Game #38 | January 8, 2014
Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA

  • 105

  • 111

- TOP PERFORMERS -


POINTS REBOUNDS ASSISTS BLOCKS STEALS
29 13 8 2 4
COMPLETE GAME INFORMATION | GAME NOTES
 

Clippers

23

32

27

23

105

Clippers

32

27

29

23

111


RECAP

LOS ANGELES – Even after the Clippers lost a significant early lead on the scoreboard Wednesday night, there was hardly a feeling that they would squander the game.

Blake Griffin threw in one of the more spectacular dunks of his career and scored 29 points on just 14 shots to lead the Clippers past the Boston Celtics, 111-105, at Staples Center.

It was the second win a row for the Clippers (25-13) and fourth in their last five games and came despite allowing the Celtics (13-23), playing the second night of a back-to-back, to thwart an first-quarter deficit and cause a few nervous moments down the stretch.

“I thought we played in spurts,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “It just felt like every time we got a 12-point lead we kind of relaxed, gave it up, did it again. And that’s how the game felt.”

“We had a chance early on for a knockout and we didn’t. When you give a team, because I’ve been in that situation, life, then it’s desperation for them and you could see that in the way they were playing and they almost pulled it out.”

Jamal Crawford scored 26 points on 8-for-26 shooting and added six assists. DeAndre Jordan recorded his 16th double-double of the season with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Darren Collison, making his third straight start for injured star Chris Paul, had 15 points and six assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter. And Jared Dudley had 18 points, going 7-for-11 from the floor.

But the night belonged mostly to Griffin. He matched his season-high with 42 minutes, including all but 1:30 of the second half, had eight assists, six rebounds, two steals and scrambled defensively guarding everyone from Brandon Bass to Kris Humphries to Jeff Green. His 29 points marked the sixth time in the last 10 games he’s had at least 25.

But the enduring memory from Griffin’s performance was his dunk over Humphries with four minutes to go in the third quarter. He caught a bounce pass on a pick-and-roll with Crawford, rose in front of Humphries and threw the ball in from a few feet away reminiscent of his dunk three years ago over Timofey Mozgov.

The play helped spur the Clippers who were leading by just two after earning a 16-point advantage in the first quarter. They outscored Boston, 24-12, in the seven minutes that followed Griffin’s dunk, taking a 100-84 lead on a 3-pointer by Crawford with 8:26 remaining.

“It shouldn’t get to that point,” Jordan said. “We shouldn’t rely on Blake’s dunk to seal the deal for us. When we’re up big like that early in the game, we’re supposed to be able to step on teams.”

A first half that looked incredibly promising after the Clippers ran off 18 consecutive points in the middle of the first quarter was nearly erased before halftime. The Clippers made just two of their final 10 field goals and Boston pulled as close as one before three free throws by Crawford made it 59-55.

The Celtics climbed back in the game by controlling the Clippers’ fast-break chances. They held L.A. to just three points in transition in more than 18 minutes after the Clippers scored 18 points on the break before anyone, including Boston, had settled in. In a three-minute stretch, they scored on four transition layups or dunks, including a football-style pass from Griffin to Jordan that traveled the length of the court, two 3-pointers and a pull-up jumper from Dudley, who had 16 points in the first half.

It was the second game in a row without Paul (shoulder) in the lineup that the Clippers raced out to an overwhelming first quarter. On Monday against the Orlando Magic they used an 18-0 run to pull away early. The Magic never got closer than 13 points. Two nights later the Celtics took a second-half lead.

“We’ve got to do a better job executing at the end of the game,” said Matt Barnes, who scored five points with eight rebounds. “We had significant leads a few times and they fought back. That’s a credit to them (the Celtics), but we also need to work.”

NOTES

Prior to the game Head Coach Doc Rivers said there is a “very good chance” J.J. Redick, who has not played since Nov. 29, will be ready to play Friday against the Lakers… The Clippers are 12-0 when Dudley makes at least two 3-pointers. He went 4-for-6… All five Clippers starters scored in double figures. They are 6-0 when that happens this season…. Boston lost for the sixth straight time… Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford scored 24 points apiece for the Celtics… The Clippers earned a 24-5 advantage in fast-break points… They are 12-10 all-time without Paul in the lineup…

QUOTES

Clippers forward Blake Griffin on his dunk over Kris Humphries:
“I thought it was a good read by Jamal [Crawford]. It was good timing. Every time something like that happens, it’s always the situation that creates a type of play like that. Getting the ball at the right time, Jamal finding me, D.J. (DeAndre Jordan) is the in the right spot to make Kris Humphries be a little bit late on that. It’s really our execution.”
  Clippers guard Jamal Crawford on go-to option in terms of scoring:
“Obviously, Blake is our guy, we go to him. When they start doubling, triple-teaming him, it open shots to everybody.”
  Celtics forward Jared Sullinger on Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan:
“Honestly, DeAndre’s a tough cover just because he can play off of so many people, and he’s so athletic. And once they throw it 14-15 feet in the air, you’re dead. And that’s the thing that makes him so tough, the way he screens and moves. Blake, he has a lot more moves that we didn’t defend very well, particularly myself.”
  Clippers forward Jared Dudley on getting shots in transition:
“It’s hard to guard us like that. You’ve got those two bigs, Blake and D.J., so athletic running and then after that you kind of lose sight of the 3-point shot.”
  Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on his team playing without Chris Paul:
“I’ve been very encouraged. I’ve got to do a better job figuring out the second unit. I’ve got to keep a couple of starters on with both groups because with Chris out and with J.J. [Redick] it changes a little bit, too. When you think about it we have Chris and J.J. out, so whenever you sub now the guys you would usually be subbing are already in.”

VIDEO

PREVIEW

By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten


LOS ANGELES – For everything that came with the Clippers’ first matchup with the Celtics a month ago in Boston, Wednesday night at Staples Center will feel quite different.

The Dec. 11 meeting was Clippers head coach Doc Rivers’ return to TD Garden. His former team was playing its best basketball of the season. His current team was trying to find itself after losing shooting guard J.J. Redick to injury less than two weeks earlier.

Fast forward to Jan. 8, and the Clippers (24-13) are overcoming another injury, this time to their all-world point guard, Redick is nearing a return, and the Celtics (13-22) have lost five in a row, including a 31-point loss in Denver on Tuesday.
Wednesday is the middle of a five-game road trip for Boston that began in Oklahoma City on Jan. 5 and ends a week later in Portland. They face four of the West’s top six teams with only the Nuggets, who Boston was forced to play in the front end of their back-to-back with the Clippers, falling outside of the Playoffs as of Wednesday.

It is reminiscent of the Clippers’ early-season schedule when they seemingly played a potential Western Conference Playoff team on a nightly basis. This time the Clippers are on the opposite end of the difficult schedule. The Celtics will be the second of three consecutive games against teams with a losing record.

NOTEWORTHY MATCHUP

Photo

Photo


BLAKE GRIFFIN vs. BRANDON BASS



In the past, perhaps before Griffin was a fearless free throw shooter, big bodied, undersized defenders sometimes gave him problems. Statistically speaking, Bass was not necessarily one of those guys, but he presents an interesting matchup with Griffin. In the last three seasons, Bass is one of the top six shooters from midrange. That’s among all players, not just power forwards. Both Bass and Jared Sullinger are capable of stretching the Clippers’ big men out, which can open the lane for slashers like Jordan Crawford, Avery Bradley and Jeff Green.

That said, Griffin has physical prowess over Bass in nearly every way. It’s shown up in their five career matchups, when Griffin scored 20.8 points per game against Bass’ teams in Orlando and Boston. Last month, when the Clippers won 96-88 in Boston, Bass had 17 points and 12 boards to Griffin’s 18 and seven.

THINGS TO WATCH

1. Not the same emotions. When Rivers faces the team he coached for nine seasons in L.A. it will be much different than the emotional return to Boston in December.

“It will be a little different,” he said. “It’s here, where it’s not there so that’s a big difference. It’s not like there is a lot of guys left on the team that I coached, so it’s different in that way. [Rajon] Rondo was the guy that I was closest with because I coached him the longest and talk to him all the time. It’s not like you haven’t seen or talked to them.

“At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s even sports. If you’re working somewhere you’ve got to be committed to it. In my case, I’m committed to this.”

2. Keeping up the pace. The Clippers scored 20 fast-break points in their 101-81 win over the Magic on Monday. They are 8-1 in games that they’ve scored at least 20 points in transition this season. It’s something that will become doubly important with Chris Paul sidelined. Darren Collison, who has 55 points in the last three games combined, is the engine that will help push the pace.

NOTES

The Clippers and Celtics have alternated wins and losses in their last six outings… Newly acquired guard Jerryd Bayless scored six points in 25 minutes during his Celtics debut on Tuesday… Kris Humprhies (ankle) is questionable. He did not play against the Nuggets… The Clippers are fourth in the NBA in points off turnovers. The Celtics commit 15.9 turnovers per game (fifth worst in the NBA)… Last time the Clippers played the Celtics in Los Angeles they won 106-77. It was the largest margin of victory for the Clippers in the 43-year history of the series…

LAST TIME OUT


RECAP | BOX SCORE
PAUL TALKS

Clippers Leaders:
Pts: Collison 21
Reb: Jordan 17
Ast: Crawford 8

Last Time Out



101


81


BOSTON CELTICS

Celtics Leaders:
Pts: Green 17
Reb: Bass/Sullinger 7
Ast: Crawford 5

BOX SCORE »



129



98

SEASON SERIES

Dec. 11, 2013 at TD Garden:
Clippers 96, Celtics 88