Game #27 | December 18, 2013
Staples Center | Los Angeles, CA

  • 108

  • 95

- TOP PERFORMERS -


POINTS REBOUNDS ASSISTS BLOCKS STEALS
21 20 11 5 2
COMPLETE GAME INFORMATION | GAME NOTES
 

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108


RECAP

LOS ANGELES – Doc Rivers, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul all agreed that the Clippers were sluggish; that the 13-game road trip had perhaps caught up to them two nights later than they expected.

Tired legs hardly made a difference, though, Wednesday night as they Clippers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans, 108-95, for their third consecutive double-digit victory.

The Clippers (18-9) led by as many as 19 points, held New Orleans (11-13) to 39.8 percent shooting and got double-doubles from all three of their stars. Chris Paul had 12 points and 11 assists and Blake Griffin scored a team-high 21 points with 10 rebounds and five assists before fouling out with just over four minutes remaining.

But it was DeAndre Jordan who led the Clippers past the Pelicans, spoiling the return of Anthony Davis from a broken hand that kept him out of seven games.

Davis scored 24 points with 12 rebounds off the bench, but Jordan, who has not only entered the conversation for the Most Improved Player award but perhaps Defensive Player of the Year, topped him.

The sixth-year center finished with 14 points (6-of-6 shooting), 20 rebounds and five blocked shots. And when the Clippers were searching for a spark early in the game, Rivers said Jordan provided it.

“Thank goodness,” Rivers said of Jordan’s effort. “I just felt like we were flat in the first half and I thought D.J. single-handedly kept us in with his defense and his rebounding and everything else. You have nights like this and it’s nice to win on a night like this.”

The night included Paul and Jamal Crawford, who made his third consecutive start, shooting just 7-for-26 from the field and the Clippers allowing 55 rebounds and a triple-double to Tyreke Evans in his return from an ankle injury.

But much like they did in their previous two victories over Washington and San Antonio, the Clippers’ defense dictated the game. They limited New Orleans, one of the league’s most prolific teams in transition, to just 12 fast-break points (more than seven below their season average), held Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday in check, and allowed just one 3-pointer in the second half.

“We’ve leaned on our defense at times when we’ve needed it,” Griffin said of the last three wins. “We’ve allowed our defense to get us into offense and get it going. There was a stretch tonight when it seemed like we missed a lot of shots in a row or didn’t hit as many but I thought we stayed in the game or maintained our lead because of our defense.”
Defense has become something of the Clippers’ mantra of late. Since Nov. 19 they are third in the NBA in points allowed per 100 possessions (96.2). It was no different Wednesday, particularly in the third quarter, when they outscored New Orleans 20-9 in the first 7:18 to open up a 72-54 lead. The Pelicans were never got any closer than 11 points from then on.
“On nights like this you’ve got to find a way to win,” Paul said. “We did that.”
Jared Dudley, whose emergence from a two-week long shooting slump has coincided with the Clippers three-game winning streak, chipped in 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting. They also got 24 points combined from Darren Collison and Willie Green off the bench.
Collison perhaps had his game with the Clippers. He put relentless pressure on New Orleans’ defense in the opening half, getting to the rim in semi-transition and even twice in half-court situations. He made six of the Clippers’ 16 free throws in the half, and played 12 minutes, nearly all consecutive, after Paul checked out with two fouls in the first quarter.

He finished with 14 points, one shy of his season high, five rebounds and went 9-for-9 from the foul line.

NOTES

In their last three games, the Clippers have won by an average of 18, made 31 3-pointers, and scored no fewer than 108 points… Crawford was 10-for-11 from the free throw line. He’s scored exactly 17 points in each of his three starts… Seven Clippers scored in double figures… They assisted on 25 of their 33 field goals, including 11 straight to start the game… The Clippers are 10-2 at home this season… Austin Rivers, who played for the second time against his father, scored two points in 14:35 off the bench… Jordan had his 12th double-double, a career high, in just his 27th game of the season…

QUOTES

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Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on opposing his son, Austin:

“I actually didn’t like it. I’ve said it before, you know, going against other people you like, but going against your own son, it’s no fun for you. When he has the ball as a parent you’re like, ‘Don’t get hurt, don’t make a mistake, but turn the ball over.’ It’s just tough. I don’t get a lot of enjoyment out of it, but I thought I would. Like last year when we played and the game started, I didn’t like it. I don’t know what parent is going to cheer against his own kid.”

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Clippers forward Jared Dudley on where the Clippers are in the big picture:

“I think we are learning. You can tell it’s been a couple months that we have been playing; chemistry [has] been up and down but I think the groove defensively has been a lot better.”

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Clippers guard Chris Paul on DeAndre Jordan’s performance:

“Outstanding. Five blocked shots, 14 points, 20 rebounds is no question, MVP of the night. We don’t win this game without his effort. We were a little sluggish tonight. You would expect that against the Spurs, but it seemed like it caught up with us tonight. He just kept telling us: ‘Come on fellas’ and we fed off that.”

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Clippers guard Willie Green on execution in Wednesday’s game:

“Everything triggers off of defense. We can play good sound defense, make guys take contested twos and contested tough shots; we can get out and run and play the good pace that we want to play at.”

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Pelicans center Jason Smith on how DeAndre Jordan impacted the game:

“He’s a very active player. He went out there with the mindset to play hard, and he definitely did that tonight. He’s very athletic. He was running the floor well. You can just tell that they were having good synergy tonight.”

VIDEO

CROWN ROYAL SHOT OF THE GAME

PREVIEW

By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten




LOS ANGELES – Chris Paul insists he never played for the Pelicans.

“They’re the Hornets,” he said on his way out of his postgame press conference following the Clippers’ 23-point win over the Spurs.

Paul, who spent six years in New Orleans when the franchise’s moniker was the Hornets, gets his first look at the Pelicans (11-12) this season on Wednesday. It’s the middle of a four-game home stand for the Clippers (17-9), who have won four of their last five games, including Monday’s win over San Antonio.

“I mean, this wasn’t the championship or anything like that,” Paul said, “but another good win for us, coming off of a road trip. Now we’ve got a New Orleans team coming in Wednesday that we’ve got to get ready for.”

New Orleans lost, 104-93, to the Warriors Tuesday. They are the third Clippers’ opponent in the last five games to play them on the second night of a back-to-back.

NOTEWORTHY MATCHUP



JAMAL CRAWFORD vs. ERIC GORDON


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A former Clippers lottery pick and high-scoring shooting guard (Gordon) takes on the newest high-scoring shooting guard on Wednesday (Crawford). Gordon, who was the principle figure in the Paul trade two years ago, is averaging 16.0 points per game, an identical number to Crawford.

Gordon is shooting just 5-for-20 in the last two games. He has struggled in three career games against his former team, shooting 42.9 percent and just 20.0 percent from 3-point range. As for Crawford, he will likely make his third start in row Wednesday.

“Me and [Jamal Crawford] just talked about it after the game,” Paul said. “I think it gives us another dimension in that starting unit. I can push the ball, he can handle the ball and he makes plays. It’s just something different. Doc changed it up against the Wizards and we’ll see how that keeps going.”

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers talked about he likes about having Crawford start next to Paul.

“I like our spacing,” Rivers said. “I felt like [Chris Paul] was trying to do so much with the ball because he didn’t have that other great creator, ball-handler with him on the floor.”

THINGS TO WATCH

1. We’re the Rivers’. For the third time, and first as a member of the Clippers, Rivers will coach on the opposite sideline from his son, Austin. The younger Rivers has seen an increase in playing time of late, partly due to the injury Tyreke Evans’ left ankle injury. In the past two games, Austin, has scored 28 points combined in 49 minutes.

“I hate it,” Doc Rivers said of facing his son. “I thought I would enjoy it, but I don’t.”

Doc and Austin are only the fourth father-son duo to compete against each other in NBA history, joining George and Coby Karl, Mike Dunleavy Sr. and Jr. and Jan and Butch van Breda Kolff.

2. Long distance defense. The Clippers have taken a dramatic step forward in their 3-point defense. They have gone from 26th in the NBA defending the three a year ago to No. 3 through 26 games this season.

“Last year we were [26th] in 3-point field goal percentage, guarding it,” Rivers said. “And we had to get better, especially in this new league where everybody’s taking them. You have to get out there and guard them, but you can’t give the interior away either. Earlier in the year we were not very good. We were pulled out when we should be pulled in. Now we’re pulled in and we have to get back out and we’re doing a great job there.”

They’ll be tested, though, against New Orleans. Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Antony Morrow, Jrue Holiday and Brian Roberts are all shooting at least 38 percent from 3-point range while taking at least 1.5 attempts per game. Overall, the Pelicans are seventh in the NBA in 3-point shooting (38.3 percent).

3. Tempo. With young star Anthony Davis (hand) sidelined, the Pelicans have pushed the temp more than they have in past years under Monty Williams. The problem for them, though, has been when they get taken out of transition they struggle to score the ball. They have just 15 fast-break points in the past two games combined (both losses).

NOTES

Evans (ankle) missed his second game in a row on Tuesday against the Warriors… The Clippers are seeking to improve their conference best 11-3 record against the West… They have lost twice to New Orleans at Staples Center since 2011-12… Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu, who were acquired in the Paul trade, remain with New Orleans, and Rivers was the No. 10 overall pick in last year’s draft, a selection which was also acquired in the trade… Williams and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps played with Doc Rivers in San Antonio… The Clippers are 11-0 when they score 104 points or more. They’re averaging 114 points in the last two games…

LAST TIME OUT


RECAP | BOX SCORE
GRIFFIN FREE THROW SUCCESS

 

Clippers Leaders:
Pts: Griffin 27
Reb: Jordan 11
Ast: Paul 7

Last Time Out




115


92


NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

Pelicans Leaders:
Pts: Anderson 21
Reb: Aminu 8
Ast: Holiday 6

BOX SCORE »



104



93