Associated Press

J.J. Redick on Clippers: “We’ve been s— since the All-Star break”


The Los Angeles Clippers are going to start the playoffs on the road, and will have a tough trek through the playoffs. If the playoffs started today, they would begin the postseason in Salt Lake City against a Jazz team that just beat them on Monday. The Clippers are the five seed and three games back of the Jazz, Los Angeles isn’t catching them and getting home court. In fact, their bigger concern is in the rear-view mirror — Oklahoma City is just half a game back of Los Angeles now. Fall to the six seed and Los Angeles would face a very dangerous Rockets team in the first round.

This is a Clippers team with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, J.J. Redick, DeAndre Jordan — how are they starting the playoffs on the road? How have they dropped three games in a row when they should be making a push toward the playoffs? Don’t ask Redick, as Bill Oram of the Orange County Register did, because the shooting guard doesn’t know.

“I don’t know what to expect from this team anymore,” veteran guard J.J. Redick said, fuming. “We’re in a bad place right now. We’re losing games. We’ve been s— since the All-Star break.”

Since the All-Star break, the Clippers are 5-8, having been outscored by their opponents by 3.8 points per 100 possessions. The offense has been okay (10th in the NBA since the break), but the defense has been a disaster, giving up 112.4 points per 100, 29th in the NBA. For some perspective, the Lakers have the worst defense in the NBA for the season and they give up 110.7 per 100.

A lot of things have slowed the Clippers this season, a combination of injuries and the team not having much depth around their stars. Which sounds familiar.

There is a good chance the Clippers get bounced in the first round this postseason (do not sleep on how good Utah is and how they are defending). Even if it’s another second round exit (beat the Jazz and the Clippers would face the Warriors) the Clippers will have a lot of questions to answer this summer. Paul, Griffin, and Reddick are all free agents, how much is Steve Ballmer willing to pay to bring them all back? If they do head deep into the luxury tax to keep them all, are the Clippers a good team hoping the breaks just go their way one year (like the 2011 Mavericks)? Is that the right long-term move.

It’s going to be an interesting summer in Los Angeles.

Stephen Curry leaves game with knee injury

1 Comment

In his first night back from an ankle injury that forced him to miss six games, Stephen Curry limped off the court not to return after in third quarter Friday night after JaVale McGee fell into his knee.

He limped to the bench then eventually to the locker room after the injury.

The severity of the injury is not yet known and should become clear on Saturday after an MRI.

Curry scored 29 points and grabbed seven rebounds before being forced to leave the game, and the Warriors held on to win the game.

Obviously, if Curry is out heading into the playoffs, that changes the dynamic in the West, where the Houston Rockets were already right on the heels of the Warriors.

Pacers use late surge to beat Clippers, close in on playoffs

Associated Press
Leave a comment

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic scored 28 points and the Indiana Pacers used a late 9-0 run to hold on for a 109-104 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night, putting them on the precipice of clinching a playoff spot.

The Pacers won for only the second time in five games but can clinch a playoff berth with one more win or a Detroit loss.

Los Angeles’ fading playoff aspirations were dealt another blow. The Clippers are now three games behind Utah for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference. Utah was playing later Friday.

Lou Williams led Los Angeles with 27 points and DeAndre Jordan finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds as the Clippers lost for the fifth time in six games.

They certainly had a chance to turn things around.

After the Clippers rallied from an 18-point deficit to take an 88-87 lead with 7:36 left in the fourth quarter, the teams traded the lead 10 times before Victor Oladipo made one of two free throws to leave it tied at 100 with 2:17 to play.

Bogdanovic broke the tie with a 12-footer and the Pacers followed that with seven straight points before Williams made a layup with 12 seconds left to end the run.

The Clippers were making shots early but couldn’t pull away from Indiana.

They led 28-27 after one and allowed Indiana to use a 9-2 spurt midway through the second quarter to erase a six-point deficit and take a 40-39 lead.

The Pacers scored the final five points of the half to break a 53-all tie and broke it open early in the third when Oladipo made his first three shots of the game, including two 3-pointers to make it 66-55.

Indiana then poured it on. Thaddeus Young‘s layup with 9:02 left in the third made it a 12-point game. Milos Teodosic‘s basket briefly halted the run, but the Pacers scored the next nine points to make it 75-57 with 6:19 to go.

Los Angeles closed the third quarter on a 12-5 run to get to 82-76.


LeBron James throws touchdown pass like Cleveland fans hope Sam Darnold can

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Cleveland fans can only hope Sam Darnold is as good a passer as LeBron James.

And that his receivers are better than Jose Calderon. Or at least taller.

LeBron James grabbed a rebound and threw a perfect touchdown pass to a leaked out Jose Calderon as the Cavaliers went on to beat the Phoenix Suns Friday night.

🙌🏽 @kingjames 🎯 @jmcalderon8 🙌🏽

A post shared by NBA (@nba) on

By the way, LeBron made a nice dish to the returned Larry Nance Jr., too.


Report: Rockets to waive Brandan Wright

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Finally healthy, it was easy to see where big man Brandan Wright would fit on Mike D’Antoni’s Rockets — he’s an athletic big man who can get up and down the court, he knows how to finish lobs above the rim, and could provide some front line depth behind Clint Capela and Nene. That’s why the Rockets picked him up in February after he was bought out by the Grizzlies.

It didn’t work out that way. Wright played in one game with Houston before his sore knee forced him to shut it down. He has not played since.

The Rockets are moving on, waiving Wright and bringing in forward Le’Bryan Nash out of the G-League on a 10-day contract, reports Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

With center Brandan Wright unable to return from his knee issues this season, the Rockets will release Wright, who signed as a free agent last month, a person with knowledge of the move said…

He had a minor procedure and will work on his rehab with the Rockets staff, the individual familiar with the plans said.

 “Brandan did everything positive,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He just wasn’t physically able to hang in there. We hate it that the guy isn’t part of this.”

Wright has played in just 28 total this season averaging 5 points and 3.4 rebounds in 13.6 minutes. He’s battled knee issues for a few seasons now and has not played more than 28 games in the last three. If healthy he can help teams, but we’ll see if he ever gets back into the NBA.

The Rockets use Ryan Anderson as their backup center, using Nene less of late, although how much D’Antoni can use Anderson in the playoffs due to his defensive challenges remains to be seen.

Nash, who played a season at Oklahoma State, will get his first taste of the NBA. He was a highly recruited kid out of high school, and this season has averaged 8.5 points in 19 minutes per game for the Rio Grande Vipers this season.