Tag:Los Angeles Clippers
Posted on: January 15, 2012 1:10 am
Edited on: January 15, 2012 1:15 am
Posted by Ben Golliver
Los Angeles Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul suffered a strained left hamstring during the fourth quarter of a Saturday night game against the Los Angels Lakers.
Paul suffered the injury after hitting a pull-up jumper with a little more than 4 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The jumper gave the Clippers a 95-82 lead but Paul immediately limped off the court. The Clippers broadcast team reported shortly thereafter that Paul suffered a strain left hamstring and would not return. The
Paul watched the remainder of the game from the Clippers bench. He departed with a season-high 33 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 turnover in 39 minutes on 12-22 shooting. Clippers held on to beat the Lakers, 102-94.
Paul is averaging 16.1 points, 8.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game this season.
Here's video of Los Angeles Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul straining his left hamstring during a Saturday night game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Posted on: January 14, 2012 11:23 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 11:25 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver
From... way... down... town... bang.
Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Darius Morris hit a crazy buzzer-beating three-pointer to close out the first quarter of a Saturday night showdown with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Morris received an inbounds pass with 1.7 seconds left, took one dribble to elude Clippers All-Star guard Chris Paul, and heaved up a one-handed shot as he leaned left in mid-air. The shot went straight in, much to the delight of the Staples Center crowd. The shot cut the Clippers' lead to 31-24 at the end of one quarter.
Morris, 21, was the Lakers' second round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, selected with the No. 41 overall pick out of the University of Michigan.
Here's the video of Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Darius Morris nailing a 50-foot buzzer-beater against the Clippers.
Posted on: January 13, 2012 7:17 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 2:19 am
3-on-2 Fast Break is a weekly feature here on Eye on Basketball where our intrepid bloggers tackle two questions, comparing two elements. This week, we focus on Saturday night's showdown at Staples between the Los Angeles Cippers and Los Angeles Lakers. Follow Eye on Basketball on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
1. Let's keep it simple. Which of these two teams wins on Saturday night and why?
Royce Young: Lakers. The Fighting Kobes are in a really good rhythm right now. Kobe is playing great, Andrew Bynum is looking dominant and all the pieces are fitting together. The Clippers kind of put all their eggs into the basket of beating the Heat and while I'm sure they'll be up for the Lakers, they've got to get past that overtime win first. And don't think the Lakers have forgotten everyone getting all excited about the Clips sweeping the two exhibition games at Staples in early December. People were talking about the changing of the guard in L.A., but those games didn't count. This one does.
Ben Golliver: The Lakers have some serious positive momentum going thanks to a four-game winning streak which could become five if they top the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. That the Clippers get two rest days heading into this one while the Lakers are stuck with the back-to-back gives Lob City an edge, but that probably cancels out the revenge factor that the Lakers are feeling after getting wiped up in two highlight-filled preseason games. Chauncey Billups has hit double figures and shot at least 6 free throws in four consecutive games for the Clippers; they will need his production if they are to keep pace with Kobe Bryant and company. Chris Paul finally had his signature game with the Clippers, scoring 27 points and making 11 assists in a Wednesday win over Miami and he gave the Lakers fits in last year's playoffs. I see him doing it again on Saturday to give the Clippers the win.
Matt Moore: The matchups here are enough to make your head spin. All-Star, phenomenal, once-in-a-lifetime guards? Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. Behemoth young centers with size, strength and defensive ability? Andrew Bynum and DeAndre Jordan. Crafty veterans on the wings? Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, Steve Blake and Matt Barnes against Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, and Mo Williams. Power forwards with huge scoring ability who are almost unguardable? Pau Gasol and Blake Griffin. It's a tight set of matchups. I like the Clippers in this one. We saw what Paul was able to do against the Lakers in the playoffs last year, and they haven't upgraded a defender to guard him yet. On the other end, Pau Gasol doesn't like it when things get physical and the Clippers are in-you-face as they come. Bryant can swing this as he can any game, but I like Lob City to open up and outrun the older Lakers.
2. We know Kobe's going to score, Griffin's going to dunk, CP3 is going to dish, and Pau is going to do Pau things. But what's the big unknown in this game that will end up deciding it?
Royce Young: Points in the paint. Who gets the most easy baskets? Both teams are pretty solid defensively and both teams have players that can fill it up. But jumpshots only carry teams so far, especially late in games. The Lakers have Bynum and Gasol who are paint monsters, while Griffin gets a lot of his easy in transition. Execution will be tough because you know this game will be physical. It's going to come down to the little things like free throws, turnovers and again, easy baskets in the paint. Both teams can defend it well, but who is going to break down the other defense enough to score simple points.
Ben Golliver: The answer to the big unknown question is always Andrew Bynum. He poured in his career-high 42 points against DeAndre Jordan back in 2009 and he's shown spurts of serious offensive productivity in this young season. Given that the game is on the second end of a back-to-back there's no guarantee that Bynum can fully exploit what is an exceedingly difficult match-up for Jordan. The only person who can keep Bynum off the offensive glass in this one is himself. The Clippers are second-to-worst in rebound rate on the young season and Jordan can be bullied with Bynum's width and strength.
Matt Moore: Turnovers. The Lakers have turned the ball over a stunning amount this season up until the past few games, also notably the best games of Bryant's season. The Lakers are last in turnover percentage differential, while the Clippers are top-four in that same category. The Clippers also rank 3rd in transition offense according to Synergy Sports. The Lakers are ninth in transition defense. If the Clippers can get out and run, that's going to put more wear and tear on an older and banged up Lakers team. But if the Lakers get to grind it out, expect the Lakers' superior experience to win the day.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 5:15 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 5:45 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver
Sorry, LeBron James. You melted down in the clutch during an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday, and you broke the rules while doing it.
The NBA announced on Thursday -- using @NBAOfficial, a new Twitter account dedicated to clarifying controversial refereeing decisions -- that James violated the league's traveling rules on a key late-game play.
"Yes, LeBron should have been called for traveling on this play last night," the NBA's statement read.
The play in question occurred during the final 10 seconds of regulation with the Heat looking to draw even with the Clippers. James drove to his left past Clippers forward Caron Butler, appeared to execute a jump stop, and then spun into a turnaround jump shot, which was interrupted by a bump from Clippers center DeAndre Jordan. Jordan was whistled for a foul on the play.
HardwoodParoxysm.com studied the tape and noted that James did not properly execute the jump shot because he did not land with both feet simultaneously and that he slid his pivot foot as he moved to attempt the shot.
The traveling infraction, which was not called by the refereeing crew of Ron Garretson, Eric Dalen and Derek Richardson, occurred prior to Jordan's foul of James, which sent the Heat's All-Star forward to the free-throw line, which eventually led to overtime.
Despite some obvious frustration at the officiating, all was well that ended well for Los Angeles. The Clippers went on to defeat the Heat, 95-89, in overtime.
James finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals and 6 turnovers on 7-for-19 shooting. James missed eight free throws on the night, including three in the final 1:21 of regulation.
Here's video of the play in which the NBA publicly admitted that LeBron James traveled, courtesy of HardwoodParoxysm.com.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:34 am
By Matt Moore
Los Angeles 95 Miami 89
Theory: The Clippers needed some help, but found their defensive identity against the Heat to get their biggest win of the season.
Proof: Moving past the prolific failure of the Miami Heat, particularly at the free throw line, the Clippers did win a fairly significant ball game Wednesday in their own right, an ugly affair against a tough defensive team, and they did it with defense.
For weeks the Clippers have been chided for porous defense. But Wednesday they took the most athletic team and attacked them at the rim. They turned the Heat over, they challenged jumpers, they helped and communicated, and DeAndre Jordan blocked everything in sight.
The Heat entered Wednesday night with a 107 offensive efficiency mark (points per 100 possessions). The Clippers held them to just an 89.9 mark. That's worse than the Wizards' mark for the season. L.A. brought a lot of help, but it was also lead by the same players who they were criticized for acquiring. Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler did tandem work on LeBron ames and Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul was his usual ball-hawk self.
Then there was DeAndre Jordan.
That's why you overpay for a young center with his abilities. Eleven rebounds, six blocks (!) and a monstrous slam to finish the game and shut the door on the Heat. Jordan was everywhere, swallowing up shots and spitting them back out. Jordan was a monster and a huge reason why the Clippers could help and recover as much as they needed to against the Heat's athleticism.
The Clippers are still a work in progress. But there were enough positive signs to show that this team is not as far off as has been suggested recently. There are still things to improve on, though.
Blake Griffin is still learning to adapt to the new pressure and physicality defenses are now applying. Griffin finished with 20 and 12, but needed 23 shots to get to those 20 points. He was frustrated by the Heat's combined attacks and shook by their toughness inside on his drives. Too often he settled.
The bench is still very weak, and in need of a consistent scorer outside of Mo Williams.
But Chris Paul ties it together.
Maybe the defense won't play like this consistently enough to even warrant home court in the first round. But the pieces are there, and when they come together for the Clippers, with Paul drawing the strings and Jordan putting a big metal box over it, the Clippers have something as special as what they were hyped to be. It was a mentally exhausting, grinding battle Wednesday night, and at the end, the Clippers walked out with the signature win of their season so far.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 1:59 am
Edited on: January 12, 2012 2:04 am
By Matt Moore
Los Angeles 95 Miami 89
Theory: LeBron James cost the Heat a winnable game on the road against a playoff team by missing free throws.
Proof: Eventually you reach a point where these things cross the line of believablility. One missed clutch free throw by an 80 percent free throw shooter, one of the best basketball players on the planet, OK. Sure. Weird, but it happens.
But the sheer volume of missed free throws from LeBron James against the Clippers on Wednesday is purely staggering.
And more so, James was clearly, visibly shook by the misses. He didn't settle for long jumpers, though he did brick a face-up J with Billups defending him in the fourth. He did what everyone asks. He posted, he drove, he got to the rim, and he drew the foul.
And he bricked. Over and over and over again.
It was comical. It was absurd. Some people will say they aren't surprised, that James has already shown himself to be that kind of player. But there's a reason so many people react the way they do. There's a reason James is regarded in such lofty compliments. He really is that good... provided it's not a crucial game since the Eastern Conference Finals ended last June.
The Heat missed 14 free throws against the Clippers. Hit half of those misses, they win the game. Any better than that and it's a walk. The game never goes to OT. The Heat absolutely melted down on multiple levels. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade were equally as terrible in the fourth quarter and overtime as James. But it was James who had the opportunity, yet again, to step up and lead, to end it, to be the player that gets it done.
And again, he failed. Shrunk. Choked. Whatever cliche you want to rip out there. He finished 9-17 from the line. Eight missed chances, any pair of which in regulation would have ended it. Torching LeBron for his late game failures has become more boring and drawn out than players complaining about calls (which there was also a lot of in this game, and rightfully so). And yet it's based in reality. No one remembers him crushing the Celtics down the stretch in a dominant series. No one remembers him erasing the MVP Derrick Rose. And rightfully so. These performances aren't just questionable or soft. They're bad. He's played badly.
And Wednesday night, those failures cost the Heat a game they should have won.
It's not even funny at this point, but that's hard to tell over the sound of the world's laughter.
Posted on: January 11, 2012 1:45 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 2:05 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The most repeated line of this lockout-shortened season is certainly this: “The schedule doesn’t do anyone any favors.” On Tuesday, those words finally became completely accurate.
Through Monday, it was true for 29 out of the 30 NBA teams. The Los Angeles Clippers, though, received plenty of favors from the season’s first two weeks, playing just six games in the first 16 days. Entering Tuesday night’s game at the Rose Garden against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Clippers were the only team that hadn’t played at least eight games this season. Half of those Clippers’ opponents– the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks – are likely lottery teams.
The Clippers had played just one game every 2.7 days entering Tuesday's action; Over the next seven weeks leading up to the February All-Star break, Los Angeles will play 25 games in 44 days, a game every 1.8 days.
Among those 25 games: the Los Angeles Lakers twice, the Denver Nuggets three times, the defending champion Dallas Mavericks twice, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Blazers again, the San Antonio Spurs and, on Wednesday night, the Miami Heat. In all, Lob City will play six back-to-backs and a back-to-back-to-back between now and the next Slam Dunk Contest sponsored by Kia.
NBA commissioner David Stern gifted them an all-world floor general and the schedule-makers granted the new-look league darlings a soft launch, but now things get real.
The brutal stretch got off on the wrong foot on Tuesday, a 105-97 loss to the Blazers that was marred by foul trouble for Chris Paul and early struggles for All-Star forward Blake Griffin. Griffin overcame a 2-for-8 start to finish 9-for-17 for 18 points and 12 rebounds, but he was stripped of the ball on a critical late-game possession and showered with boos normally reserved for the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Garnett as he protested, or sought, foul calls.
“We have competitive guys, we just have to do a better job with our spacing offensively,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said afterwards. “More so, just locking in defensively. I thought that they got some easy penetration on us. We have to continue to work with our big guys and get through some things to get them on the same page with our new guards.”
The early numbers reveal Del Negro’s Clippers, now 4-3 on the season, to be a one-sided bunch. Ranked as a top-3 offense, L.A. is a bottom-6 defense and the second worst team when it comes to rebounding rate. (Only the 1-8 Washington Wizards are worse.) Their offense is buoyed by Paul’s all-around play and the high-efficiency looks he generates for Griffin and Jordan, but there is a significant energy expense in creating the highlight reel plays, and it will be up to players like Chauncey Billups and Caron Butler to prove they can be consistent tertiary scoring options.
Billups and Butler kept L.A. in the game against the Blazers, scoring 39 combined points and getting to the foul line 11 times. Those efforts were spoiled because Paul was lost to foul trouble for much of the first half.
“It was some bogus stuff that was going on out there,” Paul said of the officiating. "You know what I mean? But it’s part of the game. I know those guys and they flop on you but it goes like that sometimes."
Paul finished with 11 points, 3 assists and two turnovers in 31 minutes,
“He got in some early foul trouble on some questionable calls,” Del Negro added. “He was a little bit tentative. He missed a couple of easy ones early and could never really get going.”
Although Del Negro went on to say, “We need everybody, it’s not just one guy,” the Clippers will need more from Paul, their blockbuster trade acquisition. While his shooting numbers are excellent, his scoring so far – 14.8 points per game – is down from previous years and his 8.4 assists are the fewest since his rookie year. He’s adjusting to new teammates, a new city and a new coach, so L.A.’s easy start was a major blessing.
But the loss to Portland was a reminder that, barring another major trade, this team will live-and-die with Paul’s effectiveness. The drop-off in talent after the Clippers’ top-6 guys is steep so dominance is required from CP3.
“Paul does a good job with defending,” Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. “He reaches for the ball, he defends well and a couple of times early in the first half the officials caught it which really changed the tempo for them when he went out of the game.”
Blazers point guard Raymond Felton went hard at Paul throughout on Tuesday, finishing with 17 points and 8 assists, and Paul was not able to establish Griffin in the post until it was too late. Portland was content with letting Billups and Butler get their shots from outside, where L.A. is shooting just 31.4 percent as a team so far this season.
“Tonight we got more aggressive on the pick-and-roll defense, we were trapping the post-ups,” McMillan said. “We didn't let Griffin really play in the paint… The one thing we needed to do was be aggressive, make this team shoot from the outside, finish with the rebounds. I thought we did that.”
McMillan’s Blazers are, perhaps, the surprise team of 2011-2012, off to a 7-2 start when many predicted they would be a lower-seed playoff team. Tuesday’s win was revenge for a New Year’s Day shellacking in Los Angeles, when the Clippers beat Portland, 93-88, in a game that was much more one-sided than the final score indicated.
For all of Portland’s homecourt advantage – the Blazers are now 6-0 at the Rose Garden this season – and Paul’s foul trouble, and Griffin’s struggles, and L.A.’s lack of a bench, the Clippers were within 3 points with less than 30 seconds to play. One Paul steal from potentially stealing what would have been the early season’s signature win.
“That's a very good team over there,” McMillan said, knowing he dodged a bullet.
Welcome, Clippers, to the world of “no favors.” Glad you could make it.
Posted on: January 10, 2012 5:18 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 6:39 pm
Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver.
The 2011-2012 NBA season continues to skip along. Here's the fourth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.
What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.
1. Too High: Milwaukee Bucks at No. 20. The Bucks are one of those teams that you actually notice when they score. Because it doesn't happen with great regularity. Yet somehow despite a 2-6 record and five straight losses (without Andrew Bogut, mind you), the Bucks No. 20? Their schedule isn't overly difficult and their two wins are against the Wolves and Wizards. Not a whole lot to convince anyone that team is very good. -- RY
2. Too Low: Houston Rockets at No. 27. The fourth worst team in the league? Really? Worse than the dysfunctional Kings, the raw Cavs and the frustrating Warriors? Yeah, they're 2-6 which is tied for last in the West, but they haven't had any easy road thus far. They've played multiple games without Kyle Lowry who is off to an All-Star caliber start and they're schedule has been brutal. Of their eight games, they've played seven against teams in the playoffs last season with the eighth being against the Clippers. The Rockets might be losing, but they haven't had a fair shake of the schedule quite yet. -- RY
3. Most Overrated: Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 16. Sure, it's basketball aficionado sacrilege to talk mess about the Minnesota Timberwolves right now, what with their internationally-acclaimed rookie point guard impressing beyond all reasonable expectations and the young core finally starting to develop. There are still baseline standards to fulfill, though, and Minnesota remains in the Northwest Division basement, trailing the fourth place Denver Nuggets by 2.5 games already. Their 3-6 record includes losses to the dismal Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks. -- BG
4. Most Overlooked: Utah Jazz at No. 18. Utah deserves to be where Minnesota was ranked, if not a touch higher, after slapping together a 4-game winning streak completely out of nowhere. The Jazz have been a perennial playoff team by exploiting their massive homecourt advantage to full effect, and they still haven't lost at Energy Solutions Arena this year, a promising sign even if they still lack a signature win. This team seemed destined for chaos and/or rebuilding after a 1-3 start; instead, they're back in the playoff picture, at least for now. -- BG
5. Sure Thing: New York Knicks at No. 14. The Knicks are right where they need to be. They've been frustratingly average. Even in beating Charlotte at home Monday, they flirted with disaster. There isn't a lot from the Knicks yet that show they're a real contender in the East. Tyson Chandler is nice, but do they honestly look that improved defensively? They have enough talent to win games and stay in the playoff hunt, but who would you take them to beat in a seven-game playoff series in the East? Would you even take them to beat the Sixers or Pacers right now? -- RY
6. Wild Card: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 12. Every other team in the NBA has played at least eight games. Some have already played 10. The Clippers, meanwhile, have played just six through Monday. How does that make sense? It doesn't, and it also gives us significantly less evidence to determine how legit the Clippers are with their division-leading 4-2 record. They grade out exceedingly well offensively and below-average -- but not terrible -- defensively, so there's a decent chance they can make a push towards perennial top-10 status assuming they can avoid injuries. Then again, their wins have come against Portland, who played incredibly flat, and three teams destined for the lottery. -- BG