Game #16 | November 27, 2013
STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, CA

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LOS ANGELES – Chris Paul threw a perfect bounce pass to Blake Griffin for a right-handed dunk Wednesday night with 3:21 left in the third quarter.

The visiting Knicks called timeout after the play gave the Clippers a 10-point lead and Paul limped off the court with a strained right hamstring.

Paul did not return to the game, although he was available late in the fourth quarter, and the Clippers didn’t need him. They stymied New York defensively and pulled away for a 93-80 victory at Staples Center.

It was the eighth win in nine home games for the Clippers (11-5), who sent the reeling Knicks (3-11) to their seventh loss in a row.

Paul finished with 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds in 26 minutes. He returned to the bench with less than five minutes remaining in the game and was considered available to return. But as a nine-point lead was extended to 15, Paul remained on the sideline.

“He said he could have come back,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “But there was no chance that he was coming back in.”

While Rivers remained cautious with Paul, his team was putting together an extended stretch of fourth-quarter defense for the second game in a row. On Sunday afternoon they held the Bulls to nine points in the final 12 minutes and until a meaningless jumper by Andrea Bargnani they nearly duplicated it three days later.

“It’s definitely a sign that things are going in the right direction,” Paul said. “But also we played against two teams that kind of come down and throw it to a guy and stuff like that, so it’s not as up-tempo and fast.”

“It is encouraging,” said Blake Griffin, who secured his ninth double-double in a row with 15 points and 13 rebounds. “I think we’re getting better, but I think we have a lot of improvement left.”

The Clippers outscored the Knicks 19-12 in the fourth quarter and held New York to 38.6 percent from the field for the game. It’s the fourth time in the last five outings they’ve prevented an opponent from shooting better than 42.0 percent.

But the defense was virtually non-existent in the opening few minutes. Carmelo Anthony, who finished with a game-high 27 points, and Bargnani scored 15 of New York’s first 19. Rivers called timeout with his team down nine and helped them reverse course. They used an 11-2 run, capped by an alley-oop to DeAndre Jordan from Paul, to take their first lead and d were up by double-digits midway through the second quarter thanks to their bench.

Darren Collison scored nine point in 22 minutes backing up Paul, including the entire fourth quarter. Jamal Crawford added 13 as L.A. had an overall 34-13 edge in bench points.

“Our bench won the game tonight,” Rivers said. “Our starters had a rare flat first half and our bench came in and got an 11-point lead.”

Rivers has said he wants the Clippers to win games when they struggle to score the ball. They did that on Wednesday by way of a game that seemingly had little flow to it throughout.

“I didn’t think we played particularly well in certain parts of the game, but we did play well in other parts,” Griffin said. “You can’t get too down after a game like this. We’ll take the win, but there are some things we’ve got to work on.”

The fits and starts were most evident in a second quarter where the Clippers reached 40 points with 8:19 to go and managed just nine more in the rest of the half. Crawford buried a 3-pointer from straightaway over J.R. Smith to give L.A. a 40-29 lead, their largest of the game, but an extended cold spell, helped New York close the gap.

The Knicks took a brief lead thanks to a 13-0 run, but a follow dunk by Jordan ended the Clippers’ more than five-minute field goal drought and Paul scored five consecutive points to give the Clippers a four-point lead at the half.

Anthony had 19 points in the opening half, but scored just eight more in the game. He went 9-for-23, including missing three of the Knicks’ 20 3-point attempts. They were 3-for-20 (15 percent) in the game. Griffin said the team honed in on the league’s second-leading scorer more when they came out of the locker room.

“We made sure we gave him a little bit more attention in the post, especially when he put the ball down several times or got to the paint,” Griffin said. “We tried to just get it out of hands and make other guys make plays. We got lucky here and there because he missed some makeable shots, but I thought Jared [Dudley] and whoever else was guarding him in the second half did a good job.”


Dudley addressed the sellout crowd before the game. “We want to wish everyone here a Happy Thanksgiving,” he said. “We’re definitely thankful for you as fans.” … The Clippers are 6-0 at home when leading after the first quarter… Griffin is 12 points away from 5,000 for his career… Rivers is two wins away from 600 for his head-coaching career… Matt Barnes, who missed his fifth game with a retinal tear in his left eye, sat on the Clippers’ bench for the first time since his injury occurred Nov. 18. He said he will be re-evaluated Monday… The Clippers shot 23-of-31 (74.2 percent) from the foul line… New York’s 80 points was a season-low for a Clippers’ opponent…





Doc Rivers

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on team’s 3-point defense:
“It’s coming. You can’t sure it up until you get your interior rotations right, the weak side right and we’re starting to get that. Now guys are in the right spot so now they recover back out. Earlier in the year, when you’re in the wrong spot, you have no chance to recover back out to the 3-point line.”


Clippers guard Chris Paul on one of the game’s turning points:

“The biggest thing in the game was we called a timeout seven minutes into the game and they had 21 points. At the end of the first quarter I looked down at Blake and said they only scored six more. So, I think that showed that we can out sluggish and we can’t do that.”


Clippers guard J.J. Redick on the necessity of improving as a defensive team:
“If you look historically in the last 20-25 years, you have to be a top 10 defense if you want to be in the Finals. I don’t think we have much of a choice. Eventually, that has to be our identity, we have to figure out ways to win games with our defense.”


Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony on his team’s outlook:
“The easiest thing for us to do is to crumble right now. We are in a dark space and we’ve got to get out of this. We’ve just got to figure it out.”


Clippers guard Darren Collison on the pace of the game:

“We tried to slow it down. At the same time, we want to get some easy buckets. I think tonight was prime example. When we got in transition we got easy buckets, but when we slowed it down we executed.”


By: Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten

LOS ANGELES – With the final November home game approaching, the Clippers are seeking their best nine-game start at home in nearly a decade.

They are 7-1 in the friendly confines of Staples Center. To equal the 2005-06 Clippers for the best early-season run at home since the team moved to Los Angeles, they have to get past the struggling New York Knicks Wednesday night.

While the new-look Clippers have vaulted off to a 10-win start in their first 15 games, the injury-plagued Knicks (3-10) have lost six in a row, including the first two of their four-game trip to the West Coast.

“I don’t ever look at records,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said. “I don’t even look at our record, so that’s for everybody else. I just look at the team.”

When Rivers looks at the Knicks he said he sees a team with talent and plenty of scoring punch that has been without All-Star center Tyson Chandler (knee) for three weeks.

“They have good players on their team,” Rivers added. “They just haven’t played well for whatever reason. They will at some point. We’re just hoping it’s not [Wednesday].”

Blake Griffin’s assessment of the Knicks, echoed his coach.

“The danger is overlooking a team like that who is very talented and capable of playing winning games and capable of playing well and capable of putting up a lot of points,” Griffin said. “So, we can’t overlook any games.”

Griffin enters the night needing 27 points to reach 5,000 for his career. Once he reaches the milestone, he will be just the 24th active player to score 5,000 points before the conclusion of his fourth season.


Jared Dudley vs. Carmelo Anthony



Dudley, who continues to play through right knee tendinitis, had a breakthrough game against the Bulls three days ago, scoring a season-high 21 points and connecting on eight of his 10 shots. Dudley said it always “feels good” to make shots, but that he doesn’t care if he goes “3-for-10” so as long as the team wins.

On Wednesday, his shots may be secondary. He’ll be tasked with starting the game guarding, Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony, who is the league’s second-leading scorer and coming off a 34-point effort against Portland on Monday. Before practice Tuesday, Dudley described what he has to do guarding Anthony.

“He has his sweet spots and finds a way,” Dudley said. “I’d rather him catch the ball at the 3-point line than the little 17-18 foot [spot]. I’m someone who wants him to put the ball on the floor. I don’t want him to get those jab step jumpshots. That’s how he gets into a rhythm. I try to keep him out of the middle. He loves to contact and get fouls. I want to keep him off the free throw line, so it’s just position defense and relying on someone like DJ to help me out when he gets all the way to the basket. But also it’s making him work. So, when the ball goes up it’s me running in transition. He’s someone that likes to concentrate a lot on offense, so I have to make him work on defense.”

A season ago, Anthony scored 38 points in three quarters against the Clippers in New York, but was relatively shut down in the fourth by Grant Hill, who worked to deny Anthony easy catches in his so-called “sweet spots.” Rivers said, though, that no matter what Hill did in that game last February, stopping Anthony is much easier said than done.

“If it was easy to stop him we wouldn’t be talking about him,” Rivers said. “I’ve always said that. If it was easy to stop LeBron [James] and [Kevin] Durant then we wouldn’t mention them much. The reason they’re great is because everyone's tried everything and they still score. You try to limit his catches as much as possible, you try to make him work for his catches and you can do all that and he can still go for 40. That’s why he’s Carmelo. That doesn’t mean we want him to do that and if does that we hope he takes 40 shots to do it.”

Dudley will continue to be limited to 5-6 minute stretches on the court. When he goes to the bench, rookie Reggie Bullock could get a crack at Anthony. However, it’s more likely Rivers may turn to Griffin.

“I’ll use Blake on anybody if it’s a 3, 4 or 5,” Rivers said. “I have no fear of putting Blake on any of those guys.”


1. Interior scoring. With Chandler out, the Knicks have allowed 41.3 points per game in the paint. It’s a minimal increase from a year earlier when they gave up 39.8 per game with Chandler in the lineup. However, even with a limited Kenyon Martin, who can still play a tough brand of defense, the Knicks are at a significant disadvantage inside against the Clippers. Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are the league’s top dunking tandem, and fewer of those than ever are coming in transition. Couple that with New York’s porous perimeter defense and guys like Chris Paul and Darren Collison may be able to live in the paint.  

2. Isolation vs. Movement. According to Synergy Sports, the Knicks run isolation plays 13.2 percent of the time. They lead the league, with only five other teams running even 10 percent. That’s in large part due to Anthony, who is widely considered among the league’s most gifted individual scorers in recent memory and accounts for 40.6 percent of New York’s iso possessions. But they also heavily utilize reigning Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith in that a capacity as well as Iman Shumpert.

The Clippers, on the contrary, have gone against isolation plays in favor of a more motion-friendly system. Of course, Paul, Jamal Crawford and the occasional Griffin post up are a part of the game plan, too. But overall, when they have functioned at peak efficiency, it has come when things start early in the shot clock and the ball is popping from side-to-side. The dichotomy between offenses should be one of the more interesting watches on Wednesday.   


Knicks point guard Raymond Felton (pinched nerve in hip/hamstring) is unlikely to play Wednesday, according to the Bergen Record. Felton has missed the past four games…  The Clippers have won three of the last four against the Knicks, including sweeping the 2012-13 series… Matt Barnes remains out as he recovers from surgery to repair a retinal tear in his left eye… Knicks rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. was selected No. 24 overall, one spot in front of Bullock… The 2005-06 Clippers got off to the best 16-game start since the franchise relocated to Los Angeles, going 11-5. A win versus the Knicks on Wednesday would match that record. The 1974-75 Buffalo Braves started 13-3 (best in franchise history)…


Jared Dudley: “You don’t want to give anyone confidence, especially in the NBA. Their record doesn’t show how good they are. They’ve been bitten by the injury bug with Tyson out. That’s a huge defensive component. But they still have Carmelo and they still have J.R. Smith and on any given night those two can combine for 50-60 points. I think the key for us is sticking to our defensive concepts. We know Melo is going to shoot the ball 20-30 times. We’ve got to make it tough for him and keep the role guys at bay. For us, if we keep doing what we’re doing we’ll be fine.”



Coming: Cole Aldrich (Kings); Andrea Bargnani (Raptors); Tim Hardaway Jr. (Michigan); Toure Murry (Wichita State); Chris Smith (Louisville); Beno Udrih (Magic)

Going: Earl Barron (Free Agent); Marcus Camby (Free Agent); Chris Copeland (Pacers); Steve Novak (Raptors); Quentin Richardson (Free Agent); James White (Pallacanestro Reggiana—Italy)



Clippers Leaders:
Pts: Dudley 21
Ast: Paul 17
Reb: Griffin 12

Last Time Out




Knicks Leaders:
Pts: Anthony 34
Ast: Martin 6
Reb: Anthony 15