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

Warriors hope to get Shaun Livingston, Matt Barnes back for second round

Leave a comment

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors hope to get injured reserves Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes back from injuries for the second round of the playoffs after getting more than a week off between series.

The Warriors said Saturday that Barnes has been upgraded to probable for Tuesday night’s Game 1 and Livingston remains questionable but is hopeful he will be ready to return. Star forward Kevin Durant is expected to be a full go after missing two games and being limited to 20 minutes in Game 4 last round because of a strained left calf.

Barnes has been sidelined since April 8, while Livingston sprained a finger on his right hand in Game 1 of the first-round against Portland.

Golden State begins the second round at home on Tuesday night against the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. The Warriors have been off since sweeping the Trail Blazers last Monday, giving them more than a week between games.

“I’m trying to make sure I rest it as much as I possibly can, because when I do come back I plan on staying all the way back,” Livingston said Saturday. “Hopefully it will be ready for Tuesday.”

After taking Tuesday and Thursday off following their first-round sweep, the Warriors practiced for a second straight day Saturday. They plan to practice again on Sunday and then again Monday once they know their second-round opponent.

There is no update on the status of coach Steve Kerr, who missed the final two games of the first round because of complications from two back surgeries. Kerr talks daily with interim coach Mike Brown and took part in coaching meetings Friday but was not at practice on Saturday.

PBT Extra: Rockets vs. Spurs far more than Kawhi Leonard vs. James Harden

Leave a comment

Kawhi Leonard vs. James Harden. Two MVP candidates matching up in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

However, the San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets is much more than that.

It’s a battle of pace. It’s a chess match between two of the best coaches in the game. It’s about which team’s role players are going to step up.

I talk about all of that in this latest PBT Extra. Plus, of course, when Leonard will guard Harden.

How to start your Saturday night: Watching 15 minutes of best plays from NBA season

Leave a comment

There are no NBA playoff games Saturday night, the first night since the start of the postseason there hasn’t been one game. Don’t worry, there are two games on Sunday, including Game 7 between the Jazz and Clippers.

But if you need a Saturday night fix, this will have to do: 15 minutes of the best plays from last season, as compiled by NBA.com.

Go ahead, watch it. You’ve got nothing better to do.

 

Paul Millsap says the expected, he will “most likely” opt out of contract

Getty Images
Leave a comment

This is ranked right next to “overeating can lead to weight gain” on the list of surprising things, but we will dutifully report it anyway:

Paul Millsap is going to opt out and officially become a free agent this summer.

Atlanta’s owner as well as Mike Budenholzer, the coach and head of basketball operations, have both said they plan to do whatever it takes to re-sign Millsap with the Hawks. Millsap didn’t sound like someone eager to leave after the Hawks were eliminated from the playoffs Friday.

“It’s been great. I’m looking to expand this and see where the franchise can go. These last four years has been great. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Even with both sides singing Kumbaya, keeping Millsap in Atlanta likely means a five-year contract at or near the max, which for a 32-year-old player means the Hawks would regret the last year or two of that deal.

Not that the Hawks have much of a choice here, they have to come in big and keep him. For one, they can’t afford to lose Al Horford and then Millsap for nothing in back-to-back years. If they were going down the rebuilding road, they needed to trade Millsap at the deadline (or last summer) to make sure they got something in return. Atlanta explored trade options at the deadline, but then pulled back (rumored to be because of an edict from ownership, which didn’t want to see the team blown up after the Kyle Korver trade).

By not making that trade the Hawks signaled their intention to remain a good team — a 43-win team this season that got them the five seed — with Dennis Schroder and Dwight Howard, one that draws well at an arena that historically has not been that full, and see if they can add on. They strike me as a team that will win between 42-50 games a year and be middle of the pack in the East for the next few years, unless they can find a way to add an elite player (which is incredibly difficult).

But if the Hawks can’t re-sign Millsap, then the plan gets blown up. So expect them to come in with a big offer come July 1.