Kurt Helin

Cory Morse/The Grand Rapids Press via AP

Doc Rivers calls Branden Dawson arrest “terrible situation,” says it’s too early for official team action

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LOS ANGELES — As if Doc Rivers didn’t have enough on-the-court issues to deal with — his Clippers got thumped by the Cavaliers Sunday and now head out on a road trip that includes the Spurs and Warriors — he had the arrest of one of his players to deal with Sunday.

Clipper rookie Branden Dawson, who spent most of the season in the D-League, was arrested Sunday morning on charges of felony domestic abuse. Rivers said it was too soon to know what they Clippers would do about it.

“Obviously, it’s an awful situation as far as I’m concerned, I have a daughter,” Doc Rivers said after his team got crushed by the Cavaliers Sunday. “It’s a terrible situation, but we’ll figure out what we want to do and how we want to handle it.”

When pressed on it, noting other teams have suspended players, Rivers said it was simply too early to say how the team would respond.

Dawson was arrested at 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning and was not with the team when they faced the Cavs as he was still in jail until after tip-off. He did not come to the arena.

The Clippers selected Dawson in the second round of the 2015 draft out of Michigan State. He has a non-guaranteed contract for next season with the Clippers.

Kanye West offers to redesign Clippers “Chuck the Condor” mascot

Associated Press
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If you’re the most ridiculed thing to do with the Los Angeles Clippers, that is saying something.

Right now, the new mascot Chuck the Condor has that title.

It’s gotten to the point Kanye West wants in on the redesign.

Having seen the Yeezy Adidas line of shoes, I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.

Chuck was having none of it and threw some shade back at Kanye.

Score one for Chuck. Plus he’s got other influential friends.

Cavaliers look playoff ready, Clippers look like they miss Blake Griffin in blowout loss

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LOS ANGELES — The results were clear.

One team looked like an elite team getting its execution down before the playoffs. There was dribble penetration, the ball moved, the shots fell, the defense was sharp.

One team looked like it was missing a key player.

The result was an old-fashioned shellacking, with Cleveland beating the Los Angeles Clippers 114-90 in a game that felt over by the half. LeBron James had 27 points, Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith each had 17, and the Cavaliers hit 18 threes (shooting 48.6 percent).

“We made shots,” Irving said of what went right. “We made them come into defensive rotations, made it uncomfortable for DeAndre (Jordan) to come and guard Kevin (Love) when we go small and LeBron goes to the four, so it’s hard for them to match up with us when we go small like that. Also with our pick-and-roll game… we’re just going with what was working. Whether it was me attacking or LeBron going downhill, we were creating and with our pace feel like they couldn’t run with us.”

The Cavs looked like a team ready for the playoffs.

“We’re kind of getting in form right now,” LeBron said. “I think coach (Tyronn) Lue has done a great job of finding out his rhythm, of finding out what he wants from us, and we are responding. We have a great rotation right now and guys are healthy, so we are just trying to pay the game the right way.”

Cleveland played big and they played small effectively at different times. Offensively they got into the paint and then either finished or kicked out — then the ball didn’t stick, the Cavs were making the extra pass and a lot of their threes were open and in the flow of the offense. LeBron said there was only one three he could recall — a Smith heat-check three in front of the Clippers bench — that wasn’t in the flow, and laughingly added Smith gets to take those.

When the threes are falling for Cleveland — and Channing Frye was essential for this, hitting 5-of-7 — they are almost impossible to stop.

The Clippers, on the other hand, may have put up an impressive record without Blake Griffin (39-22), but up against the elite teams he is missed. And the drop off is dramatic — the Clippers starting forwards of Jeff Green and Luc Mbah a Moute were a combined 3-of-15 shooting, plus they were torched all game by LeBron and Love defensively. It was ugly. The Clippers spread pick-and-roll offense can mask the loss of Griffin against lesser teams, but not contenders such as the Cavaliers.

“It gets real tough (playing without Griffin),” Chris Paul said. “They have three, four guys out there that no shot clock can bail you out (of). Just having Blake to be able to throw the ball into the post, when the shot clock is low, or just that pick-and-roll, just having that pick-and-pop option. Just all the attention that he brings opens it up for all of is. So it has been tough without him, but we have to keep fighting until he gets back.”

That fight moves into a brutal five-game road trip for the Clippers that starts Tuesday in San Antonio and also includes stops in Houston, Memphis, New Orleans, and finally Golden State.  Originally the Clippers hoped to have Griffin back on this trip, but Rivers said that a quad injury (why Griffin had missed a few games before he broke his hand when he punched a team employee) is what is holding him back now. There is no time

Cleveland finishes up their road trip Monday in Utah. The Cavs are 3-0 on the trip so far.

Celtics’ Jae Crowder out at least a couple weeks with high ankle sprain

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For a while it has looked like Boston was locked in as the three seed in the East, potentially lining them up for a second round matchup against Toronto (where the Celtics thought they had a shot). But this news could lead to a slide down the standings in the final month before the playoffs start.

Boston’s Jae Crowder — their “3&D” glue guy — will be out at least a couple weeks with a high ankle sprain. From Jimmy Toscano of CSNNE.com.

The gritty forward will miss at least the next two weeks due to a high right ankle sprain, Brad Stevens announced after Sunday’s practice… The fact that Stevens said he’d be out a “minimum couple weeks” leaves the door open for a longer recovery time.

Crowder sprained the ankle in the third quarter of Friday’s loss to the Houston Rockets after driving to the hoop for a layup. He stayed in the game for a short time after, but was taken out and did not return.

High ankle sprains can take close to a month to heal (depending), which would take Boston all the way to the playoffs.

The Celtics are 4.6 points per 100 possessions better this season with Crowder on the court, but that underestimates what his defense, versatility, shooting (35 percent from three), and hustle brings to the Celtics’ top lineups. He averaged 14.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game. Now the Celtics will need to play more Jonas Jerebko and Evan Turner, which are considerable drop offs.

Boston is the current three seed in the East, but teams are bunched up in the middle of the conference — the Celtics are just two games ahead of the six seed Hawks. Those teams could see some position juggling, with every team trying to stay off the Cavaliers’ side of the bracket (teams don’t want the four/five seeds).

 

LeBron James shows off dunking skills against Clippers. More than once.

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LOS ANGELES — LeBron James and the Cavaliers did whatever they wanted to the Clippers defense through three quarters — drive the lane, post guys up, hit threes, get out in transition. The Clippers couldn’t stop any of it — Cleveland put up 91 points in three quarters and led by 23.

The catalyst for this was LeBron, who had 27 points through three. That included some impressive threes, but not quite as impressive as his drives and dunks. Like the one above.

Or this one in transition.