DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin were dunking on Spurs early (VIDEOS)


The first eight minutes of Game 5 Tuesday night was pretty much the Clippers’ dream scenario — the Spurs were missing shots, the Clippers were getting out and running, and it was a dunkfest. The fans at Staples Center loved it.

Above was DeAndre Jordan finishing the alley-oop from Chris Paul. Then there was Blake Griffin — who had 21 points in the first half — doing his thing.

The Clippers were up by 14 early, but the Spurs battled back — not so coincidentally when Doc Rivers went to the Clipper bench — and by the middle of the second quarter this was a game. As we have come to expect from this series.

Watch Chris Paul, Blake Griffin combine for big days to even Clippers with Spurs (VIDEO)


The Clippers needed their big stars to step up Sunday, or they were going to be in a very deep hole. They got it.

Chris Paul had 34 points on 19 shots, Blake Griffin had 20 points on 17 shots, and the Los Angeles Clippers looked like the best offense in the land putting up 114 points on the Spurs and evening that series at 2-2. Above you can check out what Griffin and Paul did.

Although the real star may have been Austin Rivers — his 16 points off the bench was the kind of depth the Clippers have been missing this series.

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


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.

Report: Pelicans to be “aggressive” about Anthony Davis extension offer


Fresh off the franchise’s first playoff appearance since 2011 (when they were known as the Hornets), the Pelicans will soon be faced with the prospect of locking up Anthony Davis long-term. To the surprise of absolutely no one, they plan on offering Davis the most money and years possible at the earliest moment they can: just past midnight on July 1.

From’s Marc Stein:

With star forward Anthony Davis eligible for a contract extension this summer, Pelicans officials plan to be aggressive as possible in presenting him with a maximum five-year deal that could approach $140 million, according to league sources.

The exact figures will depend on how much the NBA salary cap deal actually rises, but sources told that the Pelicans indeed intend to present Davis with the biggest offer they can once the window for negotiations opens July 1.

The Pelicans would then have until Oct. 31 to convince Davis to sign a five-year deal that makes him their Designated Player.

Offering Davis this extension is a no-brainer. He’s 22 and already an MVP candidate and arguably one of the five best players in the world. And with the salary cap jumping as much as it is in 2016, Davis would be hard-pressed to turn down this much guaranteed money. Some rookie-scale extensions go down to the October 31 deadline, but the most high-profile ones, maximum extensions for face-of-the-franchise type guys, tend to get done quickly. Kyrie Irving committed to a maximum extension on the first night of free agency last year, and deals for Kevin Durant (2010), Blake Griffin (2012) and John Wall (2013) were done early on in free agency. Don’t be surprised to see the Blazers lock Damian Lillard up to a similar extension as early as possible.

PBT Extra: Thin bench becomes big issue for Clippers against Spurs


Blake Griffin has come under more criticism following a triple double than maybe any player in NBA playoff history. (LeBron James against the Mavericks back in 2011 is on the ridiculous list, too.) The Clippers are not close in Game 2 without a huge night from Griffin, but his turnover late in regulation with Los Angeles up two allowed San Antonio to tie the game and force overtime, where the Spurs eventually won.

The amazing Jenna Corrado asks me if the criticism is fair. Welcome to the playoffs. Fair is irrelevant. But I think this points to how the Clippers lack of depth left them making mistakes late — Chris Paul, Griffin, and the rest were exhausted. You could see it — the Clippers play an aggressive defense, play an uptempo game, and their starters carry a heavy load of minutes because Doc Rivers can’t trust his bench. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to make mental and physical mistakes. Like late turnovers, or not getting back on Patty Mills leak out, or Matt Barnes getting burned on Kawhi Leonard’s fake zipper cut and move to the basket. All of that happened late.

This series is incredibly close. The injury to Tony Parker is part of what will determine the outcome. But so too will the fact Doc has to lean so heavily on his starters.