Kurt Helin

Blake Griffin’s season-high 28 lead Clippers in San Antonio 116-92

1 Comment

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich are not fans of the congested early schedules the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs are playing.

But the Clippers can rest easier after their largest victory over the Spurs on the second night of a back-to-back for both teams.

Blake Griffin scored a season-high 28 points and the Clippers handed the Spurs a second straight home loss, 116-92 on Saturday night.

“It was great to win,” Rivers said. “It’s always great to win here, but these games shouldn’t happen. You could literally see both teams, they couldn’t even walk in the middle of the third quarter. A national TV game with two elite teams should be (played) with a day off.”

The Spurs have dropped two straight at the AT&T Center after losing just two regular-season home games in the previous 600 days, including a 40-1 mark last season.

San Antonio had not lost consecutive home games since dropping back-to-back triple-overtime games to Memphis (117-116) and Portland (129-119) in December 2014.

“We feel like we gave two away,” San Antonio forward Kawhi Leonard said, “but we’ve just got to learn from our mistakes. Teams that are good learn from their failures.”

It was the Clippers’ most lopsided victory in 160 games against the Spurs and it started on a historic note. Los Angeles scored the most points in the opening half in Popovich’s 21 seasons, rolling to a 73-55 lead.

The Clippers shot 50 percent from the field while dominating the battle between one-loss teams.

“We got some stops and got out in transition,” said Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who had nine points and 10 assists. “We played a lot of faster than we’ve been playing and we got some easy buckets.”

After giving up eight straight points to open the game, the Clippers made eight consecutive stops to take a 16-8 lead they would never relinquish.

“After that it was just survival for us because we had a big enough lead,” Rivers said.

Jamal Crawford finished with 16 points, J.J. Redick had 14 and Luc Mbah a Moute had 14 points while shooting 2 for 4 on 3-pointers.

But it was Griffin who keyed the early run.

The 6-foot-10 forward had 26 points in the first half, shooting 12 for 16 from the field.

“Our offense was clicking so well I got out in transition, got some easy ones there,” Griffin said. “But I also got some easy looks from C.P. and (DeAndre Jordan) rolling. It’s nice to have those easy looks go down and that kind of builds your confidence.”

Griffin finished 13 for 19 from the field, banking in shots and rising up for jumpers against LaMarcus Aldridge.

“I’m no dummy, I just told them to get it to him,” Rivers said. “I didn’t care where, but through movement. They did a good job of not just handing it to him they swung it, swung it and then dropped it. But when he’s that hot, you just try to get it to him and space the floor.”

Aldridge had 19 points and Leonard added 14, but the duo shot a combined 10 for 26.

TIP-INS

Clippers: Redick has the longest active streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer at 62 straight. He was 2 for 3 on 3-pointers. … Crawford raised his career total to 17,145 points, passing Grant Hill (17,137) for 88th on the career scoring list. … Redick completed a four-point play in the first quarter, the 26th of his career. He is second in league history, trailing Crawford’s 47.

Spurs: C Pau Gasol had one assist, becoming the third 7-footer in league history with 3,500 in his career. Lakers greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 5,660 assists and Wilt Chamberlain had 4,643. . Leonard was 8 for 8 on free throws, raising his season total to 61 for 63. He is the first Spurs player with 60-plus free throws in the team’s first seven games since Tim Duncan in 2007.

UNSUNG HERO

Mbah a Moute shot 5 for 9 from the field and helped hold Leonard to 3-for-13 shooting.

“We are just always trying to tell Luc that we’ve got the utmost confidence in him,” Paul said. “Luc put in some great work this summer. Sometimes I think we believe in him more than he believes in himself.”

Mbah a Moute entered the game averaging 2.4 points.

VOTE EARLY

Popovich wore a “Vote Pedro” shirt to his pregame interview, which was the same one worn by Napoleon Dynamite in the 2004 cult movie classic.

Popovich was asked recently if he would ever consider running for president, but the matter-of-fact coach said he would never make it through the first debate.

 

Pelicans’ Lance Stephenson out indefinitely due to groin muscle tear

lance stephenson
Getty Images
1 Comment

The basketball gods have it in for New Orleans right now. Tyreke Evans (leg issues), Jrue Holiday (personal), and
Quincy Pondexter (knee) are all key parts of the rotation who are out.

Now add Lance Stephenson to the mix as he will need surgery, the team announced. From the official press release:

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that guard Lance Stephenson has been diagnosed with a groin injury that will require surgery. An MRI performed today confirmed the injury. A timetable for his return will be announced at a later date.

Stephenson has played 27 minutes a night so far for the Pelicans, averaging 9.7 points and 4.8 assists per game. He’s become a key part of their rotation because he can create his own shot, including what could have been the game winner against the Suns this week (if Devin Booker hadn’t sent it to OT with a great play).

The Pelicans are 0-6 to start the season and it’s going to be hard to climb out of that hole, especially if they can’t get healthy.

Watch LeBron James pass Hakeem Olajuwon for 10th on all-time scoring list

8 Comments

LeBron James was the youngest player ever to reach 25,000 points last season, and he has been rocketing up the all-time scoring list in the past couple of years.

Saturday night he made a big step — he moved into the top 10 by passing Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946 points). If you want to include points scored in the ABA back in the day LeBron would be 12th, but the NBA doesn’t count those stats.

LeBron did it with a transition layup midway through the first quarter.

The all-time leading scorer remains Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 38,387. Maybe LeBron could make a run at that if he wants to play until he’s 40, but does he?

Paul George ejected for kicking ball that hits fan

9 Comments

There was not a lot of malice here, he did not go Lionel Messi on the ball. Doesn’t matter. Paul George rightfully was ejected and is going to pay a hefty fine for this.

It started in the third quarter when Jimmy Butler drove the basket and George was called for a foul. PG13 was a little frustrated, and as the ball rolled along the baseline he kicked it — and it flew into the stands and hit a fan. George instantly walks over and apologizes, nobody seems terribly put out by all of it.

But kicking a ball into the stands is an automatic ejection. There is no gray area here.

Because of the lack of malice I don’t expect a suspension for this, but the NBA’s fine/suspension system is pretty much roulette so who knows what number comes up.

The Pacers hung on to win the game 111-94.

Watch Bulls’ tribute video to Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah (with Chance the Rapper)

Leave a comment

Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah — two legendary Bulls players — were welcomed back to Chicago Friday night.

Well, Noah was welcomed back with open arms, Rose heard a few boos.

The Bulls organization knocked it out of the park — like a Cubs hitter — with their tribute video featuring Chance the Rapper.

Noah, Rose, and the Knicks got the win.