LOS ANGELES (AP) — Doc Rivers and Jim Boylen were both ejected from the Clippers’ game against Chicago on Friday night after the coaches began arguing in the third quarter.
The Clippers led 91-76 with 1:10 remaining in the period when Boylen thought that Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell was too aggressive on an offensive foul and started yelling across the other side of the court at Rivers.
Both started arguing near their respective benches when official Jason Phillips assessed the first technical. Boylen and Rivers continued to argue which caused Phillips to assess the second technical and an automatic ejection.
It is the second time Rivers has been ejected this season and the first for Boylen.
Pete Meyers took over for the Bulls and Rex Kalamian for the Clippers.
Three Things to Know: C.J. McCollum singlehandedly outscores Clippers in fourth
LOS ANGELES —Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA. Tonight we come from Staples Center.
1) C.J. McCollum singlehandedly outscores Clippers in fourth, Portland picks up a key road win. C.J. McCollum was all smiles Tuesday night.
Then there was his 35-point night against the Clippers. That started off slow — he missed his first seven shots and didn’t get his first bucket until there was 2.7 seconds left in the first half — but when it mattered McCollum was the difference. In the fourth quarter he scored 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting to take over the game, singlehandedly outscoring a Clippers team that had 20 points on 8-of-24 shooting.
“What was it like to watch?” the Clippers’ Lou Williams said of McCollum’s fourth. “It’s not a good time.”
“I don’t ever get gun shy,” McCollum said. “I’ve missed a lot of shots in my career, and percentage wise you’re going to miss more than you make, especially from three. You just have to stay confident, stay aggressive, and know who you are.”
Portland turned a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter into a 125-104 victory, outscoring the Clippers 40-20 in the final frame. In a tight West, games like this against other playoff teams matter. Portland is currently tied for the 4/5 seed with Oklahoma City, and 1.5 behind three-seed Houston. Those teams could land in any order by the time the playoffs start.
The same is true of the 6-7-8 seeds in the West — which includes the Clippers. Los Angeles sits as the six seed right now, but just one game separates them, San Antonio, and Utah for those final three spots. (Sacramento is four games out of the playoffs, they are not making up that ground late in the season.)
Despite the loss, there’s an energy and confidence in the Clippers locker room. They had three games in four nights against strong NBA teams — Boston, Oklahoma City, and now Portland — and they won two of them. But on the second night of a back-to-back, the Clippers’ legs started to get tired and that’s all the space McCollum needed
“You could tell, [Lou] Williams didn’t have the same energy tonight,” Clipper coach Doc Rivers said. “Overall, none of us did. I thought it was a very winnable game until that stretch [in the fourth quarter].”
Both of these teams are going to be tough outs come the West playoffs. Portland has one of the league’s best backcourts with Damian Lillard and McCollum, they have size up front, they can defend, they have a good bench (most nights), and they have experience.
The Clippers have a real energy and physicality. Montrezl Harrell is a beast off the bench, Lou Williams is a scoring machine who attacks and draws fouls, Danilo Gallinari (who was rested Tuesday night) gets them buckets, and those three are surrounded by versatile role players. The Clippers may not win their first-round series, but whoever they face is going to come out beat up on the other side.
2) LeBron put on his own personal dunk contest in Chicago. The Lakers have not been entertaining to watch of late, but LeBron James decided to change that in Chicago Tuesday night. He had 36 points in his limited minutes, and he was putting on a dunking exhibition inside the United Center.
LeBron James on Josh Hart's lob off the glass: "I tell him to just put it anywhere. I gotta go get it. That's my job to go get it, but sometimes some of the best lobs are some of the worst passes [laughs]. Just got to make it happen." (via @SpectrumSN) #Lakers
On Russell Westbrook and the fan in Utah, LeBron James supports Westbrook and the Jazz for banning the fan. He added there’s a bold line, not a fine line, between cheering for your team and being disrespectful. “Everyone knows when you’re crossing that line.” pic.twitter.com/XiCEZcaWdw
“We forget that this is a human game sometimes, the players have to be human, and the fans have to be human,” Rivers said. “What I always tell our players is that human decency comes into play — be decent to the fans, in a human way, and they need to be that to you. And if they’re not, if [the player] can not react, that’d be great. But sometimes as a human it’s very difficult not to react. But either way you alert people. And I thought that’s what happened. They handled it well.”
Three Things to Know: LeBron James, Lakers will almost certainly miss playoffs
Every day in the NBA, there is a lot to unpack. So, every weekday morning throughout the season, we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.
1) The Lakers lost a big game to the Clippers. With a chance to gain ground on the team they were chasing for the playoffs, the Lakers had all their usual problems – shooting, defense, injury – in a loss to the Clippers last night. Kurt Helin was there and wrote about it.
This loss has the Lakers’ postseason pursuit nearly completely unraveled. But they were barely hanging on by a thread, anyway. They’re now 5.5 games and two teams out of playoff position with 18 games remaining. They’re as close in the standings to the 14th-place Grizzlies as the eight-place Spurs. Most struggling teams get written off even before last night’s loss.
That he almost certainly won’t is a huge blow to the NBA. The league’s premier teams – Lakers and Knicks – are now each going on six straight years without making the playoffs. That leaves a lot of revenue on the table.
It seemed LeBron would be the antidote to Los Angeles’ struggles. That hasn’t happened as quickly as hoped.
Patrick Beverley on who the Clippers play for: “That’s who we do it for: The people in the back. … The blue-collar people who don’t have a lot given to them. Who work for everything they deserve. And that’s what we’re doing right now. We do it for them.” pic.twitter.com/sTxGPB7swK
Patrick Beverley said he had a chip on his shoulder for this game because the Lakers drafted him and traded him to Miami, who cut him when LeBron James got there: “I remember it like it was yesterday. So, yeah, it’s a chip on my shoulder.” pic.twitter.com/nSP5rS1MhL
The Clippers are in transition. They’ve kept their books clean to chase stars like Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant next summer. They traded their best player, Tobias Harris, shortly before the trade deadline for primarily draft picks. They owe the Celtics a first-round pick if they make the playoffs.
Credit owner Steve Ballmer, who set the tone for a playoff push amid directional uncertainty. Credit Doc Rivers for getting a team full of players on expiring contracts to pull the same direction. And credit these players – including Danilo Gallinari, Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams and Beverley – for being tougher, harder-working and just plain better than so many of their opponents.
3) Dwyane Wade brought a new element to his jersey swaps – surprise. In his final season, Wade has swapped jerseys with an opponent after most games. Usually, these photo-ops seem pre-arranged. Wade has already picked and informed the opposing player before the game.
But after the Heat’s win over the Hawks last night, Wade swapped jerseys with rookie Kevin Huerter, who wears No. 3 because of Wade. Both Wade and Huerter said the Atlanta guard had no idea in advance, and Huerter looked thrilled. It was an especially fun moment:
Kyle Kuzma shoves LeBron James to try to get him in defensive position
LOS ANGELES — The Lakers’ defense has been dreadful.
In the 13 games since LeBron James returned from his groin injury, the Lakers have the worst defense in the NBA, giving up 116.3 points per 100 possessions. Their effort has been up and down, but they have lacked basic defensive recognition and cohesion.
This is on Kuzma, not LeBron. Watch the clip and you see LeBron was guarding Montrezl Harrell, Kuzma is on Gallinari and just falls asleep and lets him get open. Then Kuzma shoves LeBron to get him out there, even though it’s not LeBron’s man.
Kuzma would later leave the game with an ankle injury that, while the X-rays were negative, coach Luke Walton said would probably sideline him for at least a game. Another injury to a banged up Lakers’ team.
The Lakers are 4-9 since LeBron came back from his groin injury, 2-4 since the All-Star break when LeBron “activated” playoff mode. The defense is the reason — and the reason their playoff dreams are all but dead.
Clippers solidify playoff chances with 116-109 win over Kings
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) —Landry Shamet scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, Lou Williams made two free throws with 7.9 seconds left and the Los Angeles Clippers held off the Sacramento Kings 116-109 on Friday night.
Danilo Gallinari had 19 points and nine rebounds, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 and Ivica Zubac added 10 points and 10 rebounds to help the Clippers complete a season sweep of the Kings in a game that was critical for both teams’ postseason hopes.
The Clippers end the night the seven seed in the West, three full games (two in the loss column) ahead of the 10-seed Kings (and four full games up on the Lakers who lost to the Bucks Friday). The Kings are 2.5 games behind the Spurs, who are the eight seed and the team holding the final playoff slot in the West.
The Kings trimmed a 13-point deficit to 110-107 with 1:16 remaining following back-to-back dunks from Harrison Barnes and Cauley-Stein.
Williams made a short jumper then added two free throws after Fox scored on a layup. Montrezl Harrell added a pair of free throws with 1.5 seconds left.
The Clippers have won nine straight against the Kings.
Neither team gained much of an advantage during a back-and-forth first half. The Clippers led by 10 midway through the first quarter but Harry Giles made back-to-back shots and Hield added three free throws to put the Kings ahead 56-52 at halftime.