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

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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.”

 

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JJ Redick has crack in left leg, will be reevaluated 10-14 days

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The Philadelphia 76ers could use JJ Redick, but it appears that the sharp-shooting guard will be out for at least 10 days due to an injury he suffered on Monday.

The team says Redick sustained the injury late in the fourth quarter during Philly’s 117-111 win over the Toronto Raptors.

Redick finished the game with 15 points, five rebounds, and one assist in 28 minutes of play, but had to be replaced with a little more than four minutes to go by T.J. McConnell.

Via Twitter:

A bone edema is a bit of fluid collection in the marrow (inner) area of the bone. The cortical part of the bone is the harder outer surface. What appears to have happened is that Redick suffered a crack in the exterior portion of his bone that also caused some inner fluid collection.

None of that sounds fun, but Redick will apparently be re-assessed in 10-14 days, so hopefully for the team it’s less serious that all this medical stuff makes it sound.

Arron Afflalo and Nemanja Bjelica fight, both get ejected (VIDEO)

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The Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Clippers nearly got into a fight on Monday night after their game. The whole thing was a fiasco, and we don’t know the extent of that incident, but apparently it was just an amouse-bouche for Tuesday’s showdown between Arron Afflalo and Nemanja Bjelica.

During the matchup between the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves in Florida, the two wound up actually fighting during a play in the second quarter.

As both teams went to contest a rebound on a Jamal Crawford jumper, Bjelica appeared to rush directly at Afflalo as the smaller player tried to pass block.

Elbows and forearms were involved in the rebound attempt, and that’s what caused some actual swinging.

Via Twitter:

Afflalo’s big haymaker didn’t appear to make contact, and Bjelica sort of got the better of him by getting him in a headlock, ending the fight.

Both were ejected. No doubt Adam Silver and the league office will have their work cut out for them trying to parse this fight and whatever happened between Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza, James Harden, Blake Griffin, and Austin Rivers.

Afflalo should get a couple of games for that big swing, and for being the main instigator. Bjelica got a good run at him for the rebound, but the first arms going up above the shoulders was all Afflalo.

It will probably also help Bjelica that once he had Afflalo in a headlock he put his other arm up, seemingly indicating he wanted to get out of the situation but didn’t want to let Afflalo go for fear of the fight continuing.

Players are heated lately, and there has been some discussion about whether new officiating styles by younger referees has led to players getting antsy with each other. We’ve heard that some of the newer refs aren’t talking with players as much, and perhaps that hasn’t let guys blow off steam throughout the course of the game and they’re taking it out on each other.

This is all very armchair psychology of me to speculate, but no doubt the conversation between the NBA, NBPA, and NBRA during the All-Star break regarding the officiating will be massively important.

Stephen Curry, Warriors lead league merchandise sales. Again.

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A few years ago, the Warriors were everybody’s darlings — they were the Brazilian soccer team of the NBA, everybody’s second-favorite squad because they play the beautiful game and did it with flair. However, sustained success in today’s world means people are going to turn on them — how dare they go and add a great player — and it’s become trendier to root against the Warriors and for the next hot thing. The Warriors didn’t change. That’s just the cycle of fame.

However, the trend has not slowed Warriors merchandise sales — they are still the top-selling team in the league, the NBA announced Tuesday. Stephen Curry is on top of the individual jersey sales. Both led the list last season, and Curry has been on top for a few years now.

Those next hot things — Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kristaps Porzingis, and Joel Embiid — are fast climbing the list. Those three rank behind the expected big three of Curry, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant.

The NBA releases the jersey rankings based on NBAStore.com sales from last October through the end of 2017 (that’s not a perfect measure, but it’s representative). Here are the top 15 player jersey sales from NBA.com:

1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
2. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
5. Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
6. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
7. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
8. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
9. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
10. James Harden, Houston Rockets
11. Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers
12. Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics
13. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
14. Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
15. Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves

Antetokounmpo has steadily climbed the list the past couple seasons, but this is the first time Porzingis or Embiid appeared in the top 15. Same with Lonzo Ball at 11 (he’s sold more gear than Kyrie Irving or Klay Thompson, which feels wrong).

As for team merchandise sales from NBA.com:

1. Golden State Warriors
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
3. Philadelphia 76ers
4. Los Angeles Lakers
5. New York Knicks
6. Milwaukee Bucks
7. Boston Celtics
8. San Antonio Spurs
9. Chicago Bulls
10. Oklahoma City Thunder

Jazz make it official: Thabo Sefolosha to have knee surgery, done for season

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This report had been out there for a few days, but on Tuesday the Utah Jazz made it official:

Swingman Thabo Sefolosha is going to have knee surgery. From the official release:

After further evaluation, Sefolosha (6-7, 220, Switzerland) has elected to undergo right knee surgery to repair an avulsion of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) which he suffered against Charlotte on Jan. 12. 

While the team would not put a timeline on this, he is done for this season.

Which is a blow to a Utah team that has battled injuries all season, most notably a couple of knee injuries to center Rudy Gobert. Sefolosha has been solid for the Jazz this season, averaging 8.2 points per game primarily off the bench, shooting 38 percent from three and playing solid defense in 21 minutes a night.

Joe Johnson will get more run, but this does not help the slim hopes of the Jazz to climb back into the playoff race.