Los Angeles Clippers: Mike Brown

Vinny Del Negro defends Blake Griffin's play

January, 16, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said he was aware that Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown planned to ask the league to examine the tape of Clippers forward Blake Griffin pushing Lakers guard Darrius Morris while Morris went up for a dunk late in the first quarter of their game Saturday night.

“The whistle had already blown,” Del Negro said. “There was no intent for anyone to hurt anybody there. We’re going to protect our basket and when the whistle blows you’re supposed to stop playing. I didn’t think there was anything malicious there. I thought there were some other things in the game that have to be looked at as well.”

Del Negro said he had no plans to notify the league of those “other things” and had yet to hear from the league about Griffin’s play. The Lakers were called for four individual technical fouls in the game while the Clippers were called for one.

“I think it’s just an intense game and it’s going to be physical,” Del Negro said. “You just don’t want anything that’s malicious. No one wants to see anybody get injured but you want your guys to playing hard and playing the right way.”

Postgame thoughts: 1/14 win over Lakers

January, 15, 2012
Here are a few items of note from Saturday's 102-94 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center:

Paul at his best

The last time Chris Paul scored more than 33 points in a game, the number he put up Saturday against the Lakers?

Jan. 27, 2010. The Los Angeles Clippers guard was at his best against his new rival, scoring the 33 on 12-for-22 shooting from the field and six assists. He had to exit the game with four minutes left because of a hamstring strain, but his performance was enough to lead the Clippers to the victory anyway.

"Chris Paul, a heck of a game," Lakers coach Mike Brown said afterward.

A heck of a game indeed. Paul turned the ball over just once and produced three steals. He was perfect from the free-throw line (6-for-6) and 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant incessantly praised him after the game.

"The game just gets easier with Chris Paul," Bryant said before comparing himself to Paul. "He's a dog. He's going to fight to win, and not too many teams can deal with him.

"Chris Paul is really the only other guy in the league, other than Derrick Rose, who also has that competitive edge."

The glass

One would think that a matchup between the NBA's best and worst rebounding teams would create clear-cut margin on the glass in the former's favor, but that wasn't the case.

And the Clippers didn't just hang tough with the Lakers -- they actually out-rebounded them, 50-42. It was only the second time this season the Clippers out-rebounded an opponent and the Lakers were out-rebounded.

Credit a lot of that to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. The two Clipper bigs' were active in the paint throughout Saturday's contest and recorded a combined 24 rebounds -- the most they've totaled together in any game this season. And reserve forward Reggie Evans had a rebound every other minute he was on the floor for an efficient eight boards.

"There's not a lot of teams that should out-rebound us, with the way D.J. can get up and how good of a rebounder Reggie Evans is," Griffin said Saturday. "That's been a point for us: Rebound better."

The Clippers' 17 offensive rebounds produced 25 second-chance points. Compare that to the Lakers' 12 such points and the importance of the improvement is clear.

"Their rebounding was sensational," Bryant said. "They just did a great job on the glass."

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Brown: Clippers are a playoff team

January, 14, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The Staples Center could be awfully busy come late April when the NBA regular season ends and the postseason begins.

Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown expects the Los Angeles Clippers to still be playing at that point.

“They should be [in the postseason],” Brown said before the Clippers hosted the Lakers on Saturday. “They’re more than talented to be a playoff team when you talk about Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, Mo Williams, Caron Butler, DeAndre Jordan … That’s a pretty good team right there. So, they should be in the playoffs.”

The Clippers haven’t qualified for the postseason since the 2005-06 season and have made the playoffs just four times total since relocating from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1984.

Coming into Saturday, the Lakers had the second-best record in the Western Conference at 9-4, while the Clippers had the fifth-best at 5-3, including an impressive overtime win against the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

The Clippers beat the Lakers in both of the preseason meetings between the two teams by an average of 12 points per game. The Lakers had 44 turnovers in the two games combined.

The preseason performances gave Brown cause for concern heading into the first of three regular season games the teams will play.

“There’s a lot that concerns me, but the pick-and-roll game, the skill game, the transition game is probably the biggest thing,” Brown said. “Chris Paul is one of the best pick-and-roll players in the business. He gets in the middle of your defense and makes the game easy for everybody else.”

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Blake Griffin
23.1 3.5 0.5 35.1
ReboundsD. Jordan 12.2
AssistsC. Paul 9.9
StealsC. Paul 2.1
BlocksD. Jordan 2.5