.

The biggest weakness for the Clippers heading into the deadline was depth in the frontcourt. The combination of Mullens, Jamison and Ryan Hollins averaged a combined 8.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in 25.9 minutes per game. By contrast, Davis alone averaged 12.1 points, 6.3 rebounds in 30.1 minutes per game with Orlando.

Davis was also shooting 45.3 percent from the field and is a solid mid-range option, which was non-existent from the frontcourt players on the bench before. He also gives the Clippers a player with championship experience (he’s the only player on the roster with a ring) and someone who thrives under pressure (he averaged 19 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in the playoffs two years ago).

The Clippers were also hoping to upgrade at their small forward position and did just that with Granger, who is an upgrade offensively and defensively to Barnes and Jared Dudley and could actually become the starter this season.

Granger has been in just 34 games since 2011-2012 after knee surgery but says he is healthy this season and is averaging 8.3 points and 3.6 rebounds in 29 games so far. The Clippers don’t necessarily need him to be the All-Star he was in 2009 when he was averaging 25.8 points per game. They just need him to help spread the floor by hitting the long ball when he’s open (he is a career 38.2 percent shooter from the arc) and be a pest defensively. His signing also comes at an opportune time with Jamal Crawford sidelined a couple of games with a strained left calf and J.J. Redick sidelined indefinitely with a bulging disk in his lower back.

The addition of Granger and Davis might not vault the Clippers into championship favorite status but both players will certainly be a bigger factor down the stretch of the regular season and in the playoffs than Mullens or Jamison were. The Clippers might still be one piece away from being a championship team but they’re closer one week after the trade deadline than they were before.

Drawing power an asset for Clippers

February, 27, 2014
Feb 27
12:16
AM PT
LOS ANGELES -- As Glen "Big Baby" Davis addressed the media from one end of the Los Angeles Clippers' locker room on Wednesday night, there was an empty locker straight across from him that did not go unnoticed by a few players who walked past it.

If things go according to plan for the Clippers, that locker won't be empty for long.

[+] EnlargeLos Angeles Clippers
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty ImagesThe Clippers seem to have turned into a team where veteran free agents want to come as they pursue an NBA title.
Earlier in the day, Danny Granger and the Philadelphia 76ers completed a contract buyout, making the former All-Star swingman a free agent once he clears waivers at 5 p.m. ET on Friday.

While the Clippers and San Antonio Spurs seem to be in the lead among those vying for his services, there's a strong sense Granger will ultimately choose the Clippers and could even be in uniform for Saturday's game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

It was a feeling that existed before Jamal Crawford was sidelined because of a left calf strain that will be reevaluated Thursday or before J.J. Redick's timetable to return from a bulging disk in his lower back turned from "weeks" to "we'll see."

Granger's representatives were on hand Wednesday night to watch the Clippers beat the Houston Rockets 101-93 at Staples Center and met with Clippers officials during and after the game.

"Of course!" Clippers coach Doc Rivers said when asked if he wanted to sign Granger. "A guy with that talent you want to look at. I don't think it will be up to us. I think it will be up to Danny. I think there will be a lot of teams going after him, and there should be. ... We're going to have our day hopefully to talk."

If Granger does pick the Clippers, he will do so by choosing them over the Spurs and Miami Heat, who are also pursuing Granger. Several other teams, including the Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls also have expressed interest in him.

(Read full post)

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Blake Griffin
PTS AST STL MIN
23.2 4.2 0.7 35.0
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Jordan 13.1
AssistsC. Paul 9.9
StealsC. Paul 1.9
BlocksD. Jordan 2.4