Game #64 | March 8, 2014
Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA

  • 108

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- TOP PERFORMERS -


POINTS REBOUNDS ASSISTS STEALS BLOCK
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COMPLETE GAME INFORMATION | GAME NOTES
 

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RECAP

LOS ANGELES – The Clippers talked about not letting down, avoiding the pitfalls of a schedule that includes seven games against sub-.500 teams in the next two weeks.

But saying it and truly avoiding it are two separate things.

They struggled to put the visiting Atlanta Hawks away Saturday night at Staples Center, but survived, 109-108, after Chris Paul made a running bank shot in the final minute and Jeff Teague missed one of two free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining.

It was the seventh win in a row for the Clippers (44-20), who are now even with the 2012-13 team for the best record in franchise history after 64 games. It was also by far the least impressive of their victories in their season-best streak.

“Obviously, we’ll take the win and we’re happy about the win,” Blake Griffin said. “But we’re not happy about the way we played.”

The Clippers failed to get stops in the first half, trailing by as many as seven, and after leading by double digits in the fourth quarter the Hawks came back behind an 11-2 run. Griffin slowed the comeback down with a driving layup after he gathered his own miss along the baseline, but DeMarre Carroll answered with a 3-pointer and Teague hit a runner to tie the game at 107. The teams exchanged misses before Paul converted a tough running bank shot around Carroll with 54 seconds left as he pushed the ball in semi-transition. The shot wound up being the final field goal.

“We kept saying in the huddle: ‘stay the course,’” Paul said. “Good teams find a way to win and that’s something we stress in the huddle all game long.”

Paul finished with 19 points, 10 assists and four steals. DeAndre Jordan had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Matt Barnes scored 17 points. And Blake Griffin had a game-high 27 points with eight rebounds, five assists and seven turnovers.

The Clippers committed 18 turnovers overall, including seven in the first quarter, which gives them 17 in first quarter of their past two games.

“I wasn’t real happy with our execution down the stretch of the game,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “We wouldn’t win a lot of games with the way we turned the ball over and the way were careless with the basketball. And we wouldn’t win a lot of games with the way we executed tonight.”

Still, they found a way to send the Hawks (26-35) to their 14th loss in the last 15 games.

Jordan rejected a Paul Millsap layup attempt on the other end. Atlanta retained possession, but Teague threw an errant pass to Millsap that Paul intercepted. Paul was able to milk 19 seconds off the clock before getting the ball to Griffin on a pick-and-roll. Griffin was fouled on a jump hook attempt and missed both free throws.

“I’m definitely not happy about the way I played,” Griffin said, despite his streak of consecutive games with at least 20 points being extended to 22. “I felt like I put us in that situation there at the end.”

Teague was fouled by Jordan on the ensuing possession as he forced up a runner with 1.2 seconds remaining, but he missed the first free throw short and mistakenly banked in the second shot while attempting to miss intentionally.

The Clippers trailed by as many as seven in the first half, but entered the locker room down, 58-57, thanks in large part to a 58.5 percent first-half shooting effort and Barnes hitting three second-quarter 3-pointers.

Barnes’ prolonged hot streak continued into Saturday. He made five of his first seven shots, including going 3-for-5 from 3-point range. In eight games since Feb. 21 Barnes has gone 26-for-55 (47.3 percent) from distance and averaged 17.3 points.

“With Danny [Granger] and Big Baby (Glen Davis) getting acclimated to our offense and J.J. [Redick] and Jamal [Crawford] out, I’ve felt I just need to be a little bit more aggressive,” Barnes said. “Chris and everyone else is doing a great job of finding me and I’m just taking those shots with confidence.”

NOTES

Jamal Crawford played 10 minutes off the bench and scored three points. He had missed the previous three games with a strained left calf… Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith was among those in attendance… Carroll led the Hawks with 19 points… The Clippers are 26-5 at home… The Clippers have scored 100 points or more in all seven victories during their current streak, establishing the most such games during the franchise’s tenure in Los Angeles… The Clippers have won three in a row against Atlanta at Staples Center… The Clippers are 13-0 when all five starters score 10 points or more…

QUOTES

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS

RE: Overall thoughts on tonight’s game

“With 82 games, you are not going to play everyone great. I wasn‟t really happy with our execution though, down the stretch of the game. I don‟t know if you get lucky…you win or you lose, so we won the game, but we wouldn‟t win a lot of games with the way we turned the ball over and how careless we were with the basketball. We wouldn‟t win a lot of games with the way we executed tonight. Every night, you are not going to play well. It is just human. But you can execute well, or at least be in the right spots, and the turnovers over the last three or four games—we are getting back into that habit—we are too casual. We have to do a better job with the ball.”

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS

RE: Game errors

“I don‟t like turnovers period. You are going to have some, but ours were, a lot of them were not forced. They were way too casual. And I think you have to be a great execution team. That does not mean the plays work defensively or offensively, but it certainly helps when everybody‟s in the right spot. It gives you a fighting chance. That is the only thing I didn‟t like. I was really happy with the win, because you could see it early--we didn‟t have it, and that happens. I say it all the time, it‟s a human game. No one showed up and said „you know what, I‟m not going to have it tonight.‟ You come into the game and sometimes you don‟t have it. I thought as a group we did it, and a second unit again bailed us out. That stretch in the end of the 3rd beginning of the 4th, with Danny [Granger] , Willie Green, and Hedo [Turkoglu]—that group—they stretched the lead, they got it to 11, and that was big for us.”

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL

RE: Overall thoughts on tonight’s game

“I almost felt like we lost in that locker room because I think we expect a lot from ourselves, but at the end of the day, the name of the game is, win the game. So, obviously we‟re happy we won, but there are a lot of things that we need to clean up.”

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL

RE: Staying focused in close game

“Yeah, we kept saying it in the huddle, „Stay the course.‟ You‟re not going to win by 15 and 20 every night, but good teams find a way to win, and that‟s something we stress in the huddle all game long, „Win the game.‟ We‟ll talk later about what we did wrong and try to fix the wrongs, but right now, it‟s just about winning games.”

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL

RE: Contributions from Danny Granger

“That was huge. I told T [Tyronn] Lue during one of the time-outs. I said, „Those shots Danny [Granger] made were huge.‟ They would score, and we would go back and score; so just to keep that momentum going was huge for us.”

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL

RE: Team’s depth

“Yeah, I think that‟s the best thing about our team right now, is that we‟re showing a lot of depth. Obviously, Matt [Barnes] is scoring every night, to have Danny [Granger] come in and do that is huge because it shows balance.”

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL

RE: Play of Hawks guard Kyle Korver

“Man, I started on him [Kyle Korver] early, in the first quarter; and he got that one three in transition, I was hot. But he tired me out. I was exhausted. My good friend Matt [Barnes] right here took over those duties, so it wasn‟t me. It was Matt and those guys being alert and just knowing. He‟s incredible moving without the ball, and I couldn‟t do both.”

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL

RE: Team’s progression

“We‟re still getting there. Obviously, we have two new guys that we‟re incorporating, but our biggest thing is going to be execution. When it gets to the playoffs, everybody is going to know all our calls and know what plays we‟re going to run; but run them hard and it doesn‟t matter if they know what you‟re running.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN

RE: Mood in locker room after tonight’s win

“Obviously, we‟ll take the win and we‟re happy about the win, but not happy about the way we played. I‟m definitely not happy about the way I played. I felt I got pushed in that situation there at the end. I need to be better, but obviously like I said, [we will] take the win and concentrate on Monday.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN

RE: High number of team turnovers

“I thought I did an extremely poor job tonight, just being careless with the ball, trying to force a couple of passes that weren‟t there, and then forcing one pass that was 10-15 feet too high. So that‟s on me. I have to do a better job passing the ball, and really taking care of it. Besides the first quarter in the Laker game, I thought we did a pretty good job, but tonight we definitely slipped. Like I said, I have to be better.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN

RE: Personal decision-making on offense

“Throughout the season I don‟t think it‟s been a huge problem, but you never want to turn the ball over, obviously. For me, it‟s really about making good decisions. It‟s really just about reading and reacting quickly.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN

RE: Letdown after 48 point win on Thursday

“In my opinion, I thought we should have come out with that exact same energy and tried to carry that momentum over; but we didn‟t. We did definitely have a letdown, and we have to do a better job of that, and not letting a win from two days before affect the way we play down the stretch.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD MATT BARNES

RE: Offensive mentality

“Just being aggressive, with Danny [Granger] and Big Baby [Glen Davis] getting acclimated to our offense, with J.J. [Redick] and Jamal [Crawford] out. Just to be a little bit more aggressive. Chris [Paul] and everyone else is doing a good job of finding me when I‟m open, and just taking those shots with confidence.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD MATT BARNES

RE: Turnovers

“It hurts us a lot. It kept the Lakers in the game for the first quarter, and it kept this team in the game all night, and it‟s something we have to cut down on. I think I had four tonight, and that‟s something we definitely have to clean up because, like Chris [Paul] said, down the stretch possessions are so much more important heading into the playoffs. And you‟re not going to beat the good teams turning the ball over that many times.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD MATT BARNES

RE: Atlanta’s performance and effort

“They just played hard. I think that‟s the key. They‟re big, they shot the ball well. Carroll [DeMarre] shot the ball well tonight. I think they got all-around good games from all their key guys, and like I said before they played really hard.”

CLIPPERS GUARD DARREN COLLISON

RE: Lack of execution

“We have to be more mentally tough as far as execution. We have to be able to know what plays we are running. We have to be able to run it right. We have to be able to take care of the ball; it was a good learning situation for us. The good thing out of this is that we came out with the win.”

CLIPPERS GUARD DARREN COLLISON

RE: Matching intensity of the Hawks early on

“You know they played hard. I don‟t think it was so much as their intensity, it was just the players that they had on the court. Both of their bigs can shoot threes and the way we played defensively, you know, it made us take a little step out of rotation but that is no excuse; we know how to play that and we just got to be better.”

CLIPPERS GUARD DARREN COLLISON

RE: Overall thoughts on his performance tonight

“You know, tonight was just about defense. For me it was just about containing their best player [Jeff] Teague. He is one of the better guards in this league and I just wanted to take on a challenge and try to take him out of the game in any way I can. I can‟t stop him. He is still a good player, but yeah, just contain him and that was just my role for tonight.”

CLIPPERS GUARD JAMAL CRAWFORD

RE: Overall thoughts in returning from injury

“I just have to get it stronger because I don‟t want the same pain to continue to bother me going into the playoffs. I didn‟t reinjure it, but I can tell you it has to be stronger for sure.”

CLIPPERS GUARD JAMAL CRAWFORD

RE: Overall thoughts on tonight’s game

“It wasn‟t pretty, but if you can find a way to win games like that, even though we didn‟t play our best I think you can learn from it. You always want to learn in wins [rather] than in losses. So for us, we have to continue to work and execute down the stretch.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD DANNY GRANGER

RE: Making critical shots in the second half

“I feel great. I‟ve been doing it my whole career. I take pride in on making big shots and I was just glad to get into a rhythm on the offense and call out plays for me.”

HAWKS HEAD COACH MIKE BUDENHOLZER

RE: Overall thoughts on tonight’s game

“There was a stretch where we had a chance to send the game into overtime and make some plays. I thought we played some good defense, then we‟re in a position and go the other way, but things didn‟t go our way late. But I think there were a lot of positives. Our group continues to compete and fight. Having all our bigs back and healthy, having Pero [Antic] back and Paul [Millsap] back, it really helps our group. It gives us depth, gives us versatility. Against a good team like the Clippers, you need everything in your bag. I‟m proud of our guys for their effort, and we‟re frustrated that we weren‟t able to get it done.”

HAWKS HEAD COACH MIKE BUDENHOLZER

RE: Fourth-quarter comeback

“It always starts with if you‟re down, you‟ve got to get some stops. We made enough stops and then we made a couple shots. Pero [Antic] made a couple tough shots, made a three in the corner. Kyle [Korver] with the four-point play, that‟s big. But I think it always starts with our defense.”

HAWKS HEAD COACH MIKE BUDENHOLZER

RE: Jeff Teague’s missed free-throw

“Jeff [Teague] is somebody that‟s a great free throw shooter. I have a lot of confidence in him. He just wasn‟t able to knock them both down, but him attacking, getting to the basket and getting to the free-throw line is important. We‟ll live with that every day.”

HAWKS GUARD JEFF TEAGUE

RE: Last offensive play

“Just tried to make a play at the rim, get a shot up. I just missed the free-throw.”

HAWKS GUARD JEFF TEAGUE

RE: Missed free-throw

“That‟s how it works; how it always works. [You] want to make the first one, miss it, try to miss the second one on purpose and make it.”

HAWKS GUARD JEFF TEAGUE

RE: Overall thoughts on the game

“We‟re a good team. We make plays. We went through a stretch where it got a little away from us in the third quarter, but we came back and fought hard. I‟ve just got to do a better job at the end of the game, like making free throws. I had a key play where I made a pass to Paul [Millsap] and it went through his legs. But other than that, I think we played hard, and we had the opportunity.”

HAWKS GUARD KYLE KORVER

RE: Second half adjustments.

“We just kind of stayed with it. We changed a little pick-and-roll coverage at halftime. They had a couple plays that were hurting us with Blake [Griffin] and Chris [Paul]. We tried to blitz them a little bit, just make it harder on them, give them a new look. The Clippers are a really dangerous team. We tried to eliminate their fast-break points. They had one little stretch in the third quarter, but other than that, I thought we did a pretty good job with that. I thought that was one of the keys.”

HAWKS GUARD KYLE KORVER

RE: Positives from the game

“We‟ve had a really tough stretch, been on the road, and just mentally, dealing with a lot of injuries. Just to have guys back and healthy and for us to play a good basketball game against a good basketball team, that‟s just a positive step for us. I think we have 21 games left. Hopefully we have no more injuries and we can kind of get on a roll before the playoffs start.”

HAWKS FORWARD PAUL MILLSAP

RE: Jeff Teague’s missed free-throw

“He‟s a basketball player. Things like that happen. Just tough breaks, man, tough breaks. You want to make it, you don‟t. You try to miss it, you make it.”

HAWKS FORWARD PAUL MILLSAP

RE: Upcoming game against old team Utah Jazz

“It‟s going to be an exciting game. First game back there. I can‟t wait to see a lot of familiar faces and see what type of reaction I get. Hopefully we go out, we bust through, and get a win.”

 

VIDEO

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PREVIEW

By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten


The Clippers are rolling.

Winners of a season-high six straight games, they come into Saturday night’s matchup with the Atlanta Hawks (26-34) owners of the league’s top efficiency rating and creeping ever closer to one of the top three seeds in the Western Conference.

After defeating the Lakers by a franchise-record 48 points on Thursday, the Clippers (43-20) are a half game behind the Houston Rockets for third in the West and 3.5 back from No. 1 overall with 19 games to play, counting Saturday.

It is the second time they have faced the Hawks, but under much different circumstances. Atlanta has been battered by injuries since their 10-point victory over the Clippers on Dec. 4. They have lost 12 of their last 13 games, including all four so far on their six-game road trip.

NOTEWORTHY MATCHUP

Photo

Photo

Chris Paul vs. Jeff Teague

Paul

G

PPG

APG

RPG

SPG

FG%

3P%

2013-14

44

18.6

11.0

4.5

2.4

.460

.336

vs. ATL

18

15.7

10.4

4.7

2.1

.507

.257

vs. Teague

6

19.3

8.5

3.3

3.0

.475

.455

 

Teague

G

PPG

APG

RPG

SPG

FG%

FT%

2013-14

57

16.1

6.9

2.6

1.2

.424

.296

vs. LAC

9

8.3

3.9

1.3

0.8

.466

.333

vs. Paul

6

10.7

5.5

2.2

0.5

.379

.294

 

THREE THINGS TO WATCH ON PRIME TICKET

- Paul has jumped nine spots on the career assist list this season and has a chance to move up one more slot on Saturday. He is six assists away from passing former Clippers point guard Sam Cassell for No. 31 all-time. Paul has 5,934 career assists and has had at least eight in every game since he returned from a separated shoulder on Feb. 9.

- The Clippers are tied for second in the NBA in fast-break points (18.1 per game), but that number has been boosted during their six-game winning streak. Over that span, the Clippers are averaging 23.7 points on the break and have exceeded 25 three times, including 34 against the Thunder and Lakers. Conversely, Atlanta is tied for the seventh best transition defense in the league.

- The Hawks, led by Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll, have made 10 or more 3-pointers in 26 games this season, one shy of a franchise record. They went 12-for-23 (52.2 percent) against the Clippers in Atlanta. But since the first month of the season, L.A. has drastically improved its 3-point defense. They are ranked first in the league in opponent 3-point percentage (32.6 percent) and allow just seven per game.

NOTES

The Clippers are just 3-7 in their last 10 games against Atlanta, but have won two in a row at Staples Center… Rivers and Hawks broadcaster Dominique Wilkins were teammates for Rivers’ in Atlanta as a player. Coincidentally, both of them also played for the Clippers… The Hawks are first in the NBA in assists per game and are 9-1 when they have 30 assists in a game this season… Korver’s NBA record streak of 127 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer ended on Mar. 5… Blake Griffin is 19 rebounds away from 6,000… Former Clipper Elton Brand is shooting 57.7 percent from the floor in his last four games (all starts)… The Clippers are 25-5 at home, which is the second best home record in the NBA. That includes a record of 9-2 against Eastern Conference opponents…

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Doc Rivers: “I rarely look at the opponent. We talk about them. We prepare for them, but I always talk about our team. It doesn’t matter what they do, we’ve got to keep preparing ourselves.”

INJURY UPDATE

LAC: Jared Dudley (back) is a game-time decision. Jamal Crawford (calf) is not expected to play. And J.J. Redick (back) will miss his 13th game in a row.

ATL: Gustavo Ayon (shoulder), Al Horford (pectoral muscle) and John Jenkins (back) remain out.  

REGULAR SEASON SERIES HISTORY

All Time: 38-73 (Home: 25-30, Road 13-43)
2013-14: 0-1
Current Overall Streak: Lost 2

Home Streak: Won 2
Last Win: Nov. 11, 2012 (89-76)
Last Loss: Jan. 2, 2011 (98-107)

Largest Margin of Victory:
Home: 23 (109-86), Nov. 5, 2001
Largest Margin of Defeat:
Home: 36 (82-118), Jan. 26, 1973

SEASON SERIES

Dec. 4, 2013 at Philips Arena: Hawks 107, Clippers 97
Mar. 8, 2014 at Staples Center

LAST TIME OUT


RECAP | BOX SCORE

Clippers Leaders:

Pts: Collison 24
Reb: Barnes/Jordan 12
Ast: Paul 11

Last Time Out



142


94


ATLANTA HAWKS

Hawks Leaders:

Pts: Millsap 16
Reb: Millsap 7
Ast: Teague 6

 

BOX SCORE »


111


97