Tag: Jamal Crawford

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven

Chris Paul strains hamstring, heads to locker room, but returns


Here is how key Chris Paul has been to Los Angeles in the playoffs: When he’s been on the floor in the first six games the Clippers are +12, when he sits they are -17.

So when he pulled up with a strained hamstring late in the first quarter, all of Clippers nation held its breath.

Paul was leading a fast break when he reached back and grabbed his hamstring — it didn’t stop him from shouldering Patty Mills, creating space and draining a three. But he almost instantly went to the bench and put his head in his hands.

Then he went to the locker room.

He came back out eight minutes later, stretched on the bench for a second, then re-entered the game to a huge ovation from the fans. That said, he was clearly hobbling, not moving well at all. His lateral movement was noticeably slower.

Thanks to nine points from Jamal Crawford, the Clippers were only -2 with Paul out, staying right with the Spurs in a tight Game 7.

Clippers’ Glen Davis questionable for Game 7 vs. Spurs

Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are a team built on the strong foundation of their starting lineup, and once you get past Jamal Crawford, there are few if any reliable reserves to be found.

Besides Crawford, only Austin Rivers and Glen Davis have played double-digit minutes consistently off the bench in the first round of the playoffs against the Spurs, and after Davis left Game 6 with an ankle injury, his status is in doubt for Saturday’s Game 7.

From Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles:

Los Angeles Clippers forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis is questionable for Saturday’s Game 7 against the San Antonio Spurs with a left ankle sprain.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Davis would be a game-time decision with the team not holding a practice Friday or shootaround on Saturday. …

“I don’t know how serious it is. I know Big Baby’s a worker,” Chris Paul said. “Guys stepped up when he went down, but we need him. We need him. Baby’s an emotional leader for our team. He really leads that second unit, and we have an amazing training staff, I think the best training staff in the league. Those guys will get him ready to go by Saturday.”

Paul’s overly-optimistic remarks show just how important Davis is to the rotation.

He’s the only big man to come off the bench for the Clippers thus far in the playoffs, and though Davis is only averaging 12.5 minutes per contest, L.A. needs to not be too undersized out there during the brief moments that Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan come out of the game to get some rest.

In a Game 7, though, with the season literally on the line, Doc Rivers may just choose to play his starters even heavier minutes than usual.

Big second half from Chris Paul powers Clippers to win, forces Game 7 vs. Spurs

Los Angeles Clippers v San Antonio Spurs - Game Six

This series had to have a Game 7.

It’s been too good not to — two of the three best teams in the NBA right now (sorry Cleveland, Houston) forced to face off in the first round when this could have been a conference finals.

Game 6 lived up to the hype. In a series where Chris Paul and Blake Griffin had often struggled late in games, they flipped the script Thursday night. Paul had 15 points and seven assists in the second half, while Griffin added 18 and had a key block on Tim Duncan with 5:50 left in the game.

“I thought Chris and Blake took the game over. We didn’t stop them, and they were tremendous,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

Those two did enough to power the Clippers to a 102-96 win in San Antonio Thursday night. This forces a Game 7 back in Los Angeles Saturday night (8 p.m. Eastern on TNT).

The way this series has gone, that game may be more entertaining than the Mayweather-Pacquiao that follows.

“I’ve been saying this all year, this team is mentally tough,” Doc Rivers said after the win.

“We lost because the Clippers were determined, physical, focused, played harder than we did,” a smoldering Popovich said postgame. “We were soft on loose balls, we’d get a rebound they’d knock it out of our hands, hard time getting open — I thought their physicality in that regard was great. We were just soft. I’m not sure how we stayed in the game to be honest with you.

As you would expect in a closeout game, the Clippers came out with a sense of urgency. Their pressure defense looked quicker than it had all series and forced eight first-quarter Spurs turnovers, which led to easy buckets in transition. Those points plus DeAndre Jordan altering shots inside, and J.J. Redick starting 4-of-5 shooting, made this what should have been a perfect start for the Clippers, who led by as many as seven in the first. But, as it has been all series, the Clipper bench came in and things instantly tightened up. By the end of the first it was 26-26. The Clippers could not create separation.

The second quarter became the Marco Belinelli show for the Spurs as he came in and went 4-of-4 from three, part of a 9-0 run. Then the Spurs went to hack-a-DJ, and it helped open the lead up to 10, although that was more about the Clippers missing 19 three pointers in a row (across two games). However, with the intentional fouling Tim Duncan and Tony Parker picked up their third fouls and went to the bench, the Clippers brought their starters back in, and the Clippers went on an 11-4 run.

The score was 51-51 at the half. Yet the Clippers had to feel fairly good about that considering CP3 was 0-of-7 while as a team they were 1-of-9 from three.

The Clippers came out hitting their shots in the third quarter to take a 10-point lead. Doc Rivers went with his shooters and had his small lineup doing damage, led by CP3 making plays — six games into the series and the Spurs have not come close to solving the Clips double high screen play. Paul had help from  Griffin, who had struggled in the fourth quarter throughout the series was 3-of-3 in the final frame plus had some big defensive plays down the stretch.

Of course, there were close calls late. Jamal Crawford got away with a walk late. Boris Diaw got caught on an offensive shot interference call tipping in a missed shot while it was over the cylinder. A lot of things could have gone another way, befitting this series.

The Spurs got 23 points off the bench from Belinelli — he was 7-of-11 from three on the night and hit a shot in the final minute to keep the Clippers on edge. Borris Diaw added 17 points. Kawhi Leonard had a rough night, shooting 3-of-15 and not being his usual self on defense.

J.J. Redick had 19 points for Los Angeles; Paul had 19 points and 15 assists, Griffin had 26 points.

It was not all good news for the Clippers. Glen Davis had to leave the game — and be wheeled back to the locker room — for what was officially called a sprained ankle but looked to be something worse with a foot he had broken a couple years back.

Game 7 could go either way — four of the six wins in this series have come on the road. All the games save one have been decided late because these are two evenly-matched teams. Two title contenders standing toe-to-toe, trading blows.

This series had to have a Game 7.

Clippers frustrated with officials, themselves, must find way to regroup in 48 hours

Doc Rivers, Josh Tiven

LOS ANGELES — To a man, the Clippers tried not to blame the officials for their Game 5 loss… but you could tell they wanted to.

“I don’t complain much,” Doc Rivers said, in the quintessential line that tells you complaints are coming. “I thought we got some really tough calls tonight. Some brutal calls. The travel on Blake (Griffin), the goaltend on Matt (Barnes), which wasn’t a goaltend. You think about the playoffs, and they’re single-possession games. Those possessions those were crucial. J.J. (Redick’s) foul that got him (fouled) out, J.J. didn’t touch anyone.

“It’s not why we lost, but those were big plays for us.”

The referees are never the sole reason a team loses, that includes the Clippers on Tuesday night. In this case, the Clippers were 1-of-14 from three, and DeAndre Jordan tipped in a ball over the cylinder that could have had Los Angeles up  with seven seconds to go. (After the game Jordan admitted touching the ball.) There were other plays they missed.

But the Clippers felt the calls in the fourth quarter didn’t go their way and robbed them of some opportunities. They were very frustrated as a team. And they have a point, plenty of calls didn’t go their way that should have — Jamal Crawford got called for bodying Tony Parker on the baseline when Parker hooked his arm around Crawford and pulled him into his body. Rivers was right about the Matt Barnes goaltend, and the Blake Griffin travels being poor calls.

Then there was the technical on Chris Paul, which confused Rivers and the Clippers players — and ended up being costly late.

“I thought if anything, (the technical foul) was a delay of game,” Paul said after the game. “In the other 82 games, it would have been a delay of fame but they didn’t call it.”

While the calls didn’t go their way, the Clippers got frustrated and at moments flustered in a way the Spurs simply don’t when they don’t get the breaks.

“We have to give credit to the Spurs. We’ve got to play through our mistakes,” Paul said.

“I’ll be frustrated all night…” Rivers said. “There’s nothing wrong with frustration. I have no problem with guys being frustrated, you have 48 hours or whatever to get over it, and we will.”

They need to get over it by tip off Thursday night — they can’t afford to have a hangover from this game, fall behind in San Antonio and play catch-up. The Spurs don’t want to make another flight back to Los Angeles, they want to close the game out so Saturday nights they can go to watch Mayweather vs. Pacquiao parties on Saturday. You can be sure the Spurs will bring it.

Can the Clippers?

“Yeah, it’s a gettable game,” Blake Griffin said. “It’s not going to be easy by any means, this is what they do. They’re a great team, a well-coached team, and they’ve been in this situation before. But we’ve also been in tough situations. We’ve also played in some tough games, some games on the road that we needed to win, and we did.

“I expect us to be ready.”

Chris Paul scores 34 points, Clippers win Game 4 to even series with Spurs

Tiago Splitter, Chris Paul

The Clippers were in desperation mode entering Sunday’s Game 4 against the Spurs, and after the previous game where they never led and trailed by as many as 37 points, you knew things would be different for them from the opening tip.

L.A. brought the energy from the very start, got superstar performances from Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and was able to pull away for the 114-105 win in San Antonio to even the best-of-seven series.

Paul was magnificent, and finished with 34 points on 11-of-19 shooting, to go along with seven assists. He really took over in the fourth, scoring 10 of his points in the final period — a feat even more impressive when considering the fact that he picked up his fifth personal foul with 8:25 to play, yet was able to remain aggressive the rest of the way.

Griffin, meanwhile, finished with 20 points, but his work on the glass in hauling down 19 rebounds was even more critical to his team’s success.

The Clippers got a huge boost off the bench from Austin Rivers, who finished with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting in 17 minutes of action. A reserve unit which usually only features Jamal Crawford as a capable scorer benefited greatly from Rivers’ shifts, as he was aggressive and attacking on the offensive end of the floor where he was seemingly (and uncharacteristically) unable to be stopped.

On the Spurs’ side, San Antonio was competitive for most of it, as expected. Kawhi Leonard had another solid overall performance in finishing with 26 points, seven rebounds and five assists, but he wasn’t nearly as impactful as he’d been in the last two contests. Danny Green missed all six of his attempts from three-point distance, and Patty Mills provided an early spark, but then seemed to get too many minutes later on when Tony Parker might have been more under control, and better able to guide the San Antonio ship.

It was as close to a must-win as possible for the Clippers, who would have faced the daunting task of trying to beat the Spurs three straight times just to keep their season alive had they fallen in this one. But Paul and Griffin made sure that the series would be headed back to Los Angeles all tied up at two games apiece.