Category Archives: Clippers

Clippers Trade Chris Paul To Houston

June 28, 2017

Chris Paul shocked the NBA world on Wednesday morning, informing the Clippers that he would be signing with the Houston Rockets when free agency begins.  That prompted an agreement where Paul opted into the final year of his contract, allowing the Clippers to trade him to Houston.

In return, the Clippers received guards Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, forwards Sam Dekker,  Montrezl Harrell, and a 2018 1st round pick.  The pick is top 3 protected.  The Clippers will also received three other players with non-guaranteed contracts in order to make the trade work under the salary cap: DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, and Kyle Wiltjer.

The trade ends a six-year run for Paul with the Clippers, who was arguably the best player in the history of the franchise.  He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in assists, second in steals, fourth in free-throw percentage and sixth in points.

Paul was eligible for a 5-year $205 million contract.  However, according to one team executive, the team was not interested in offering the full 5-year term, and also not interested in granting him a no-trade clause.  Paul would have made $46 million in the final year of that contract at 38 years old, which was not attractive to the team.

Other team sources indicated that Paul’s relationship had grown extremely rocky with head coach Doc Rivers.  The tension was reportedly over Rivers’ perceived unwillingness to include his son Austin, in a trade for Carmelo Anthony back in February.  Paul and others had also perceived Coach Rivers as unwilling to criticize his son while issuing criticism of other players.  Austin Rivers took to Twitter later Wednesday to deny that these stories were true.

Sources also indicated that there was tension between Paul and Blake Griffin, and that both had grown tired of playing with each other.  Griffin, along with J.J. Redick, are schedule to be unrestricted free agents as of this Saturday.  The Clippers however, remain confident that Griffin will re-sign with them for the 5 years and $175 million they plan on offering him.

By agreeing to opt into the final year of his contract, Paul will make just over $22 million next season, and he’ll be eligible for that 5-year $205 million next summer, if he were to re-sign with the Rockets.  Paul will also form a dynamic backcourt in Houston, with MVP runner up James Harden.  Houston also continues to push for a Paul George trade, and would be interested in acquiring Carmelo Anthony if he were to be bought out by the Knicks.

The trade enabled the Clippers to get something in return for Paul, who would have otherwise departed for nothing in unrestricted free agency.

Beverly is one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders, and on a team friendly contract that pays him $5.5 million next season, with a team option for the following season.  Dekker, 23, is an athletic player with decent three-point range.  Williams is one of the NBA’s best sixth men, and Harrell is a high-energy player who will be entering only his third season in the league.

Even if the Clippers were to re-sign Griffin, they could still potentially have about $70 million in cap space in the summer of 2018, with an excellent free agent class available.

During his six seasons in LA, Paul averaged 18.8 points, 9.8 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals while committing only 2.3 turnovers per game. He was named to three All-NBA first teams, two All-NBA second teams and six All-Defensive first teams.

He took to Twitter to thank the Clippers and their fans.   He wrote “Unbelievable amount of emotions right now — I don’t even know what to say. Lots of love and tears. I’m so blessed and thankful for the ability to play this game, this is the part that no one can prepare you for.”

The Clippers also waived retiring forward Paul Pierce on Wednesday to adhere to the NBA’s roster limit of 20 during the offseason.

 

 

Jerry West Joins Clippers

June 14, 2017

Jerry West is joining the Clippers as a consultant.  West informed the media that he is leaving the Golden State Warriors to take on a similar role with the Clippers.

“Sometimes you need to be challenged. I’ve kind of been defiant my whole life, the way I was raised, and I think this is like the defiant streak in me. I don’t know,” West said.

The move was first reported by Sports Illustrated, and the Clippers’ interest in West was first reported  nearly two weeks ago by ESPN’s Marc Stein.

The move is huge for the Clippers, who will leverage West’s expertise as part of their strategy to retain their key free agents Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and JJ Redick.

The move is somewhat awkward for West’s former team, the Lakers, who he desired to return to.  However, West’s vision reportedly didn’t fit with what the Lakers were looking to do according to NBA sources.

Although he was a Hall of Fame player with the Lakers, West is also considered one of the greatest NBA executives in the history of the game.

He served as General Manager of the Lakers from 1982-2002, and was the architect of six championship teams.  They included the Showtime Laker Championship Teams in ’85, ’87, ’88.  As well as the Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant Championship teams of 2000, 2001, and 2002.  West later helped the Memphis Grizzlies become a playoff team, and is widely cited for his role in advising the Warriors over the last few years in building their championship team.

Speaking of the Lakers, they may have some concern that Jerry may now try to lure his son, Ryan, away from the Lakers to join the Clipper front office.  Ryan is currently the Lakers assistant General Manager.

Jazz Eliminate Clippers In Game 7

April 30, 2017

Gordon Hayward scored 26 points , and the Jazz eliminated the Clippers at Staples Center on Sunday afternoon with a 104-91 victory.

The Clippers were eliminated from the 1st round of the playoffs for the 2nd straight season.  They’ve also blown a series lead in the last 5 postseasons.  Last season LA was eliminated by Portland when both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were injured.  This year, the Clippers were without Griffin, after losing him to a toe injury in game 3.

George Hill and Derek Favors each scored 17 points for Utah, which won its first playoff series since 2010.

“We’ve been through some pretty hard downs,” said Hayward.  “It definitely feels really good to go from 25 wins to where we were this year making the playoffs, winning a series.”

DeAndre Jordan led the way for the Clippers with 24 points and 17 rebounds, and Jamal Crawford scored the majority of his 20 points late in the game, but it wasn’t enough to rally the Clips.

The Clippers’ starting backcourt struggled.  Chris Paul, who was double teamed for much of the afternoon, scored 13 points and had 9 assists, but was just 6-19 from the field.  He also tweaked an ankle in the 3rd quarter, which slowed him down.  JJ Redick, who struggled for most of the series, had 3 points on 1-5 shooting.

Paul was disappointed, but attributed part of the problem to defense.  “It came down to today to keep us afloat, keep us alive,” he said.  “We’re done.  Late when we did start scoring, we couldn’t get stops.”

After an even 1st quarter, the Jazz opened up a lead as large as 11 points in the 2nd quarter, and took a 46-39 lead into halftime.

The 3rd quarter saw the Jazz open up with a 23-9 run, which blew the game open, and extended the lead to 69-48.  With Rudy Gobert in foul trouble, Boris Diaw contributed 8 points in that stretch, and the Jazz complete 3 different 3-point plays.

Utah was in command for most of the 4th quarter, ahead by as many as 17 points, despite the fact that Favors and Gobert were plagued with foul trouble, as both big men fouled out.

Redick’s only basket of the game, a 3-pointer with 3:28 to play, cut the Jazz lead to 98-90, but the Clips could not get any closer.  A 13-foot jumper by George Hill, a Redick missed layup, followed by two made free throws by Joe Johnson pushed the lead back to 12 with two minutes left.

The only lead of the game for LA was by a single point just minutes into the game.  They shot 44% from the field and were outscored 56-46 in the paint.

The Clippers now head into the offseason with a multitude of questions hanging over them.  Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have the ability to opt out of their contracts’ and become free agents.  JJ Redick will also become an unrestricted free agent.  Re-signing any 2 of them would require incurring luxury tax penalties.

Game 7 may also have been the final game of Paul Pierce’s NBA career.  The 19-year NBA veteran had 6 points and 3 rebounds in 21 minutes.  He has previously said this would be the final season of his Hall of Fame career.

The Jazz now face the Warriors in the 2nd round of the playoffs beginning on Tuesday night in Oakland.

 

Ducks Beat Oilers To Get Back in Series

April 30, 2017

The Ducks scored a franchise record 6 goals on Sunday night in Alberta, defeating the Oilers 6-3 in game 3 of their 2nd round series.  The Ducks now trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

The final score was not indicative of how competitive the game was.  Anaheim jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but the Oilers fought back to tie the score, putting together a relentless attack in the 2nd period.  However, the Ducks scored 3 unanswered goals to retake control of the game, and get back in the series.

Rikard Rakell, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Wagner, and Ryan Kessler scored for the Ducks, as did Jakob Silfverberg, who scored a pair.  John Gibson made 24 saves, including several on a pair of big stops on a 3-on-1 Oiler break in the 2nd period.

The Oiler goals came from Patrick Maroon, Anton Slepyshev, and Connor McDavid.  Cam Talbot made 22 saves for Edmonton, but he had a moment in the 2nd period he probably wants back.

Less than a minute after the Oilers tied the game, Wagner fired a slap shot from a sharp angle from the right wing boards, which deflected in off of Talbot’s blocker.  That ended up being the game-winning goal, at 9:28 of the 2nd period.

Anaheim caught several breaks after that.  The Oilers were on a power play a few minutes after Wagner’s goal, when Leon Draisaitl beat Gibson cleanly with a sharp angle shot.  Unfortunately for the Oilers, that shot bounced off the post, keeping the Ducks lead at 4-3.

Then in the 3rd period, when Silfverberg scored his 2nd of the game at 4:56, it appeared as though he was offside on the play.  Despite a coaches challenge, the officials ruled that it was a goal.

Kessler would close out the scoring halfway through the 3rd period, and the Ducks were on their way to their first win of the series.

Rakell took a long pass from Getzlaf and got behind the Oilers defense to score on a breakaway just 25 seconds into the game.  That was the fastest playoff goal to start a game in franchise history.

Silfverberg pounced on a loose puck a little over 5 minutes into the game when Adam Larsson was unable to clear the puck away from Talbot.

Getzlaf made it 3-0 at 8:09 of the 1st when he intercepted Darnell Nurse’s clearing attempt around the boards, then beat Talbot with a wrist shot.

With just 40 seconds remaining in the 1st period, Maroon deflected a shot past Gibson to put the Oilers on the board and give them some momentum heading into the 2nd.

Just 1:28 into the 2nd, the puck deflected off of Slepychev’s skate and into the net to pull the Oilers within 3-2.  Then McDavid tied it with a spectacular goal at 8:40, spinning away from Sami Vatanen and rifling a shot past Gibson.  The Oilers kept the pressure on throughout the period, even after Wagner’s goal, but Gibson continued to withstand the pressure.

Game 3 will be on Wednesday night in Alberta.  In the meantime, the Ducks will travel to Kelowna, B.C., to get away from the madness of Edmonton over the next few days.

Clippers Force Game 7

April 28, 2017

The Clippers forced a 7th and decisive game with the Jazz by defeating Utah on Friday night 98-93 in Salt Lake City.

Chris Paul led the way with 29 points and 8 assists, and held off a late Utah rally to force the 7th and deciding game of the best-of-7 series on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.  The winner will play the Golden State Warriors in the 2nd round.

Doc Rivers said game 6 was all about CP3.  “It’s just Chris,” Rivers said. “He is as competitive as a human being as I’ve ever been around. When you put that with the talent and the will, that’s why he has performances like this in big games.

The Clippers began to pull away late in the 4th quarter, and went on a 9-2 run which was capped by an Austin Rivers 3-pointer with 3:58 remaining.  That gave the Clippers a 91-77 lead.

After another Rivers 3-pointer, the Clippers opened up a 96-86 lead with 90 seconds left to play, but the Jazz weren’t done fighting.  Gordon Hayward would score seven straight points to pull Utah within 96-93.  The Jazz had a chance to tie it in the final seconds, but Joe Johnson’s 3-pointer missed.  Paul made two free throws to put the game away.

Hayward led the Jazz with 31 points, George Hill added 22 and Rudy Gobert finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough.

“We had to dig down on defense,” DeAndre Jordan said. “We had some big stops on defense. And then guys like Austin, CP, Jamal, they made big shots. But they made big shots because of our defense.”

Now the Clippers will have an overwhelming advantage in game 7 at Staples Center.  80% of home teams in NBA history have won game 7.  The Clips are 3-3 all-time in game 7’s.

 

 

Hayward & Jazz Top Clippers in Game 5

April 25, 2017

The Jazz shoved the Clippers to the bring of elimination of Tuesday night at Staples Center with a 96-92 victory in game 5 of their 1st round series.  The Jazz have taken a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Gordon Hayward scored 27 points, Rodney Hood had 14, and Joe Johnson had a clutch 14 as Utah won it’s 2nd game on the road in the series.

Chris Paul tried to keep the Clippers in it with his 28 points and 9 assists, but it wasn’t enough.  JJ Reddick also scored 26 for LA.

Neither team shot the ball well.  The Jazz shot 43% and the Clippers only 42%.  However, Utah dominated a number of other important categories.

The Jazz outscored the Clippers 34-28 in the paint, and outrebounded them 43-34.  Utah’s bench also outscored LA 36-16, in what has become a familiar pattern in the series.

Utah took the game’s first double-digit lead early in the fourth on a 3-pointer by Hood that made it 69-58.

The Clippers rallied from an 11-point deficit  to tie the game, but they could never take the lead.  The Jazz countered with 8 straight points caped by Hayward’s 3-pointer.

Paul and Hayward were called for double technical fouls with 40 seconds to go. Paul had already pushed Hayward in the back after they got tied up scrambling for a rebound in front of Utah’s bench. Hayward made both shots for a 90-85 lead.

Joe Johnson’s step back jumper extended Utah’s lead to 92-87.  That put the game out of reach, as the Clippers could never recover.  Blake Griffin watched from the bench with his right foot encased in a black walking boot.

The Jazz will try to close things out on Friday night in Salt Lake City.  A victory for Utah would send the Clippers home, and vault the Jazz into the 2nd round against the Warriors.

 

Joe Johnson Pulls Jazz Even With Clippers

April 23, 2017

Joe Johnson delivered 11 straight 4th quarter points as the Utah Jazz defeated the Clippers 105-98 in game 4 of their first round series.  The best-of-7 series is now tied 2-2.

Johnson finished the game with 28 points, including a critical 4th quarter jumper with  to give the Jazz a 91-90 lead with just under 4 minutes left.  The Clippers would never regain the lead after that.

Rudy Gobert returned to the Jazz lineup after injuring his knee in game 2.  Gobert delivered 15 points to go along with 13 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots.  Gordon Hayward played only 9 minutes in the game after battling food poisoning, and did not play in the 2nd half.  He had just 3 points in the game.

The Clippers were led by Chris Paul, who had 27 points, 12 assists, and 9 rebounds.  Jamal Crawford provided 25 points off the bench, and DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Clips were clinging to an 80-77 lead going into the 4th quarter.  A free throw by Wesley Johnson gave the Clippers an 87-80 lead with 7:37 lead, but then the Johnson and the Jazz would begin their rally.

Johnson reeled of 7 straight points in about 2 minutes to tie the game at 87-87.  2 minutes later, Johnson capped his 11-point run and gave Utah the lead for good.

The Clippers were outrebounded 42-31 and outscored in the paint 58-36.  For the game, the Jazz shot 54% from the field, while the Clippers shot 44%.

The series returns to Staples Center on Tuesday night for Game 5. Utah will host Game 6 on Friday night.

 

Blake Griffin Done For The Playoffs

April 22, 2017

Blake Griffin has been ruled out for the rest of the playoffs after suffering an injury to his big toe on Friday night against Utah.  The Clippers made the announcement on Saturday morning.

Griffin suffered the injury in the first half Friday and did not return to the game.  The injury is to the plantar plate of his right big toe.  Griffin will visit a foot and ankle specialist when the Clippers return to Los Angeles.

It is the 2nd straight year that Griffin has suffered an injury that has knocked him out of the playoffs.  Last year against Portland, Griffin injured his quad, and was out for the remainder of the series, in which the Clippers were eliminated in six games.

He also missed 18 straight games earlier this season after undergoing surgery on his right knee. Griffin was the Clippers’ leading scorer and second-leading rebounder this season, averaging 21.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.

Griffin could potentially be an unrestricted free agent this summer.  He has one year remaining on his contract for $21 million.  However, he has he has an early-termination option on his contract this summer, allowing him to test the free agent market, or re-sign with LA for potentially another 5 years and up to $180 million.

Clips Win But Lose Blake

April 21, 2017

Chris Paul put the Clippers on his back in the 4th quarter, scoring 9 straight points during one stretch as LA defeated Utah 111-106 in game 3 of their 1st round playoff series.  The Clippers now have a 2-1 lead in the series.

Paul finished the game with 34 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds for the Clips.  However, they also lost Blake Griffin, who left the game in the 1st half after bruising his right big toe.  The injury took place late in the 2nd quarter after Griffin scored on a fast break.  He went to the locker room shortly after, undergoing X-rays that came back negative.  He’ll be evaluated for further tests.

DeAndre Jordan had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had a playoff career-high 15 points, and Jamal Crawford finished with 9 points.

Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with a playoff career-high 40 points.  However, the Jazz went scoreless for 6:06 of the 4th quarter, which allowed the Clippers to go on a 15-0 run.

With 4 minutes left, Paul nailed a 3-pointer to give the Clippers a 97-96 lead, their first lead since the 1st quarter of the game.

At the 3:23 mark, Paul went behind his back and eluded two Jazz defenders for a driving layup to make it 99-96 Clippers.  That forced Utah to call a timeout to regroup.

“He has an amazing will,” Doc Rivers said. “He’s just a tough guy. He’s stubborn in a very, very positive way. All the great ones have that in them. They’re stubborn like they aren’t going to lose.”

“I’m just always looking at the scoreboard trying to manage the game,” Paul said. “I was just trying to pick my spots. That’s a good team over there. They stick to their principles.

Game 4 will be on Sunday in Utah.  The Clippers will try to take a 3-1 lead in the series.  They’ll be awaiting word on the severity of Griffin’s injury between now and then.  Meanwhile, the Jazz will be awaiting word on whether center Rudy Gobert will return to their lineup.

Clippers Get Even With Jazz

April 18, 2017

Blake Griffin led the Clippers with 24 points while DeAndre Jordan added 17 points and 15 rebounds, as the Clippers defeated the Jazz 99-91 at Staples Center.  The best-of-seven series is now tied 1-1, and will head back to Utah for the next two games.

Chris Paul scored 21 points and added 10 assists, and the Clips pounded the Jazz in the paint, outscoring them 60-38.

The Jazz were led by Gordon Hayward, who scored 20 points in the loss.  Joe Johnson provided 13 points off the bench.  The Jazz played without Rudy Gobert, who sat out with a hyperextended knee.

LA jumped out to a 12-point lead after the 1st quarter.  After a DeAndre Jordan dunk off a lob pass from Jamal Crawford, the Clips had a 9-point lead at halftime.

“We got into movement. We went downhill a lot more,’’ said Doc Rivers. “Every time they made a run, we pushed the ball up the floor.”

Both teams scored 28 points in the 3rd quarter, but the closest the Jazz would come to take the lead was a 3-point deficit in the period.  The Clippers took a 79-70 lead into the 4th quarter.

In the 4th quarter, the Jazz got within 6 points of the Clippers, but LA answered.  Luc Richard Mbah a Moute pull down an offensive rebound that led to the Griffin’s three-pointer.  That put the game away.

“They raised their level tonight,” said Jazz Coach Quin Snyder. “They played with an intensity from the beginning of the game, It was impressive. That’s who they are.”

“This is what we should do,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said afterward.

Game 3 of the series will be Friday night in Utah against the Jazz.