Los Angeles Clippers: DeMarcus Cousins

Rapid Reaction: Clippers 103, Kings 102

November, 23, 2013
11/23/13
3:47
PM PT


LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers have notoriously struggled with early-afternoon games against inferior opponents at Staples Center the past couple of seasons.

With that in mind, coach Doc Rivers warned that he felt the Clippers would be at a disadvantage heading into Saturday’s 12:30 p.m. tilt with the Sacramento Kings.

“I always actually thought that visiting teams had the advantage in afternoon games because it takes the home team out of their norm,” Rivers said prior to the game. “The visiting team is already out of their norm -- they’re on the road. So I’ve always felt that way.”

After blowing a 20-point first-half lead, the Clippers found themselves with their backs against the wall.

They had no discernible answer for DeMarcus Cousins' dominant post play (23 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists) and Isaiah Thomas' crafty penetration out of pick-and-rolls (22 points, five assists) throughout the second half, and their once-scorching shooting had considerably cooled off.

Enter Chris Paul, the closer.

Paul scored six points in the final 1:29 -- including the game-clinching free throw with two seconds left -- to erase the Kings’ three-point lead. Sacramento had one last chance to win the game, but Cousins’ contested 16-foot jumper fell short and the Clippers prevailed 103-102.

How it happened: L.A. raced out to a 16-point lead in the first quarter and led by as many as 20 points in the first half before the Kings rallied midway through the second quarter to cut the deficit to nine at halftime. The Cousins-led comeback continued in the second half -- with the Kings actually taking a five-point lead -- but Paul’s clutch performance saved the Clippers for the second time in three games.

What it means: The Clippers’ search for a consistent 48 minutes continues. They once again played down to the level of their competition and were lackadaisical and incoherent defensively in the second half. On a positive note, Rivers spoke before the game about the Clippers' needing to be able to get stops at crucial junctures of close games, and their defense delivered Saturday by clamping down on the Kings in the final two minutes.

Hits: Paul fell one assist shy of continuing his double-double streak, but he had 22 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

While Blake Griffin's shot wasn’t falling (3-of-10 from the floor), he still found a way to be effective, going 9-of-13 from the free throw line, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out four assists.

The Clippers were 11-of-25 from beyond the arc (44 percent).

Misses: Cousins dominated DeAndre Jordan and the rest of the Clippers' big men inside, as he has done the past few times the teams have met. Griffin had more turnovers (six) than field goals (three).

Stat of the game: For the second straight outing, the Clippers were dominated in points in the paint, 46-30.

Up next: The Clippers host the Chicago Bulls (6-5) on Sunday afternoon. The Bulls will be without superstar point guard Derrick Rose, who suffered a medial meniscus tear in his right knee against the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night and will need surgery.

Griffin rubbing many the wrong way

April, 8, 2012
4/08/12
12:00
AM PT

LOS ANGELES -- It should come as no surprise Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin is starting to feel the backlash this season of the fame and notoriety he enjoyed last season.

The only thing we like better than the story of a breakout player is the subsequent story of said player’s downfall. In the case of Griffin, it’s not so much a story of his downfall but how one of the most popular players in the league last season has turned into arguably the most polarizing one this season, at least amongst many of his peers around the league.

“I’ve heard that,” Griffin said with a smile after the Clippers beat the Sacramento Kings 109-94 on Saturday. “It’s not something I embrace or try to do. It just kind of happens. I’ve seemed to have had a good week as far as that goes.”

Griffin’s week included dunking on Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol so harshly on multiple occasions Wednesday night that the Lakers asked the NBA to review the plays. The league eventually decided Griffin’s third quarter shove from behind on Gasol deserved to be a flagrant-one foul.

“I don’t know about that one,” Griffin said about the league's upgraded foul. “I don’t know about that one. I felt it was kind of a nudge and then some extra after that. I just kind of sold it but if you send it in that many times and say enough about it I guess it forced their hands to do something.”

His week continued on Thursday night when he was called an “actor” by Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins after the two got into a shoving match and nearly traded blows.

“I first heard about it from my acting coach, he sent me an e-mail,” Griffin joked after Saturday’s game, responding to Cousins' comments for the first time. “He was obviously thrilled. It was a compliment. I guess he’s seen some commercials and stuff and I appreciate it.”

(Read full post)

What to watch: Clippers-Kings

April, 6, 2012
4/06/12
6:16
PM PT
Clippers (33-22) vs. Sacramento Kings (19-36) at Staples Center, 7:30 p.m. PT

Five storylines to track:

1. Hollywood Griffin: The main storyline in this game is pretty easy. All eyes will be focused on Blake Griffin and DeMarcus Cousins after the two shoved each other, and nearly came to blows in the Clippers' 93-85 win over the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night. After the game, when Griffin refused to discuss the incident, Cousins said, “Of course that's what Blake is going to say because he's in L.A., where actors belong. He's an actor, so of course he would say that." When Cousins was asked about his fifth foul on Griffin with more than a minute left in the game, he said, “I guess the wind from my hand hit him in the eye and I guess he got fouled by the wind. I'm not sure.” Needless to say there may be some unfinished business between the two 48 hours later.

2. Foye on fire: Clippers guard Randy Foye has gone from being viewed as the weak link in the starting lineup, to one of the group’s most consistent performers. He continued his strong run of late in Sacramento on Thursday, scoring a game-high 20 points (7-of-17 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free-throw line). Foye has now led the team in scoring in two of the last three games, and is the Clippers second leading scorer behind Griffin in the last six games. In the last six games, Foye is averaging 17.5 points while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from beyond the arc.

3. Butler doing it: Foye isn’t the only starter who has picked up his production over the last six games. Over the same stretch, Caron Butler is averaging 14.8 points and 2.0 rebounds while shooting 52.3 percent from field. In the last two games, Butler is shooting 51.7 percent (15-of-29) from the field and 50.0 percent (6-of-12) from three-point range. Butler scored a season-high 28 points on Wednesday against the Lakers, going 9-of-18 from the field, 4-of-8 from beyond the arc and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line while grabbing 4 rebounds in 34 minutes. It was the most points for Butler since he had 30 on Dec. 30, 2010 when the Dallas Mavericks. It was the first time this season Butler has had over 25 points for the Clippers.

4. Blake trending down: Griffin had 14 points (7-of-11 from the field and 0-for-4 from the free-throw line) and nine rebounds on Thursday against Sacramento. It was the third straight game Griffin has scored under 16 points. It is the longest streak of his career that Griffin has not scored 16 or more points. Griffin, however, is still the only player this season in the NBA averaging over 20.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Griffin is also shooting 53.8 percent from the floor. In the last 22 years since the 1990-91 season, only four different players have finished a season averaging at least 21 points, 11 rebounds, three assists while shooting over 51 percent from the field. Griffin would be the youngest player to reach those numbers at 23.

5. CP3 to the rescue: In five of his last seven games, Chris Paul has had as many as 10 assists with two or fewer turnovers. No player has had more games with such totals this season. Paul has helped the Clippers rank third in the NBA with 13.36 turnovers per game and are on pace to set the record for the lowest turnover average in franchise history. The lowest turnover average in franchise history was set by the 2007-08 Clippers, who averaged 14.3 turnovers per game. Last season, the Clippers finished the season averaging 16.3 turnovers. Paul has also been a closer for the Clippers this season. In the last five minutes of games with the Clippers within 5 points, Paul is third in the NBA with 119 points.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Blake Griffin
PTS AST STL MIN
22.5 5.1 0.9 35.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Jordan 14.5
AssistsC. Paul 10.1
StealsC. Paul 1.8
BlocksD. Jordan 2.3