July 21st, 2012
Clippers Official Partner Barrys Tickets
2011-12 was a landmark season for the Los Angeles Clippers, long considered the Lakers’ “weak sisters” in the NBA. With the addition of Chris Paul, the Clippers rose from up-and-coming young team to legit playoff contenders, and they didn’t disappoint. The Clips’ 40-26 record was their best ever in terms of winning percentage, and their first time to win more than 60% of their games in the franchise’s 42-year history. Best of all, they performed creditably in the playoffs – the Clips won a hard-fought seven-game battle versus the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round, before getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semis. What can we expect in 2012 from the Clippers?
As the Chris Paul-Blake Griffin tandem goes, so do the Clippers. CP3 was every bit the dynamic and exciting point guard he was at New Orleans, averaging 19.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 2.5 spg. He facilitated the offense efficiently, dazzled with game-winning heroics and played disruptive defense all season long. Best of all, he meshed perfectly with Griffin, who kept on pounding in those double-doubles with regularity. Probably the only thing Griffin (20.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.2 apg, 55% FG) can’t do is shoot free throws – he made just 52% of his foul shot attempts, down from 64% as a rookie. We’re hoping the left knee injury that took him out of Team USA for this year’s Olympics won’t come back to haunt him once the 2012-13 season rolls around. And speaking of injuries, Chauncey Billups (15.0 ppg, 4.0 apg) was playing very well as a converted two-guard when an Achilles tear ended his debut Clippers season after just 20 games. He should be starting again this season, but as he’ll be turning 36 in September, we don’t know how much longer he can hold up playing starters’ minutes. Mo Williams was traded to the Utah Jazz a few weeks back, in the trade that netted Lamar Odom. He was productive (13.2 ppg, 3.1 apg) off the bench, but very inconsistent. His minutes will likely go to new acquisition Jamal Crawford.
Caron Butler (12.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg) was a mild disappointment at starting small forward. While it was admirable to see him step behind the arc more often (he shot 36% from long range and averaged a career-high 4.1 three-point attempts a game), it was often maddening to watch him get hot in the first half and cold and/or tentative in the second. Still, he’s young enough (32) to bounce back and adjust to coach Vinny Del Negro’s system. DeAndre Jordan (7.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.0 bpg, 63% FG) was the fifth offensive option in the starting lineup, but any offense he provides is just icing on the cake. His real value is on defense, where he has proven to be capable of swatting shots at an alarming rate. Like most other young big men, though, he was inconsistent and prone to foul trouble.
The Clippers will have a more experienced bench in 2012-13, thanks to the addition of veterans Crawford, Odom and Grant Hill. Crawford (13.9 ppg, 3.2 apg) suffered through sub-40% shooting with the Portland Trailblazers, but he’s still capable of providing instant offense off the bench. Lamar Odom, on the other hand, has a lot to prove in his second stint with the team that drafted him way back in 1999. 2011-12 was an absolutely miserable season for Odom, who averaged 6.6 ppg and 4.2 rpg for the Dallas Mavericks in only 20 minutes per game. His protracted feud with flamboyant owner Mark Cuban led to his exile from the Mavs lineup towards the end of last year’s shortened season, and shortly before that, he even found himself in the D-League. Odom may not get the minutes he used to receive just two years ago, but if he’s happy, he won’t have another season like the last. Hill (10.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg) is the Clippers’ latest free agent addition. Fresh from five productive years with the Phoenix Suns, Hill (who’ll be turning 40 this October) will provide veteran savvy, strong fundamentals and leadership skills as a reserve small forward.
As it stands, Crawford, Odom and Hill may be the Clips’ first three players off the bench. What about the rest of ‘em? Eric Bledsoe’s sophomore season was a wash – the young point guard was plagued by injuries and averaged just 3.3 ppg in 11 minutes of action per game. We’re expecting him to bounce back and provide quality minutes as the second guard off the bench. Currently, Kenyon Martin, Bobby Simmons and Randy Foye are free agents – Martin’s days as a frontcourt stopper are well behind him, and it’s still hard to believe Simmons was once named Most Improved Player. Foye (11.0 ppg, 39% 3P) played well when Billups’ injury got him promoted back to the starting lineup. Unfortunately, Crawford’s signing may make him superfluous, so we’re not expecting him back. Neither are we expecting Martin and Simmons to return as backup forwards. If one or both of them go, second-year man Trey Thompkins may get more minutes at power forward, or even center.
As for the coaching situation, Del Negro has received his share of criticism, as the Clips famously blew a 24-point lead in Game 3 of the Spurs series. He has been scored for poor player rotations, questionable coaching decisions and an over-reliance on the Paul-to-Griffin pick-and-roll play. That said, he’s still a relatively young coach who could do better if he learns from previous mistakes and makes better use of the alternative options the Clippers have on offense.
Summing it all up, this season may be even better for the Clippers, thanks to a stronger, more veteran bench corps. They still lack a capable reserve at center, but other than that, all the pieces are be in place for another playoff run – and perhaps Staples Center home court advantage in the first round.
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April 17th, 2012
L.A. Clippers 92, Oklahoma City 77
Location – Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Officials – #17 Joe Crawford, #36 David Jones, #29 Mark Lindsay
Attendance – 19516
CLIPPERS Vs THUNDER : Nick Young scored 19 points off the bench, Blake Griffin had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Los Angeles dominated play in the second half in beating the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second time in less than a week.
The win against the conference-leading Thunder was icing on the cake for the Clippers, who learned moments before tipoff they had clinched their first playoff berth since 2005-06.
Randy Foye scored 13 points and Chris Paul finished with 12 points and 10 assists as Los Angeles held superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in check while moving within a game of the Lakers for first place in the Pacific Division.
Durant scored only five of his 24 points after halftime and Russell Westbrook shot 4 of 16 from the floor for nine points as the Thunder recorded their lowest point total of the season.
With the game tied at 66 entering the fourth, Mo Williams nailed a 3-pointer that jump-started the Clippers. Young later made a jumper to open a 13-3 run that included six points from Griffin, four coming on back-to-back dunks. The spurt was capped by a Williams’ 3 for the 87-75 lead with 3:58 remaining.
Durant had 19 points in the first half, but the Clippers put the clamps down defensively in the third. Durant was held scoreless and the Thunder made only six baskets in the frame.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Paul was announced Monday as the recipient of the Sportsmanship Award for the Pacific Division. … The Clippers won three of the four matchups this season. … Young’s point total was his highest with the Clippers since being acquired from Washington. … Durant missed all seven of his 3-pointers.
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February 28th, 2012
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Clippers
NBA / Western Conference
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012. 10:30 PM EST
Analysis of the Minnesota Timberwolves
While their opponents on Tuesday night may have something to say about it, the Timberwolves have gone from a team few cared about to arguably the most fun team to watch in the NBA. After only winning 17 games last year (in a full 82 game season), the T-Wolves matched their win total in just the first half of this season going 17-17 and staying in the playoff hunt out west. The combination of PF Kevin Love and rookie PG Ricky Rubio seems to be the spark this young squad needed to become relevant again.
Analysis of the Los Angeles Clippers
As good a PG/PF combo Rubio and Love are, the Clippers have them beat with All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. The two have put on a show this season combining for 40 points per game on average leading their squad to a 20-11 record in the first part of the season. Currently they’re sitting in the 3rd seed in the Western Conference and will have to at least match their performance during the first half of 2012 in order to keep that seed or possibly move up, something that won’t be easy in the same division as the rival Lakers.
Timberwolves: PF Kevin Love
Love is the star of this team, though he doesn’t make very much noise about it. The young power forward is 4th in the NBA in points per game (25) and 2nd in rebounds (14), making him one of the most effective player sin the game. A tough matchup against Griffin awaits, but Griffin’s focus on offense over defense may be enough for Love to put up a dominating performance
Clippers: PG Chris Paul
Paul is the field general for the Clippers and is responsible for the nightly performance of his team. He’ll get a favorable matchup (as he always does) against Rubio, but that doesn’t mean the night will be his. Rubio is in the top 5 in assists and steals in the NBA (just as Paul is) so a night off for Paul will absolutely mean a loss for the Clips.
The Clippers are a decent team in preventing turnovers, only averaging 14.2 each game (6th in the league). The T-Wolves average 16.2 per game though, 28th in the league. Those 2 turnovers may be the ~5 points that down the Timberwolves in LA, so stopping that from happening will have to be a priority for them.
When these two met in Los Angeles earlier this season Love hit a 3-pointer with no time left to push the Timberwolves to a big win in OT. You have to feel that coming off of the All-Star break both teams will be little rusty but that the Clippers will have the edge due to their depth and talent advantage. The Timberwolves already proved they can beat these guys, but 2 wins against the Clippers in LA is probably 1 too much for this season.
Prediction = Los Angeles Clippers: 95 – Minnesota Timberwolves: 88
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February 20th, 2012
In a Western Conference battle, where the winner would emerge as the #2 team, Tony Parker led his San Antonio Spurs into Staples Center, riding a nine game winning streak. The Clippers took a quick 15-4 lead, and led 26-15 at the end of the first period behind 12 Blake Griffin points.
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Parker scored 8 of his 30 in the second period, including a last-second layup, and led a San Antonio Spurs run to take a 45-43 lead going into the locker room Then, Parker came out in the third and dropped 8 more points in the first 5 minutes of the second half as the Clippers fell
behind by 15, 65-50.
Enter Randy Foye. Finally with production fitting of a starter, Foye scored 13 of the Clippers first 15 second-half points, and hit another three pointer to tie the game at 65. Little-used sophomore guard Eric Bledsoe even got some extended run in the third, and made
quite an impact. He played the last 6 minutes of the period, and logged 3 rebounds and 2 assists, and a lot of good defense. Bled also fed Blake Griffin on a monster dunk to take the lead, 67-65.
Fast forward to five minutes left in the final quarter, and Caron Butler has just finished off a 4-point play to give LAC a three point lead, 85-82. And then two of the best teams in the world played basketball. And Tony Parker showed me something that I didn’t think he had in him. He just scored, and scored, and scored. And I don’t know if I remember him missing all game long. The boxscore says he missed 11 shots. I don’t believe it. It felt like every single play Tony Parker was either shooting a layup or an open 15 foot jumper.
There’s 1:38 to go in the game. Chris Paul scores 4 quick points. LAC leads 91-90. Now San Antonio has the ball. Tony Parker draws a foul, and takes a one-point lead with 33 seconds remaining. Chris Paul hits a pair of free throws. Tim Duncan uncharacteristically misses a layup. Paul hits another couple of free shots. The Clippers lead by 3 with 12.6 seconds remaining. But never underestimare Pop. I mean, the guy is the greatest basketball coach of his generation.
And he draws up a play to get Gary Neal, 39% three point shooter, an open shot. The young Neal fumbled the ball, and Rand Foye dives for the ball and calls a timout. The Clippers lead by 3 with the ball and only 9.5 seconds remaining. The Clippers are in second place in the conference. The Clippers win.
Until the unthinkable. Ryan Gomes rushes the inbounds pass to Chris Paul, and, in order to avoid a backcourt violation, Paul throws the ball up. Neal, the goat from the previous play, becomes a hero, hitting a trey to tie the game and force five extra minutes. I missed the play the first time through. Re-watching the fourth quarter again with my dad, I looked away. I couldn’t watch it.
How could Los Angeles be anything but lethargic in this extra period? The game was won, and now you have to play another period? Well, the Clippers never really woke up. Five overtime points, and only a single made field goal. Despite the struggles, Chris Paul had a shot at a three pointer to force another overtime. But he missed. The clock ran out. The Clippers lost. San Antonio beat the best team in the Pacific Division. And that was all she wrote.
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February 17th, 2012
Clippers 74 Trail Blazers 71
Thursday, February 16, 2012 7:30 PM
Location – Rose Garden, Portland, Oregon
Officials – #41 Ken Mauer, #44 Eli Roe, #65 Sean Wright
Attendance – 20665
CLIPPERS 74, TRAIL BLAZERS 71: Chris Paul scored all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter and Los Angeles sent Portland to its fourth consecutive home loss.
Blake Griffin had 21 points and 14 rebounds – his seventh double-double in eight games – as the Clippers rallied from an 18-point, third-quarter deficit to halt a six-game losing streak in Portland.
Paul was scoreless on 0-for-7 shooting through three quarters, but he scored nine points in a 12-2 run as the Clippers overtook the weary Blazers, who were playing for the third time in as many nights.
Mo Williams hit Los Angeles’ first 3-pointer with 3:50 to play to claim the lead for good and Paul followed with another shot from behind the arc for a 70-66 lead with 3:08 remaining.
Jamal Crawford and Nicolas Batum scored 19 points apiece for the Portland Trail Blazers, which scored only 28 points in the second half and lost fourth straight at home for the first time since January 2007.
The Trail Blazers had scored the first seven points of the third quarter to build its biggest lead at 50-32, but the Clippers answered with a 20-10 spurt to get within 60-52 entering the final 12 minutes.
Batum scored 15 first-quarter points to get Portland off to a quick start en route to taking a 43-32 halftime lead.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Los Angeles scored a season-low 12 points in the second quarter. The 32 halftime points also were a season worst. … Portland is hoping that NBA All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge will be available for Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. Aldridge, who is dealing with a sprained ankle, is averaging a career-high 22.6 points per game. … The Clippers were 2 of 17 from behind the arc.
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February 6th, 2012
With the Kenyon Martin signing done, the Los Angeles Clippers have obtained one more big body to help contend with the L.A. Lakers’ big front court in the future Battle of Los Angeles Now, both teams are seeking to add yet more depth in order to bring home the bacon. The returning players from overseas, like K-Mart, are one possible avenue for each team. Everyday, it seems, the Lakers are rumored to be interested in so and so, or so and so is rumored to be demanding a trade to the Lakers (see Orlando Magic Dwight Howard). Until recently, I cannot ever recall a single player either demand a trade to the Clippers or hope that the Clippers picked them up off of the waivers. However, that has all changed with the formation of Lob City through the acquisitions of Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, and even Caron Butler, who now has an NBA championship ring. Not only are players hoping that the Clippers might take them in, but are actually dreaming about it. Even Dwight Howard, arguably the best Center in the league, has persistently been rumored, now, to want to end up with the Clippers. While that may or may not be true in reality, the media has crowned the Clippers as the next Big Thing.
Out of the available pool of free agents, including those who are currently overseas, who is the best fit for either the Clippers or the Lakers to put either team over the top? Starting with the China-boys, this analysis may become polarizing quickly. First up is J.R. Smith. Two weeks ago he annihilated the Chinese league for 60 points on 14 of 18 treys. Qingdao will probably have to sell their team and give up now like the Seattle SuperSonics did. J.R. Smith, one of the streakiest and most annoying players in the NBA (and its sister-leagues) today, probably set back the Qingdao team a decade with that explosion. J.R. Smith
Not two weeks ago did J.R. Smith remind the NBA of his talents. He exploded for 60 points over Qingdao in the Chinese league, drilling 14 of 18 three pointers in the process. Now, everyone knows J.R. Smith can shoot the ball and shoot it well. Everyone also knows that he can dunk the ball and dunk it well. But his off the court behavior and me-first attitude on the court could end up being more of a burden than a blessing to the team that lands him this coming week. The Lakers want to sign Smith to complement Kobe and finally get someone to hit a perimeter shot. While I love Matt Barnes, he is a far cry form the player who regularly turned it on for Don Nelson in Golden State a few years back. And while I love Ron Artest (read: Metta World Peace), he has always been a chucker and a sort of offensive clunker. He still brings it defensively and is vital to their success, but for as much as a chastise J.R. Smith, I’d still rather have him taking ill-advisde shots than Metta World Peace. The Clippers are also interested but since they’re already defensively inept in the backcourt (largely due to a lack of size), adding Smith would only make them defensively worse. Also, there are likely not enough shots to go around on the perimeter between Cp3, Billups, Foye (a chucker), and Mo Williams (another chucker). What the Clippers need is a real backup SF (or even starting SF). If the Lakers sign Smith, I’d give it a B+ signing (only if Kobe can keep J.R. in line). For the Clippers: C-.
Taking a look at the list of domestic players, the only one who really stands out for either team is Gilbert Arenas. While Larry Hughes’ teardrop tatted beneath his eye does stand out, unfortunately his game does not. Arenas so desperately wants to play for any L.A. team in his hometown that he’s scheduled his own public workout for later in this week. Arenas was last seen sporting an ill-advised beard and a shaky jumpshot in Orlando last year, and the fact that no team has yet signed the enigmatic combo-guard is not a good sign. Last year he played 25 minutes off the bench behind such wonders as Jameer Nelson and Jason and Quentin Richardson. What? If Agent Zero cannot even displace any of those three chuckers, who is to say that he can displace any of the Clippers’ chuckers, who are actually playing at a fantastic level right now (see: Mo Williams). The Lakers could use someone to create offense, but not someone to dribble out the shot clock. I’d give the Clippers signing Arenas a D- and the Lakers signing him a C+.
The last candidate is Wilson Chandler, who may or may not ever get out of his contract in China. Chandler is a young player with a multifaceted game. For some reason, he reminds me of Danny Granger, although he’s never really had the chance to put up Granger-like numbers. Chandler is not phenomenal at any one thing but is pretty good at most of them. The Lakers don’t exactly need another wing to steal shots, but if Chandler could be used to generate legitimate offense off the bench (that does not come from off-balanced three pointers), then he might be a good signing. However, he would likely command too much money for the Lakers. The Clippers could also really use him, as his game would readily remedy a lot of the penetration problems the Clippers currently have (and also move Caron Butler to the bench where he belongs). But Chandler would probably cost too much for them, too. That being said, I’d give each team an A- for acquiring Chandler. In the end, though, the Lakers ought to refrain from acquiring anymore older talent and begin looking at younger talent. Maybe let the Mini-Mamba loose. The Clippers should stand-pat and let the team gel first before acquiring anyone else.
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February 3rd, 2012
Danilo Gallinari scored 16 of his 21 points in an 11:09 span during the second and third quarters as the visiting Denver Nuggets outscored the Los Angeles Clippers by 34 points over the final three periods en route to a 112-91 victory Thursday.
Ty Lawson scored 18 points and Arron Afflalo added 15 for the Nuggets (15-7), who snapped a two-game losing streak and turned the tables on Los Angeles’ 109-105 victory at Denver on Sunday.
Blake Griffin scored 18 points and Chris Paul had 15 points and nine assists for the Clippers (13-7), who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
Denver outscored Los Angeles 51-24 in a span covering the second quarter and the first 4:13 of the third. Gallinari hit consecutive 3-pointers to open the second half as the Nuggets went on a 16-5 run to take a 70-56 lead.
A pair of 3-pointers by Al Harrington finished a 32-16 third quarter and put Denver ahead 86-67.
The Nuggets led by as many as 26 in the fourth quarter.
Griffin scored eight points and Paul had seven as the Clippers shot 14 for 23 from the field and closed the first quarter with a 14-2 run for a 32-19 lead.
The Nuggets chipped away and fast-break buckets by Lawson and Nene capped a 17-7 run which gave Denver a 49-47 advantage with 2:41 left in the first half.
After a dunk and jumper by Griffin, Denver took the lead for good on a Gallinari 3-pointer, and two free throws by Lawson made it 54-51 at the half.
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January 30th, 2012
Clippers Vs Nuggets at the Pepsi Center Sun Jan 29th Wrap Up
The postgame L.A. Clippers locker room had an old Nuggets feel to it. The Los Angeles Clippers face a tough test Sunday night as they hit the road to face the red-hot Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets have won six straight games and own the second best record in the Western Conference at 14-5. The Clippers, meanwhile, have lost nine straight games in Denver.
There, in the center, was Chauncey Billups, always the man of the moment in the Mile High City. Around him were all of the familiar media faces peppering him with questions about another night, another big shot, another big victory.
Only, this time, he left his old team with all the questions while he provided answers Sunday night.
In his first game back since being traded, Billups was every bit Mr. Big Shot as he and Chris Paul took over in the fourth quarter to outlast the Nuggets 109-105 at the Pepsi Center.
The Nuggets, who had been riding high on a six-game winning streak, saw that snapped in excruciating fashion. Down the stretch they
Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov dunks in the first quarter. More photos. (John Leyba, The Denver Post) simply didn’t make enough plays to get the job done. The Denver Nuggets were outscored 15-6 to end the game.
“They made a lot of shots,” said Nuggets coach George Karl of Billups and Paul, who combined to score 19 of the Clippers’ 32 points in the fourth. “I think it was pretty good defense. I’m pretty sure the video will show that. We can’t do much more.”
The fourth quarter was a wild, back-and-forth affair, each team making one effective play after another on the offensive end.
A Nene bucket gave the Nuggets a 99-94 lead before the Clippers answered with five straight points, punctuated by a Billups 3-pointer with 3:01 left to tie it up. Billups then put the Clippers ahead 102-99 with a three-point play.
Paul rolled in a free-throw line jumper with 1:26 and L.A. led 104-101. But two Nene buckets — both dunks — got the Nuggets in front 105-104.
Two Paul free throws with 35.9 seconds left put the Clippers back on top 106-105. The Nuggets missed a layup on their ensuing possession and fouled DeAndre Jordan after the Clippers came away with the rebound. Jordan made 1-of-2 from the charity stripe with 23.4 seconds to extend L.A.’s lead to 107-105.
After a timeout, Nene was called for an offensive foul with 18.1 seconds remaining, which was the biggest blow to the Nuggets’ rally hopes. The Nuggets fouled Paul with 17.2, and he made both to push the Clippers’ lead to four. A failed Nuggets possession after that sealed the team’s fate.
“We kept it close, kept it close,” Billups said. “And Chris was big for us in the fourth quarter, made a couple of plays … and that’s how you’ve got to win on the road.”
Billups returned to Denver in style. He scored a season-high 32 points, nailing six 3-pointers in the process. The Clippers drained 14 3-pointers as a team, outscoring the Nuggets 42-18 from the arc.
They had a really good percentage from 3-point, Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari said. Chauncey ha an unbelievable game. They hit some tough shots and contested 3s.
It was a tough start in a tough stretch for the Nuggets. On Saturday afternoon, Karl gathered his team, lent perspective to their hot start and relayed a message of urgency about what they will face in the next 30 days.
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January 29th, 2012
First meeting of the season. The teams split four games last season, with each winning on their home court.
- November 5th, 2010 in Denver – Denver 111 – Clippers 94
- December 3rd, 2010 in Denver – Denver 109 – Clippers 104
- January 5th, 2011 in Los Angeles – Clippers 106 – Denver 93
- March 5th, 2011 in Los Angeles – Clippers 100 – Denver 94
The Clippers are 10-6 on the season. But of those 16 games, only five of them have been on the road (and one of those was in Los Angeles against the Lakers). Five road games is the fewest of any team in the NBA, and more importantly, the 28 they have yet to play is the most. So there’s that. The fact that the team is 1-4 in those five games is not good, but it’s not a huge concern, given the quality of the opponents in those losses. Unfortunately, that logic doesn’t bode well for tonight, against the 14-5 Nuggets, who are 7-2 in the mile high altitude. There is some good news though. The Clippers should be well rested for this game, coming off two days of rest. There is also reason to believe that the team will be hitting peak form at some point in the near future — they looked great in wins over the Heat and Lakers two weeks ago, before Chris was injured his hamstring. In the two games since his return, Paul has not shot well. Hopefully after a couple of games and two more days of practice, he’s getting the rust off and the team will start firing on all cylinders again. They looked great for a quarter against Memphis on Thursday, but even that was more about hot shooting than super shard execution. So the team’s best basketball is still ahead of them, but hopefully not too far away.
A year ago, the Nuggets starters featured Kenyon Martin, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups, and J.R. Smith was the sixth man. Now Anthony is in New York with the New York Knicks, Billups is with the Clippers, Smith is in China and Martin is waiting until February 15th to be a free agent after signing with and then leaving a Chinese team. The Nuggets were built around Anthony for years, and while the made the playoffs in each of the seven seasons he was in Denver, they also lost in the first round in six of those seasons.
Losing streak in Denver. The Clippers haven’t won in Denver in five full seasons. The last time they won a regular season game there was in January of 2006. They also won a playoff game a few months later. But it’s been one empty trip to the Mile High City after another since then.
Hot team. In their last game the Clippers played a Grizzlies team that had won seven of eight coming in. The Nuggets have won six straight and eight of nine. The Clippers just can’t get a break in terms of opponents. Oh, and their next three games after this are against Oklahoma City, at Utah and against these Nuggets again. Sheesh.
Twice in a week. The Clippers and Nuggets face each other twice this week, tonight and then again on Thursday. The Clippers have two games in the interim, the Nuggets just one.
Balance. About that balance: the Denver Nuggets have six players averaging double figures, with the highest being Gallinari at less than 18 a game. In fact, they have 8 players averaging between 8 and 18. Philadelphia has eight players between 9 and 16. Hat tip to citizen d2s4ui1 for catching my mistake there.
Lawson hurting. Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson, their second leading scorer, missed Friday’s win against Toronto with a sprained left ankle. Lawson told Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post that he plans to play tonight.
Billups in Denver. Chauncey Billups will be playing in Denver tonight for the first time since being traded away as part of the Carmelo Anthony deal. Billups is a Colorado native, who played his college ball in Boulder and had wanted to retire as a Nugget. He’ll no doubt receive a very warm welcome upon his return to Denver, where he played four seasons in two different stints. Billups was part of the Denver team that went to the Western Conference finals, they’re deepest playoff run since the mid 80s.
Matchups. It’s hard to figure how the matchups will go tonight. For one thing, you never quite know how George Karl will distribute minutes among the 10 or 11 guys in his rotation. Nene will begin the game defending Blake Griffin, which could give Blake trouble. Caron Butler will need to take the very talented Gallinari as seriously as he would Kobe Bryant. Afflalo is a big guard who will be a handful for Billups, But the key matchup will be Lawson versus Chris Paul. CP3 probably needs to dominate that matchup for the Clippers to win tonight.
Not counting the NBA All Star Game break, they’ll get one more such break the entire remainder of the season, and that one comes in April, between games 63 and 64. Great news for fans who don’t like to wait too long between games. Bad news for tired players and coaches who need time to prep for opponents.
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January 27th, 2012
Blake Griffin scored 20 points, Chris Paul added 18 points and seven assists in his second game back from injury, and the first-place Clippers hung on in the fourth quarter for a 98-91 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies at the STAPLES Center on Thursday night.
The Clippers stayed atop the Pacific Division even during Paul’s absence, and they bounced back solidly from Wednesday’s emotional loss to the Lakers, but a tougher schedule looms for a franchise with just one winning season in 19 years. No team in the Western Conference has played fewer games than the Clippers — including 11 in front of sellout home crowds.
You can purchase Clippers Vs Grizzlies Tickets for their rematch at the STAPLES Center on March 24, 2012.