Clippers beat Lakers 115-104 for Doc Rivers’ 800th victory

Leave a comment

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Blake Griffin scored 36 points, Chris Paul added 29 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Lakers 115-104 on Saturday, giving coach Doc Rivers his 800th career victory.

J.J. Redick added 19 points for the Clippers, who moved within a game of the idle Jazz for the No. 4 playoff seed in the West. The Clippers have won three in a row and seven of nine.

The series between the Staples Center co-tenants has been dominated by the Clippers of late. They’ve won 18 of 20 since the start of the 2012-13 season.

Rookie David Nwaba scored 19 points and Brandon Ingram had 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter for the Lakers. They have lost 18 of 20 since the All-Star break. D'Angelo Russell, the team’s leading scorer at 15.7 points, had two points on 1-of-9 shooting while missing six 3-point attempts.

The Clippers allowed the Lakers to hang around in the fourth, forcing all their starters back in after they led by 21 points at the start. Tarik Black‘s dunk cut the Lakers’ deficit to eight with 2:52 to play.

But Griffin and Paul combined to score the Clippers’ final seven points.

The Lakers scored the first nine points of the fourth to trail 93-81. Nwaba scored four in a row and Ingram had the next five points. The action bogged down while three plays were reviewed.

The Clippers dominated the third, turning a five-point lead into a 21-point advantage. They opened on a 24-9 run, including 10 by Paul that extended their lead to 79-59. Griffin and Redick added back-to-back 3-pointers and Paul scored four in a row to send the Clippers into the fourth leading 93-72.

Paul had 12 assists and made all 10 of his free throws, and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 12 rebounds.

The Lakers took their only lead of the game early in the second before the Clippers outscored them 24-19 to go into halftime leading 55-50.

The Clippers opened the game by scoring 17 straight points, making 7 of 9 field goals. The Lakers missed their first nine shots before going on an 18-2 run to close within one.

TIP-INS

Lakers: They have used 23 different starting lineups this season with no player starting every game. … G Jordan Clarkson is the only player to appear in every game. … Ingram returned after missing three games with right patellar tendinitis. … C Ivica Zubac is out for the rest of the season with a high right ankle sprain.

Clippers: Backup G Austin Rivers is likely out for the rest of the regular season with a strained left hamstring.

GRIFFIN’S 10K

Griffin scored the game’s first basket on a jumper, giving him 10,000 points in his career. He is the second player in franchise history to reach that mark. Randy Smith scored 10,467 of his club-record 12,735 points when the team was known as the Buffalo Braves.

DOC’S MILESTONE

Rivers became the 15th coach in NBA history with 800 victories. Only Gregg Popovich of San Antonio (1,146) has more among active coaches.

“What I’ve learned most as a coach is persistence and patience,” Rivers said before the game. “Patience with the players and myself. As a young coach you have a tendency to overreact to everything and change everything. I’ve learned not to sweat everything.”

 

More NBA basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

Reports: Knicks, Bucks, Nuggets among teams calling about Eric Bledsoe

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Eric Bledsoe is done with the Suns. His excuse that his “I Dont wanna be here” Tweet was about a hair salon is as believable as myself, Bruce Willis, and Andre Agassi Tweeting about our time in hair salons. The Suns have told him to go home, and they will work to trade him. Most likely, the Suns are going to get crushed in this deal — they have no leverage, Bledsoe is a free agent in less than two years (2019), plus most teams are not looking for another point guard. But he is being shopped, and he’d like to go to a winning team.

Where will Bledsoe get traded?

A few names have come up — the Knicks, Bucks, and Nuggets are the ones out in public now. There are more, but let’s take a look at those three.

The Knicks have one of the two worst backcourts in the NBA (the Bulls are in that mix, too) so they certainly could use Bledsoe short term. However, long term he doesn’t fit on the Kristaps Porzingis timeline so how much would New York give up to get him.

That price is too high, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.

The Suns have asked about young Knicks such as Frank Ntilikina and Willy Hernangomez in trade talks about guard Eric Bledsoe, sources confirm. But New York have been opposed to trading either young player, sources told ESPN. Hernangomez has not been in head coach Jeff Hornacek’s regular rotation in the first two games of the season, which has left the second-year center frustrated. But Hernangomez’s lack of playing time isn’t a sign that the club is looking to move him. Ntilikina has dealt with several injuries early in his career but the point guard remains part of the young core New York wants to build around and management, as of Monday afternoon, did not want to move him in a Bledsoe deal.

Then there is Milwaukee.

On the court, this makes some sense. Giannis Antetokounmpo is the point forward who has the ball in his hands, but Bledsoe is adept off the ball and can hit the three. The move would send Malcolm Brogdon back to the bench, which he may not like but is a good thing for a team looking to bolster its depth.

The trade likely would involve Jabari Parker going West, along with salary filler such as Matthew Dellavedova. Parker is coming off multiple injuries, but he still knows how to score inside and in the right system has value. Whether that system is in Phoenix depends on what kind of system they want to run and roster they want to build.

Then there is Denver.

Denver likes Jamal Murray at the point guard spot and is ready to move on from Emmanuel Mudiay, so there could be a point guard swap but with some more salary coming back to Phoenix (Denver likely would want to dump Kenneth Faried but the Suns will want something that helps them out more than that). This makes some sense as it gives the Suns a young point guard with some skills to try out, while the Nuggets get deeper at a spot of need.

Other deals are lurking (yes LeBron James and Bledsoe are tight, but that deal is a long shot), and the Suns rightfully are going to take the best deal they can find, regardless of whether Bledsoe wants to be there or not. The only questions are how fast do they get it done, and what are teams offering?

J.R. Smith replacing Dwyane Wade as Cavaliers’ starting shooting guard

Stacy Revere/Getty Images
2 Comments

The Cavaliers are 2-1, but their starting lineups have been outscored by 19 points in 32 minutes. Dwyane Wade has been so bad as the starting shooting guard, his struggles have overshadowed J.R. Smith‘s miserable play as the backup.

But at least Wade volunteered a solution to this predictable problem.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Dwyane Wade is headed for the Cavaliers’ bench at his own request and J.R. Smith is returning to the starting lineup.

Wade, 35, a 12-time All-Star who struggled in his first three games with Cleveland, asked coach Tyronn Lue to make the change, Lue said. But this wasn’t exactly Wade’s idea, either.

Lue told him when he signed with the Cavs Sept. 27 that the second unit may be the best fit for him.

“I just decided, earlier than later, just to get to the unit where I’d be more comfortable in and can probably better with this team in that lineup,” Wade said. “Why wait? Three games in, why wait? Wanted to get in there with those guys.”

Cleveland’s starting lineup needs more shooting and defense around LeBron James – especially with Derrick Rose starting over an injured Isaiah Thomas (though Rose is out a couple games with his own ankle injury). Smith provides that.

Bench-heavy units need more playmaking. Wade provides that.

This was a tricky situation given Wade’s status as a future Hall of Famer and friendship with LeBron. Whether Wade simply suggested the change or Lue is trying to give Wade public credit after coaxing it behind the scenes, the result is the same.

The Cavs can now use their most logical rotation, and they should be better for it.

Suns GM Ryan McDonough: Eric Bledsoe hair-salon claim about tweet was unbelievable

Getty Images
2 Comments

Eric Bledsoe reportedly requested a trade from the Suns before the season then tweeted yesterday:

Clear message?

Apparently not.

After sending home Bledsoe today, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough explained his rationale:

The hair salon! What a wonderful excuse.

Is it true? I’m not going to call Bledsoe a liar. It might be.

It’s also probably true that Bledsoe isn’t long for Phoenix.

Report: Suns send Eric Bledsoe home, expect to trade him

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
9 Comments

In a shocking twist, the Suns firing Earl Watson did not end the dysfunction in Phoenix.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Bledsoe:

That is a first-rate tweet by Bledsoe. It’s great that he’s having fun with the wild situation, because the rest of us sure are amused peering in.

This was always going to be a long season in Phoenix, but things got out of hand in a hurry. The 0-3 Suns have been outscored by 92 – the worst three-game start in NBA history by 16 points. Now, comes the fallout.

At 27, Bledsoe was getting to be a little too old for a rebuild centered on Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and T.J. Warren. The Suns could have dealt Bledsoe in the offseason. Now, they’re negotiating from a position of weakness.

Bledsoe is a good starting point guard when healthy. He’s earning a reasonable $14.5 million this season and due $15 million in the final year of his contract next season. There should be suitors, and Phoenix can gain long-term assets while stepping up its tank.

But this sure seems like a crisis-control move more than anything else.