Sugene Lee

Posts Tagged ‘chauncey billups’

Clippers Always Under the Radar

In Uncategorized on September 12, 2012 at 3:15 am

As the NBA offseason is slowly coming to an end, the Clippers had quite a successful summer. Of course, it seemed as if nothing had changed when Vinny DelNegro was extended for another year, and Neil Olshey left for Portland. Things were still very Clipper-esque and seemed to be at a stop. But then, things started to change. 

Lamar Odom was acquired through a ship and trade with Mo Williams, who was traded to his first NBA team, the Utah Jazz. Next, it was Jamal Crawford, who decided to join the Clippers as a free agent, and surprisingly, along with Grant Hill, who’s best friend, Steve Nash, decided to join the Lakers. With Grant Hill’s career coming to an end, it was quite a powerful message to Clipper Nation as to how strongly he believes the Clippers can contend for a championship this upcoming season. One would think that having those three coming off the bench would be good enough, but it did not stop there. The Clips were also able to acquire Willie Green, Ryan Hollins, and Ronny Turiaf. Is there any other team, on paper, deeper than the Clippers right now? 

Want some more good news? Blake Griffin signed his extension for another 5 years and Chauncey Billups is healing much faster than anyone expected. Chris Paul, on the other hand, did not sign an extension, simply because he would be getting more money next year; it all makes sense. Calm down, Clipper Nation. Oh yes, and now, they have a GM who has been working with the Clipper organization for the past 18 years, Gary Sacks. 

Sure, Blake Griffin tore his meniscus and could not participate in this year’s Summer Olympics, but the most important part is that he is 100% right now and ready to go. Also, Chris Paul received surgery on his thumb, but will be back in no time. 

While all this was happening, there was not much buzz around the Clippers. The spotlight was on Dwight Howard, who brought his spotlight to L.A. Just not the Clippers, but rather the Lakers. With Dwight Howard on the other side of the Staples Center, people are assuming that the Lakers will win another championship this year and disregarding the Clippers, once again. Truth be told, the Lakers’ starting five is probably the best there is, but what about their bench? Chemistry? Coaching? I am being biased, only because I despise the Lakers, but really, nobody knows. Did anyone expect the Detroit Pistons to win the championship in 2004? Not a chance. 

So, who knows what will happen this season. Will the Heat win again? What about OKC? San Antonio? And why not, the Clippers? 

The excitement is coming and us, NBA fans, cannot wait any longer! 

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Clippers fall in Rose Garden 97-105

In NBA: LA Clippers on January 11, 2012 at 7:36 am

The Clippers lose, 97-105, in a physical battle against the Trailblazers, who continues to be unbeaten in their vicious Rose Garden.

Despite finally out-rebounding a team, 39-34, with 13 of the 39 being offensive rebounds, the Clippers weren’t able to dig themselves out of their 2nd quarter deficit.

Portland got off to a hot start with Gerald Wallace, who was scoreless in their New Years match, hitting consecutive jumpers and fouling out of the game with 20 points on 8-12 shooting. The Clippers were struggling to get the ball to go through the hoop, only hitting 33% of their shots. However, they went on a quick run with Mo Williams coming off the bench, making seven points in under four minutes and 14 to finish the game, ending the quarter 26-24.

CP3 got into foul trouble quickly, receiving his third with seven minutes left in the 2nd quarter. He sat out the rest of the half with 0-3 shooting, 1 assist and 3 rebounds. Blake Griffin continued to be double-teamed, but finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, also hitting three consecutive jumpers in the third quarter on Lamarcus Aldridge who had 18 points and 7 rebounds of his own.

Caron Butler, who has been consistent throughout the season, continued to quietly contribute his 20 points and 6 rebounds. Reggie Evans also continues to be a threat on the glass with 7 boards in 16 minutes.

The closest the Clips got to Portland was after Chauncey, who had 19 points, hit a three, making it a two point game, 80-82. However, Portland came right back on a 7-0 run, giving them a nine point lead. Every time the Clips cut the lead, Portland made more shots to keep their lead.

With just a little over 20 seconds left the Clips were down three, 97-100, but missed key free throws, one by Billups which was his first miss of the season, and had a couple key turnovers in the final seconds of the game by Blake Griffin. They were just unable to execute their plays in the final minutes.

The Clips didn’t have a horrendous night, but they let Portland outwork them on both ends. They gave Wallace, Aldridge, and Wesley Matthews too many easy looks, especially in the second half. Portland also got sent to the line 32 times and were able to get 26 points from free throws, while the Clips got 17 of their 24 attempts. Whistles were constantly blown by the refs as both teams became chippy with one another, being very physical.

At times, the Clippers seem to be unorganized on their offense, but they need to figure out to jell quicker as they return home to play Miami on Wednesday night and the Lakers on Saturday night.

What Went Wrong?

It won’t happen very often, but CP3 getting into foul trouble hurt the Clippers badly. Without CP3 on the court for most of the first half, Raymond Felton was able to have a smooth first half. However, when Paul came back, he forced two critical turnovers on Felton in the final minutes of the game. Also, with CP3 on the bench, he wasn’t able to be on the court to make plays for his teammates, which led to the Clips’ sloppy offense.

DeAndre Jordan, who blocked 4 shots, but only had 4 points and 5 rebounds in 32 minutes, seemed to have disappeared. For someone who stands at 6’11 and  has a wingspan of 7’6 should be recording double digits in rebounds. He grabbed 11 rebounds, his only double digit, in their last game against Portland on New Years, but failed to grab more than 8 in any other game this season. His agressiveness seems to have gone down and he doesn’t battle his opponents for rebounds like last season as he averaged 7.2 rebounds in 25 minutes compared to 6.7 rebounds in 31 minutes this season.

Brian Cook went scoreless on 0-3 fg’s and 0-2 from behind the arc in his 4:50 minutes of play, which resulted in a -14 in his +/- rating. He fails to make open shots and only contributes to his reputation of becoming the next Luke Walton for the Clippers. (I honestly think Trey Thompkins would do a better job in replacing Cook who can’t even do his job of hitting some 3’s once in a while).

Lastly, Vinny Del Negro’s inability to draw up good plays in the final minutes of a game. Portland deserved to win (and I’m not taking any credit away from them), but with a better coach with more experience, the Clippers can get to a whole other level, fast.
Jerry Sloan? Stockton & Malone = CP3 & Griffin?

Next Game: vs. Miami, Wednesday 1/11/12

Third straight win vs. Bucks

In NBA: LA Clippers on January 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm

A game that should’ve been an easy victory for the Clips became harder than expected in their 92-86 win against the Bucks.

The Bucks didn’t have their starting center, Andrew Bogut, due to personal reasons, along with three reserves and Brockman who left in the first half with an eye contusion.

The first quarter started off with a 8-1 lead for the Clips, until the Bucks went on a 10-3 run. During the second quarter, the Clips were unable to get a point for four straight minutes until Billups, shooting 100%, drew a foul and made two in a row. After another 2 1/2 minutes, they were finally able to get a shot from Caron Butler, who had 20 points and six rebounds of his own. Reggie Evans, who came in for the first time was able to get his first three rebounds within a minute. He’s proven himself to be a rebounding machine and a defensive energizer, but his free throw shooting was horrendous, going one of six from the line. The Clips were being outworked by the Bucks, but both teams shot horribly in the first half, ending in a Bucks lead of 40-38.

Third quarter starts have been the game-changer for the Clippers this year. Caron Butler quietly lead the team by making 13 of his 20 points in the third. The momentum completely shifted over to the Clips after Blake’s three consecutive highlight plays, all assists from CP3, and two of them being thunderous dunks. The Clips had 34 points in the third quarter alone, while Blake finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds and two blocked shots.

The Bucks trailed the rest of the way, but were still able to remain within reach with Brandon Jennings 21 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.

Chris Paul contributed with 9 points, 7 assists, and 4 steals, but also had 4 turnovers. His presence continues to be effective despite his low-scoring games. Chauncey quietly added 19 points of his own making all seven of his free throws. Mo Williams, another energizing reserve, came off the bench and added 10 points in 21 minutes and an amazing blocked shot on Brandon Jenning’s three point attempt. DJ, who had a quiet night due to foul trouble, finished with 3 points from the line, missing his other 3, five rebounds and three blocked shots.

Problems

Rebounding continues to be a problem for the Clippers who was out-rebounded for the fifth game in a row, only grabbing 37 against Bucks’ 42. The effort was a lot better tonight with Blake grabbing 14 rebounds of his own, but the Clips should be able to box out most teams and out rebound them.

Free throws have also been another problem for starters, Blake and DJ, who get sent to the line more than most of their other starters. Evans, who got sent to the line six times, only made one. The team only made 65% of their free throws, 26 of 40, when making those shots alone could’ve blown the Bucks away. The Clips only shot 45% of their field goals, but, luckily, they were able to hold the Bucks to a field goal percentage of 36.

Turnover rates for the Clippers continue to be inconsistent, with 14 against the Bucks. With only seven against the Rockets a few nights ago, the Clips finished the half with eight turnovers.

If the Clippers are able to out-rebound their opponents, which they should be able to, make their free throws, and turn the ball over less, they can be a very dangerous team.

Next game: Tuesday, 1/10, vs. Portland

Clippers blow out the Rockets 117-89

In NBA: LA Clippers on January 5, 2012 at 7:09 am

In the battle between Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry (17 points and 5 assists), a very underrated guard, Paul won. With Paul starting the game scoring points along with Blake’s 1st quarter start, the Clippers were able to open a big margin in the first quarter, scoring 41 points while giving the Rockets only 26. CP3 finished with 20 points on 9 of 14 field goals attempts, 2 of 3 behind the arc, 10 assists, and 3 steals. Blake Griffin also had a great shooting night, finishing with 22 points on 10-15 field goal attempts.

Chauncey Billups came back and gave 13 points of his own, along with Caron Butler’s 11 points. Randy Foye came off the bench in the 4th quarter and went on a little run of his own, scoring 12 in the last quarter.

While the Clips’ defense wasn’t too great in the first quarter, their defense is what gave them the victory in the last 3 quarters. Both teams shooting above 50% into the 2nd quarter, the Clips were able to hold them to 46.1% while they shot 57.3% to end the game.

However, Clippers were still not able to out-rebound their opponent, both teams having 33 rebounds, despite the Rockets’ undersized team. The length of DeAndre Jordan and Blake should take over the boards, but they continue to get beat in every game.

A big improvement from last year is their average number of turnovers, only having 7 tonight and forcing 19 on Houston. This leads to less opportunities for their opponents to score and gain back momentum, but their defense must continue to intensify each game. Jordan, the leader of blocked shots, had none tonight, but was still able to change the direction of his opponents’ shots. If they continue to play defense, their offense will come naturally, like tonight.

Tonight, the Clippers were Lob Angeles, throwing more oops than any other game this season back and forth with DJ and Blake. With another sell-out crowd, the stadium was loud and proud.

After opening the margin by more than 20 points, the starting line-up for the Clips were able to rest for most of the 4th quarter and give the reserves a chance to play. Rookie, Travis Leslie, gets an alley oop assist from Trey Thompkins to score his first NBA basket. Despite all the fame and attention the starters get, they still continue to cheer on their team and show excitement off the bench.

Next game: vs. Bucks on Saturday 1/7

CP3 seals the deal in an ugly win

In NBA: LA Clippers on December 26, 2011 at 7:03 pm

The Clips took on the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day in an ugly 105-86 victory. Despite the 19-point win, the Clips were not anywhere near satisfied with their performance. There was no celebrating after the game, only disappointment. Rebounding still remained a problem and their offensive game was nowhere near pretty. However, their disappointed reactions only showed that they have high-expectations for themselves and are striving to become the best. This should only be encouraging for Clipper Nation.

Excitement roared in the Oracle Arena as the first game of the regular season was about to begin.

Clippers had a rough start with Warriors’ Biendrins and Lee taking charge in the paint with point and rebounds. Points went back and forth with Billups hitting his first 3 of the game, who was a reckless 6-19 from the field and 3-10 behind the arc. Mr. Big Shot continued to take reckless shots and unfortunately, continued to miss during those long stretches of ugly basketball.

Looking alone at Blake’s stats, 22 points and 7 rebounds, isn’t too shabby. But he’s Blake Griffin. Standards are set high for the power forward this year. Fans want to see more quality games.

DeAndre Jordan had a rough game as well, despite his monstrous block party, with 8 blocked shots. Yet, he only took 2 shot attempts, making one, and was 4 of 12 from the line. GSW decided to play hack-a-Jordan and fouled him 4 consecutive times. With none of his free throws falling, it wasn’t a horrible idea for the Warriors, but in the long-run it didn’t help one bit.

Stats don’t account for the performance of either teams. In the 19-point blowout, the Clips didn’t necessarily play better. They were just better. The game was dragged on for 3 1/2 quarters until the best player on the team, CP3, pressed on the gas and sealed the deal with his 3 consecutive jump shots.

This was the realization many came to after watching last night’s game. With the Clips’ potential on a completely different level than last year, they can get effortless wins ugly or pretty. The anticipation wasn’t anywhere near the two preseason games against the Lakers, but they still came out with an easy win. There was never a time during the game where I thought the Clippers were go ing to lose. Yes, the game dragged on with frustration after countless unorganized offensive plays, but the Clips were sure to come out with a win.

The point for the Clippers isn’t to have lobs left and right, but to play basketball and get a W any way possible and their first game of the season proved just that. No matter how ugly it can get, they’re looking to get a win.

Hopefully, these ugly games don’t occur often. But a win is a win.

Here are some highlights to cover for an unsatisfying victory:

DJ’s monstrous block leads to another highlight by Blake.

Caron Butler’s And-1 Rainbow shot

 

Next game: Wed. 12/28 @ San Antonio, 5:30 pm

Postgame: Clippers vs. Lakers 12/19

In NBA: LA Clippers on December 20, 2011 at 9:02 am

Clippers take a 114-95 victory over the Lakers in their first preseason game.

This game was nothing like a typical preseason game. Seats were filled like a regular season match in the Staples Center. Tickets were sold out to watch the Lakers take on the new and improved Clippers team and the competitiveness was shown right out of the gate.

However, because it was the first actual game of the season, both teams showed weaknesses that often occur when they haven’t played together for months.

Kobe, as expected, went on the court to play basketball and revealed no sign of negative emotions concerning his personal life and hit his amazing jump shots from the start but ended up with 7 turnovers. Pau and Bynum, in the front court, also played competitively and at times gave the Clippers a hard time in the post.

Yes, it was just a preseason game, but the Clippers took over the court tonight. The flow wasn’t perfect for either team considering the Lakers had to learn a different system with new coach, Mike Brown, and the Clippers only played together for a couple days. Yet, the Clippers revealed their ability to play together in those 48 minutes.

Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan were the starting lineup for the Clippers and they were one heck of a starting lineup. The veterans played as if they were at least 15 games into the regular season and DeAndre showed his remarkable dunking and blocking abilities. He had a game high of 4 blocked shots, and boy were they vicious. With a swat at Kobe’s shot attempt, DJ knocked Kobe to the ground and embarrassed him. Same to rookie, Darius Morris, who showed a little Kobe in him with a buzzer beater at the end of the first quarter to tie the score at 28 each. Jordan and Chris Paul also connected with a couple lobs and a strong finish that landed the highlight reel.

CP3, with 17 points and 9 assists also played with excitement and passion as he debuted with the Clippers. He wasn’t 100% satisfied, but he said they did a decent job “learning on the fly.” With experience, CP3, Billups and Butler were able to lead the young team by hitting shots and giving direction. Billups, with a game high of 23 points at age 35, showed no signs of aging after hitting consecutive 3’s, one from way deep (now I know why he’s called “Mr. Big Shot”). Butler also hit a few of his mid-range jumpers with ease.

Blake Griffin, who had a couple of highlights of his own got into foul trouble early and couldn’t knock down shots. After an off-the-backboard assist from Billups, Blake slammed the ball down through the hoop, but received a technical for hanging on the rim too long (which shouldn’t have been a technical, but the referee told Blake he probably shouldn’t have called that, so I’m not bitter anymore). Additionally, I also predict that Blake may not be the superstar anymore with the great talent surrounding him. Maybe it was just the preseason game, but he was not himself (hopefully I was just speculating too much into it).

Although the Clippers ended up with a W by 19 points, speaking as a die-hard Clippers fan, this game meant nothing and proved nothing but the fact that the Clippers can be a good team. It didn’t prove that the Clippers were going to be the new L.A. team and it also didn’t prove that the Clippers were going to be the better team. Both teams weren’t at their full potential, but were still learning to gel together and play together. No matter how many all-stars the Clippers have, a championship is simply not possible within the first year as we saw with the Big 3 in Miami. It takes time getting used to with the addition of new players who have never played with each other. With the Lakers losing by a big margin in their first preseason game, they might come out Wednesday night with more motivation and come out with their own victory (but I hope that isn’t the case because I’m going to watch that game at the Staples Center).

The best part of all this is how much excitement there was in the atmosphere of the Staples Center when it was “only” a preseason game. The Clippers bandwagon is filling up, but is also bringing a lot of haters with it.

Boy, it’s going to be a good season.

Close Call

In NBA: LA Clippers on December 14, 2011 at 12:05 am

Sunday night, CP3 trade talks erupted between Hornets and the Clippers. Clippers put in a proposal to the league to acquire CP3. Some sources said the Clippers were offering Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, Minn’s 1st-round pick, and either Eric Bledsoe or Eric Gordon. Thankfully, the Clippers realized the steep price Stern was asking for and rejected the trade. While I believe Chris Paul is arguably the best point guard in the league right now, I know for a fact that trading four or five players from the current Clippers roster was not worth it. He said he would opt-in, meaning he would stay for the next two seasons, but the problem is, would he stay after those two seasons or try going to his original preferred team, the Knicks? What happens if his knee problems kick in? Taking away those players may just destroy the Clippers’ chance of being a contender. In my opinion, it would have been an unbelievable starting 5 if Eric Gordon was not in the package deal, but David Stern was just asking for too much. For now, the Clippers have decided to walk away from CP3 trade negotiations, although, now the Clippers may have an advantage if Stern tries to negotiate another deal and give away less than the original trades.

Following the failure of acquiring CP3, the Clippers matched GSW’s offer for DeAndre Jordan right away. $43 million for 4 years is a lot of money for a player who wasn’t even making $1 million last year, but he has proven that he is capable of becoming one of the top centers in the league. Another addition to the team is Chauncey Billups- a veteran with championship experience. Less than a week before pre-season starts, the Clippers have a roster full of young stars as well as veterans.

Do I smell playoffs this season?

I think YES.