Game #74 | March 29, 2014
Toyota Center | Houston, TX
HOUSTON – All season long the Clippers have been faced with trying to win with different players out of the lineup.
On Saturday in Houston, it was arguably their biggest challenge yet.
After Blake Griffin left the game with lower back spasms midway through the first quarter, the host Houston Rockets raced out to a 15-point lead. But Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford and DeAndre Jordan helped the Clippers rally to a 118-107 victory at Toyota Center, clinching a berth in the 2014 postseason in the process.
It is the third consecutive season the Clippers (52-22) have made the Playoffs, a new franchise record. The win also moved them two games ahead of the Rockets (49-23) for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and swept the four-game season series over Houston.
Paul led the comeback with a brilliant final three quarters. He had 17 of his final 30 points in the second as the Clippers turned a 15-point deficit to a three-point lead. Paul added 12 assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Griffin, who had seven points in the first quarter, was injured with 5:49 to go when Donatas Motiejunas bumped in the back. He took a few steps towards the sideline and collapsed to his hands and knees. After being observed by trainer Jasen Powell on the court he limped to the locker room and did not return.
“It’s one of those things were all season we’ve had different guys go down,” Paul said. “I went down, J.J. [Redick], Jamal [Crawford] and now with Blake, guys are ready.”
And Paul and others were ready, much like they were when Paul was out with a separated shoulder. With the Rockets within seven and in the face of Toyota Center crowd chanting “De-fense” Paul drilled a 3-pointer over 6-foot-9 Chandler Parsons, who guarded him throughout the night. The shot put the Clippers up 102-92 with just under six minutes to go. It was one of Paul’s five 3-pointers on the night, and came just minutes after he made another one from the left wing turned towards the crowd and pounded his chest.
Asked about Paul “stepping up,” Rivers said, “He didn’t have much of a choice and he did [step up].”
Jordan, who finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks for his 37th double-double of the season, was a part of that, too. He was intentionally fouled by Omer Asik on three fourth quarter possessions and made 4-of-6 free throws. He was 6-for-14 from the line overall.
Crawford scored 22 points off the bench, while Matt Barnes added his second double-double of the season, scoring 15 points, including a 3-pointer from the right wing with 2:58 left to make it 111-101, and 10 rebounds.
And that was the story of the game. If it wasn’t one of the Clippers’ more familiar names stepping up it was Darren Collison, who drilled a corner 3-pointer a possession after Barnes, or Ryan Hollins who filled in with four points and three rebounds in eight minutes.
“There were a lot of good efforts,” Rivers said. “Like Matt tonight, I thought was awesome, off the charts. Ryan came in and did an amazing job. Willie [Green] defensively, the seven minutes he came in and put on [James] Harden were phenomenal. So, there were just a lot of guys stepping up. I love this team in that way.”
They also stymied the Rockets, playing without Dwight Howard (ankle) and Patrick Beverley (meniscus), after a first quarter in which they shot 56.5 percent and scored 20 of their 33 points in the paint. Houston finished at 40.5 percent and had just 26 paint points in the final three periods.
“I just thought we stepped up [defensively] to a whole other level,” Collison said. “We weren’t ready to play coming out the gates and they were ready to play obviously. They’re a shot-making team and we just had to play a little bit more defensive and be a little bit more physical and we knew things were eventually going to go our way.
“I thought it was a really good win for us.”
It was the Rockets’ first loss at home since Jan. 24, snapping an 11-game home winning streak… The Clippers have 21 road wins, guaranteeing only the second season in team history above .500 on the road… The Clippers are 30-5 all-time when Paul scores 20 points or more with 10 or more assists… It was the 33rd time the Clippers have scored at least 110 points this season… It was the third consecutive game the Clippers made at least 10 3-pointers. They were 12-for-41… Harden had 32 points to lead the Rockets…
COACH DOC RIVERS
(On his team overcoming adversity) “I don’t know, but it was really good. That was good stuff for us tonight. Blake (Griffin) goes down, Jamal (Crawford) going in and out and that stuff is good for us. We don’t want it, any of it, but when it happens, and Houston jumped on us and got on us quick and spread the floor. We had to make a defensive adjustment. “Ty Lue” (Tyronne Lue, Assistant Coach) thought we should switch and we did and it was a great switch by us and it changed the momentum.”
(On Blake Griffin’s prognosis) “Back spasms, day-to-day. I’m sure they’re going to do whatever they do with x-rays and all that stuff, so we’ll see.”
(On what happened with Glen Davis) “Nothing went on with me. I just thought ‘Baby’ was too emotional and for me if you’re too emotional, I always send you back to the locker room and keep you back there until the next game. I love ‘Baby,’ but I didn’t think emotionally he was ready to play tonight, so we told him to go to the locker room. For me, it’s all about emotional hijacks and if you have one, you go to the back. We’ve talked about that as a group, and I didn’t make a big deal about it or address it at halftime. We needed him tonight, but he wasn’t here.”
(On what the win says about his team) “It’s good. Our guys knew what was going on. The injuries were a big deal. Houston had so many line ups. The biggest distraction for me was trying to figure out defensively what to do with all the line ups that Kevin put out on the floor. What it says about us is that we are here to win games and that our guys are growing up and maturing and that was a great win.”
(On the game) “I think this shows our maturity as a team, as a unit. We’ve been through a lot adversity this year with players going down, a new system, a new coach, but I think this shows how everybody steps up when guys go down. When one of our All-Stars went down, everybody else had to step up.”
(On team overcoming the adversity) “We just know how to cover for each other. I feel like everyone on this team is a pro and when I say that I mean Willie Green goes ten games without playing and then tonight and Ryan Hollins is the same way and they were both ready to play. I really commend those guys for being ready at all times.”
(On the game) “The last few games have been playoff type games. It was real emotional. When Blake went down, it was a big loss for us and we had to step up. It’s like all season long we’ve had guys go down and now with Blake, our guys are ready.”
(On what clicked for him when he got rolling) “We just picked up the tempo a little bit and made a few shots. I was just trying to feel the game out a little bit.”
(On the team’s play) “I’ve never been on a team like this before. I think a lot of teams when a guy goes down, they start looking for excuses and I’ve been on teams like that. Our team is like alright next man stand up and they know what to do.”
(On DeAndre Jordan) “”DJ” was amazing. It was a nice game for him coming back to Houston and playing like that. He’s been like that all season. His energy is unreal. He puts so much pressure on the defense with the way he rolls and goes after the rebound. Defensive Player of the Year if you ask me.”
(On losing Blake Griffin) “It’s tough and hopefully he’ll be okay. It’s like we’re trying to get guys healthy and then somebody else goes out. We have to weather the storm and hope to get him back as soon as possible.”
(On his injury) “I’ll be alright. I think I came back on the twenty second or the twenty third and I left in the twenty sixth and it’s going to take me a while to get back in form. It’s just frustrating because I know I have to go through it. I’ve never taken that much time off since back in 2007. I’ll be alright.”
HOUSTON ROCKETS QUOTES
COACH KEVIN McHALE
(On the end of the 3rd quarter and beginning of the fourth) “After the first quarter we kind of struggled moving the ball. We didn't have good ball movement. We didn't have good body movement. We couldn't sustain anything offensively. They switched and we didn't do what we had to done earlier which was attacking with the ball and we got really stagnant. That's as bad as we've been, stagnant-wise and ball movement-wise, in a long time.”
(On Isaiah Canaan's play) “He made a couple of 3s. He tried to drive. He tried to do some stuff. He had some silly turnovers but the whole team (had too many turnovers). That's nineteen turnovers too many. He's going to get some time so he's going to have to grow and get better.”
(On Clippers defensive strategy) “They (Clippers) switched. We jumbled up on the ball. We didn't space. We stood. We didn't help each other with cutting and moving and it just became a one on one game. We're not a good one on one team. James (Harden) can break his guy down but other than that we are a good ball movement, body movement team. They just switched everything and guys started chasing the ball. Our spacing was bad. We just played very out of character. Guys got flustered I guess. We did not play well. Give them credit, they've had our number. We've had a hard time with those guys.”
(On Chris Paul's play and Clippers offense) “When their top guy has 30 points and 12 assists, you're going to get in trouble. You've got to make him score and not get the assist or make him get a lot of assists. He did everything. He just went wherever he wanted with the ball. We were not sharp. When we did switch on him, we laid off. We looked at him and dared him to shoot. We did a good job early of trying to take DeAndre Jordan's roles out but they kept going off pick and roll and then he finds people. He's (Chris Paul) a hell of a guard.”
(On the Rockets being out of sync offensively) “We've got to do a much better job when they switch. We knew they were going to do that going into the game and when they switch sometimes it's best to get off the ball and space the floor and make them help instead of just dribbling the ball. We had, like, 14 assists tonight so nothing really came easy. That's not our style. We've got to pass the ball and make plays for others and we really didn't do that tonight with 14 assists and I don't know how many turnovers.”
(On whether or not there's an adjustment to be made when the lineups change) “No. You can't use that as an excuse. Everybody goes through injuries. They didn't have their best player either. He (Blake Griffin) played six minutes. It's part of it. We have to learn to win games without guys and hope they can get back as soon as possible.”
(On Chris Paul) “He does a great job of leading his team. Everybody on his team respects him and believes in what he sees out there. He does a good job of getting everybody in their spots and he makes plays for them.”
(On his increased minutes tonight) “It felt good. As a player you always dream of moments like that. I just wanted to do whatever I could to try to help the team win and pick up the slack that we were going to be missing with Pat Beverley out. I just wanted to go out there and play as hard as I could and try to help the team.”
(On what point things start to go badly for the Rockets) “Probably at the end of the second quarter and sometime in the second half as well of us just not getting stops (defensively).”
(On the Rockets problems offensively) “I think we didn't space as well. Stuff dried up and maybe we should have moved the ball a little more and should have played with a little more flow as a team.”
Chris Paul Postgame - 3/29/14Chris Paul discusses the big win over Houston.
Doc Rivers Postgame - 3/29/14Doc Rivers addresses the media following the win over Houston.
Paul Leads Clippers over RocketsClippers vs. Rockets: Chris Paul records 32 points and 12 assists as the Clippers defeat the Rockets.
Arena Link: Jamal CrawfordJamal Crawford joins the show following the Clippers big win over the Rockets.
Jordan FinishesDeAndre Jordan finishes the alley-oop lob from Chris Paul with authority.
Griffin's InjuryBlake Griffin leaves the game in the first quarter with back spasms against the Rockets.
Doc Rivers Pregame - 3/29/14Doc pregame talks about Blake and DJ's chemistry, why he won't adjust even w/o Dwight Howard in lineup for HOU and more.
DeAndre Jordan Shootaround - 3/29/14DeAndre Jordan says the key to beating the Rockets is slowing them in transition. Jordan talks about that and more from shootaround in Houston
Chris Paul Shootaround - 3/29/14Chris Paul talks about the Clippers approach against the Rockets w/o Dwight Howard and more from shootaround in Houston
CLIP SESSION - Best of DJSome of DeAndre Jordan's best plays so far this season
LACtv Preview: Clippers at RocketsClippers go for the season sweep of the Rockets Saturday in Houston.
DeAndre Jordan: 'SIX'The number he wears on his jersey isn't the only similarity between DeAndre Jordan and a defensive legend.
Paul Drops 31Chris Paul drops 31 points to help the Clippers get the win over the Mavericks.
Blake Griffin vs Dirk NowitzkiTwo of the best power forwards in the game battle it out
Blake Griffin Postgame - 3/27/14Blake Griffin's postgame comments following the win in Dallas.
Jamal Crawford Postgame - 3/27/14Jamal Crawford's postgame comments following the win in Dallas.
Blake & DJ Alley-Oops vs DallasBlake lobs it up twice for a DeAndre dunk
Jump Out of the GymBlake Griffin throws the alley-oop to DeAndre Jordan for the high-flying finish.
Blake GriffinMadelyn Burke talks with Blake Griffin about the growth of this Clippers team
Doc Rivers Pregame - 3/27/14Doc talks about Danny Granger, Blake's season and more pregame in Dallas.
|Chris Paul and Blake Griffin Named to 2014 All-NBA Team June 04, 2014||Chris Paul All-Defensive First Team June 02, 2014||Spirit Dance Team: Clippers vs. Thunder | Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 16, 2014||Game Action: Clippers vs. Thunder: Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 16, 2014|
|Clippers vs. Thunder: Game 6 | 5/15/2014 May 15, 2014||Game 5 | Clippers vs. Thunder | 5/13/2014 May 13, 2014|
By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten
Even though the Clippers have already established the postseason tiebreaker over the Houston Rockets, Saturday night’s fourth and final matchup between the No. 3 and No. 4 seed in the Western Conference could determine a lot moving into the final two and a half weeks of the regular season.
The Clippers (51-22) are in the middle of a five-game road trip and have won 14 of their last 16 games. They have already defeated Houston three times this season, including once at Toyota Center in November. But like the Clippers, the Rockets (49-22) are a different team than they were back then.
They have won five in a row and are even in the loss column with the Clippers. A Rockets victory would move them into a tie with the Clippers for third, while a fourth win in a row over Houston for the Clippers would give them essentially a three-game edge considering they own the first two tie breakers as the likely Pacific Division champions and having a 4-0 lead in the season series.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH ON PRIME TICKET
- The three previous meetings between the Clippers and Rockets have taken on different forms. The first game was one of the highest scoring games of the year for the Clippers, who racked up 137 points. In game two, the Clippers erased a double-digit deficit in Houston after playing a lethargic first half. And in game three a few weeks ago, the teams were locked in a defensive battle. The Rockets and Clippers are the two highest scoring teams in the league and are now both ranked in the top five in net efficiency. However, as the Playoffs have approached, both of them have taken on a more defensive identity than earlier in the season.
- When the ball is moving the Rockets are at their best. They have a record of 22-3 when they have at least 24 assists in a game. The Clippers allow 23.4 assists per game (25th in the NBA). However, Houston will likely be hampered by the loss of Patrick Beverley, who tore his meniscus on Thursday. The injury shifts Jeremy Lin to the starting point guard spot and forces rookie Isaiah Canaan into the backup role. In all likelihood, playmaking duties will fall more on Harden. He’s had two points-assists double-doubles in the last three games after previously not having one since Mar. 4.
- The Clippers have compiled a record of 15-4 this season when Paul scores at least 20 points in a game. He’s done so five times since returning from his separated right shoulder on Feb. 9, including scoring 31 against Dallas on Thursday. In Paul’s Clippers career the team is 52-18 when he goes for 20 points or more in the regular season. They are also 29-5 all-time when the seven-time All-Star scores at least 20 points with 10 assists. In eight games versus Houston since Paul joined the Clippers they are 4-0 when he has 20 points or more and 3-1 when does not.
The Clippers have won nine of their last 10 games against the Rockets… The Clippers are 20-17 on the road. It is just the third time in franchise history they have won at least 20 games away from home in a single season… The Rockets have won 11 in a row at home… After winning Thursday, the Clippers stayed in Dallas before departing for Houston Friday afternoon. Their flight was delayed by more than four hours due to a mechanical problem with the team’s plane…
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Doc Rivers: “The West is a monster. It’s amazing. I mean, honest to gosh, it just seems like every night one of ya’ll say it’s another big game. We just had a big game last night… I like the way it is with eight on each side, but sometimes you do think [they should go with] the best 16 records.”
LAC: J.J. Redick (back) will likely miss his 23rd game in a row. Danny Granger (strained left hamstring) is
HOU: Patrick Beverley (meniscus) is out.
REGULAR SEASON SERIES HISTORY
All Time: 68-112 (Home: 45-46, Road: 23-66)
Road Streak: Won 1
Largest Margin of Victory:
Nov. 4, 2013 at Staples Center: Clippers 137, Rockets 118
LAST TIME OUT
Pts: Paul 31