Game #81 | April 15, 2014
Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA

  • 117

  • 105

- TOP PERFORMERS -


POINTS REBOUNDS ASSISTS BLOCKS STEALS
24 16 10 2 2
COMPLETE GAME INFORMATION | GAME NOTES
 

LOGO

26

20

34

25

105

Logo

38

25

25

29

117


RECAP

LOS ANGELES – Twelve minutes was all the Clippers needed to show this weekend’s Playoffs can’t arrive fast enough.

They scored the first 13 points of Tuesday’s regular-season home finale against the Denver Nuggets and cruised to a 117-105 victory just four days before the NBA’s postseason begins.

It was the 57th win of the season for the Clippers (57-24), establishing a new franchise record. They finished the regular season, 34-7, at home, extending the franchise record they set Saturday for the most wins in their own building.

“It’s great,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said about setting the franchise wins record. “Listen, winning the [Pacific] Division is great. We didn’t make a big deal of it, but it’s still something you’ve done. Breaking the franchise record is great, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”

Rivers and the Clippers have great ambitions and by the looks of their start Tuesday they’re prepared for it. Even after suggesting throughout the past week that he may rest players in the final two regular season games, Rivers used all five starters.

The group piled on Denver scoring 25 of the first 33 points and making six of their first 10 3-pointers. Aaron Brooks’ layup with 8:51 left in the first quarter marked Denver’s first basket. All of the Clippers’ starters scored before half of the first quarter expired, including Chris Paul making three of his first four 3-pointers.

“We talked about it before the game,” Paul said. “We didn’t know what the implications would be tomorrow. We talked about it before we ran out that tonight was like a playoff game to get that rhythm and get that energy and get it going and we tried to do that.”

Paul, who had 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting and 10 assists, has been shooting the ball better than at any point of the season since Mar. 27. He’s converted 27-of-56 (48.2 percent) of his 3-pointers in that span and is 68-for-132 (51.5 percent) from the field overall. The stretch could not becoming at a better for Paul, who for the better part of four months was on the verge of his lowest shooting percentage from behind the arc since his rookie season.

Paul, J.J. Redick and Blake Griffin each scored at least eight points in the dynamic opening quarter. Redick finished with 18 points on 5-for-10 shooting in 17 minutes and Griffin had 24 points, five rebounds and four assists.

DeAndre Jordan added 13 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. He was the only starter who played in the final quarter, even after Denver cut Clippers’ lead to 91-86. But a spurt from Darren Collison and Jamal Crawford helped get it back to double figures shortly thereafter and Rivers never went back to Griffin and Paul.

“We’re still working to excel,” said Collison, who had 10 points. “We’re a good second-unit team with Jamal just coming back to the lineup we’ve kind of got to readjust some things. But they’re small things.”

For the Clippers, Tuesday was far from being about individual numbers, winning or establishing new franchise mark. It was about priming themselves for the weekend, reestablishing Redick with a starting group that along with Matt Barnes has only played four games together this season, and easing Crawford, who was playing his second game since returning from a strained left calf, back into his role as the league’s superior sixth man.

“You could see early on, everything we ran was for J.J.,” Rivers said. “I just wanted to try and get him some rhythm. And we’ve got to get Jamal’s rhythm now, too.” 

NOTES

The Clippers have a chance to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference with a victory Wednesday at Portland and a loss by Oklahoma City against the Detroit Pistons… The Clippers finished the regular season 34-7 at home, establishing a franchise record for most home wins in a season. The previous best was 32-9 (2012-13)… Griffin was issued his 16th technical foul of the season in the second quarter. Unless it is rescinded, he will be suspended for Wednesday’s regular-season finale. Griffin has had three previous technical fouls rescinded this season… Timofey Mozgov had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets… Crawford had nine points off the bench… Rivers said small forward Danny Granger may begin practicing Thursday or Friday. Granger has not played since Mar. 27 due to a strained left hamstring… The Clippers announced their 135th consecutive sellout. It is the third season in a row they have sold out every home game. The streak began in February 2011 against the Chicago Bulls…

QUOTES

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS


RE: Overall thoughts on tonight’s game
“It was good; I mean we won the game. I thought we came out at the beginning of the game extremely sharp. I thought we lost a little focus after we lost the lead, but I was happy with how we came out.”

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS


RE: Blake Griffin’s 16th technical foul this season
“I doesn’t matter anyway. Worst case he’s suspended for one game, we’re not going to bring him tomorrow anyways. They’ll probably rescind that, I wouldn’t be surprised, but you never know.”

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS


RE: Resting players tomorrow
“I want Blake [Griffin] to stay home and get some rest, he’s so banged up. Then the only other guy I know is J.J. [Redick] for sure.”

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS


RE: Setting a franchise record in wins
“It’s nice, don’t get me wrong. I’m very happy that we’re doing this stuff, but it’s not what we want. To get what you want sometimes you get other stuff I guess is the best way to say it. Like I said before the game, winning the division is part of the stuff you get in the march to what you really want.”

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS


RE: J.J. Redick’s performance tonight
“You can see early on everything we ran was for J.J. I just wanted to try to get him some rhythm, and we have to get Jamal [Crawford]’s rhythm now too. I thought J.J. got it pretty well, I was scared to heck when he went to the floor. He’s just so rugged, he’s one of those guys who can’t help himself, but it was good to see.”

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS


RE: Playing second unit in the fourth quarter
“Well I just thought at that point I had waited too late. I wanted them to close it out. I wanted them to figure it out themselves. I thought it was good for our guys. I think that’s a confidence builder for that group.”

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS


RE: Mental philosophy going into playoffs
“I don’t know if it’s a mental philosophy, I’m just trying to get our guys to be a team. That’s what we have to be. Good teams stay together at the end of the day. And the ones that aren’t, fall apart when the pressure comes. All we’ve talked about all year is being a one. The oneness, we’ve talked about that a lot.”

CLIPPERS HEAD COACH DOC RIVERS


RE: Most impressive trait of this team
“Resiliency. We’ve been very resilient through injuries, and we’ve been down in games. There’s several games that we should not have won and we won because of being a resilient, tough-minded team. I think that’s something that we needed to get, and I think we have it.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN


RE: Technical foul
“Yeah I honestly do [think the technical foul will be rescinded]. It was one of those ones...kind of a continuation, I mean I don’t know what he calls at the time. If I make a play on the ball and I hit the ball first, and he gives me a tech for that, I’m not sure if that’s going to stand up but we’ll see. Ultimately it’s their decision.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN


RE: Jamal Crawford’s return from injury
“I’m not concerned, definitely not. Jamal [Crawford] will be ready to play. Everybody has an off game, if you even want to call it that. But Jamal [Crawford] is the least of our concerns, the least of my concerns for sure.”

CLIPPERS GUARD J.J. REDICK


RE: Not playing in tomorrow’s game vs. Portland Trail Blazers
“I knew ahead of time, whenever that was, two weeks ago. Doc [Rivers] and I talked about, that I wasn’t going to play tomorrow.”

CLIPPERS GUARD J.J. REDICK


RE: Comfort in tonight’s game
“I definitely felt my body...I was moving better and that was the biggest thing. The timing was nice with some shots but the biggest thing was the way I was moving.”

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL


RE: Overall thoughts setting franchise record
“We were part of that last year, at least me and Blake [Griffin] were and we lost in the first round so it’s all good and well... but I think we’re at the point now where it’s all about the post season. We expected to do what we did, it’s great, and it is what it is.”

CLIPPERS GUARD CHRIS PAUL


RE: Preparation for the last two games of the regular season
“We talked about it before the game; we didn’t know what the implications would be tomorrow. We talked about it before we ran out that tonight was sort of like a playoff game for us to get that rhythm, to get that energy and to get it going and we tried to do that.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD JARED DUDLEY


RE: Franchise record 57 wins
“Last year they had a franchise record, and this year, getting that [franchise record], it shows you what this team is capable of now. Third time around going back to the playoffs, you bring in someone like Doc [Rivers] where expectations are higher, a lot of free agents coming in, and now it’s time to get started. We have one more game left and then the showdown starts. I think the city is excited and I think that for this franchise, it shows that we’re taking big leaps.”

CLIPPERS FORWARD JARED DUDLEY


RE: Blake Griffin’s technical foul
“I saw the play. It was a difficult play because you hear the whistle, so for someone like Blake [Griffin], you don’t want the guy to go lay it up. He did hit the ball, but he did follow through and hit his face. If it wasn’t an offensive foul the ref said that he wouldn’t have called the technical – it would have been more of a flagrant. Hopefully for Blake’s sake he gets it rescinded. I think he will.”

CLIPPERS GUARD JAMAL CRAWFORD


RE: Calf in tonight’s game
“Calf is good. Calf is really good. Just keep working through it. That’s what some practices look like that you guys don’t see, when the rust is coming off. Sometimes you’ve got to do it in front of 20,000 [fans], but that’s alright. The quicker I get the rust off, the better.”

CLIPPERS GUARD JAMAL CRAWFORD


RE: Team’s strengths heading into the playoffs
“We have a lot of different styles we can play, we have a lot of different lineups we can play with, and when we do that we’re very versatile. Our coach is excellent, he’s been there, he’s conquered that mountain and he’s been back, so I think we’re in good shape.”

CLIPPERS GUARD JAMAL CRAWFORD


RE: Team’s progression from last season to this season
“I think last year’s disappointment was the foundation for this year. Coming into training camp, if you asked me then if we would eclipse the amount of wins we had I honestly would have said no, because we had seven new faces and a whole new coaching staff. To have all these injuries – myself, J.J. [Redick], Chris [Paul] – to still get 57 wins is remarkable. That’s a credit to Doc [Rivers] and his staff.”

 

VIDEO

PREVIEW

By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten


The Clippers are two games away from the beginning of the postseason; two games away from games that really count.

In the meantime, they are locked into the No. 3 seed in the West and enter Tuesday’s regular-season home finale against the Nuggets (36-44) with a chance to rest before the Playoffs begin this weekend.

The Nuggets, who were eliminated from Playoff contention in March, have defeated the Clippers (56-24) twice in a row this season and have otherwise impacted the postseason race since being knocked out. They defeated the Rockets and Warriors in back-to-back games last week. They’ve won three in a row overall.

The Clippers are seeking to set the franchise record for wins in a regular season. They tied the 2012-13 team’s mark of 56 wins on Saturday, two games sooner than last season.

NOTEWORTHY MATCHUP

Photo

Photo

 

Griffin

G

PPG

ORPG

RPG

APG

FG%

FT%

2013-14

79

24.1

2.4

9.5

3.8

.528

.713

vs. DEN

14

20.4

3.8

10.4

4.3

.486

.689

vs. Faried

9

20.6

3.8

8.9

3.9

.500

.662

 

Faried

G

PPG

ORPG

RPG

APG

FG%

FT%

2013-14

78

13.6

2.9

8.5

1.2

.547

.649

vs. LAC

9

12.1

3.3

8.3

1.1

.563

.784

vs. Griffin

9

12.1

3.3

8.3

1.1

.563

.784

THREE THINGS TO WATCH ON PRIME TICKET

- Health is the Clippers’ primary concern heading into the final two regular season games. Head Coach Doc Rivers has intimated that some players may rest in either one of the two games Tuesday or Wednesday. At practice, Monday, though, Rivers said he still wasn’t sure how he would handle it.

“I think some of them want to play,” Rivers said. “You always go back and forth. You try to get a feel [if you should rest guys]. The difference [between] here and [Boston] is that guys are younger and we’ve had a lot of rest. You don’t want to rest your guys too much. You don’t want them to ever lose rhythm.”

 - Tuesday will be Jamal Crawford’s second game since returning from a strained left calf that cost him the better part of six weeks. He scored 10 points off the bench Saturday and finally started looking comfortable in the fourth quarter when he made back-to-back 3-pointers before being taken out of the game. Against the Nuggets, Crawford will look to continue reestablishing himself in the reserve unit as well as extend his franchise record of 158 3-pointers in a single season. He made six 3-pointers against the Nuggets when the Clippers defeated them at Staples Center in December.

- Entering their home finale, the Clippers are incredibly 31-0 in their own building when leading after the third quarter. No matter who is on the court for the Clippers or the injury-ravaged Nuggets, Denver could be in trouble if they are down after three quarters. They are 2-20 on the road when losing entering the final period.

NOTES

The Clippers are looking to extend their franchise record for home wins to 34… They have defeated the Nuggets three straight times at Staples Center, but are just 3-4 overall in the last two seasons combined… The Nuggets are 14-26 on the road… Former Clipper Randy Foye has scored 20 points or more in four of the last five games… DeAndre Jordan is 20 rebounds away from moving to fourth in franchise history for a single season…

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Chris Paul: “We can still get better defensively and need to shore up some things offensively.”

Matt Barnes: “We’re kind of set where we’re at as far as positioning. We’re going to go out there and continue to play hard and do things the right way.”

INJURY UPDATE

LAC: Danny Granger (hamstring) will not play.   

DEN: Nate Robinson (knee), Danilo Gallinari (knee), J.J. Hickson (knee) and JaVale McGee (leg) remain out. Ty Lawson (ankle) is not expected to play.

REGULAR SEASON SERIES HISTORY

All Time: 69-87 (Home: 50-26, Road: 19-61)
2013-14: 1-2
Current Overall Streak: Lost 2

Home Streak: Won 3
Last Win: Dec. 21, 2013 (112-91)
Last Loss: Feb. 2, 2012 (112-100)

Largest Margin of Victory:
Home: 34 (122-88), Apr. 11, 1992
Largest Margin of Defeat:
Home: 22 (103-125), Apr. 13, 1995

SEASON SERIES

Dec. 21, 2013 at Staples Center: Clippers 112, Nuggets 91
Feb. 3, 2014 at Pepsi Center: Nuggets 116, Clippers 115
Mar. 17, 2014 at Pepsi Center: Nuggets 110, Clippers 100
Apr. 15, 2014 at Staples Center

 

LAST TIME OUT


RECAP | BOX SCORE

Clippers Leaders:

Pts: Griffin 27
Reb: Jordan 9
Ast: Paul 10

Last Time Out



117


101


DENVER NUGGETS

Nuggets Leaders:

Pts: Foye 26
Reb: Faried 21
Ast: Foye 6

BOX SCORE »


101


94