Sugene Lee

Posts Tagged ‘Clippers’

Back on track

In NBA: LA Clippers on January 9, 2013 at 11:54 pm

Following a 17-game winning streak, going undefeated in the month of December, the Los Angeles Clippers dropped two straight against the Denver Nuggets and the Golden State Warriors on the road.

Dropping two games to start the new year was disappointing, but not devastating– especially for the Clippers. Dan Woike, reporter for Orange County Register, tweeted out that the music was still being played and jokes were still being made following a loss against the Nuggets. Hoping to bounce back the following night in Oakland, the Clippers fell again in a blow-out loss to the Warriors. However, that’s the game that brought the Clippers back two nights later.

“Battle of L.A” brought about just as much hype as it did the past year despite the losing record of the Los Angeles Lakers. Clippers were without Sixth-Man-of-the-Year candidate, Jamal Crawford (sore left foot), and starter, Caron Butler (personal reasons). After being blown out two nights in a row, “Battle of L.A.” was a game up for grabs, and the Clippers grabbed. Kobe almost saved the day in the 4th quarter, but Chris Paul came through with a dagger over Kobe and closed it out by scoring the last 8 points.

The following night, the Clippers detonated the Warriors in a revenge game after the Warriors’ bench mocked a Blake Griffin 3-pointer that hit the side of the backboard and Warriors’ coach Mark Jackson called Blake Griffin an “actor” following a hard fall from an arm-grabbing foul while going for a dunk. Chris Paul showed why he was the MVP after scoring 27 points (10-12 fg, 5-6 3-pt) and dishing out nine assists in just 28 minutes.

The Clippers remember each loss, but the loss against the Warriors early in November stayed in their minds after the Warriors celebrated, as Chris Paul and Matt Barnes described, like they won the NBA Finals. They understand that a target is on their backs and they know every team wants to beat the team with the best record in the NBA.

Being the team who has a bench deep enough to rest its starters in 4th quarters and a team chemistry that can’t be hidden on the court, bench, or the locker room are things struggling teams wish they had. Of course, winning creates more chemistry, but the Clippers stick together whether they win or lose.

After having three days of rest, the Clippers will take on the Dallas Mavericks, who now has Dirk Nowitzki, at home as they try to add another win to an ongoing home-winning streak to 13.

Showing Up

In NBA: LA Clippers on November 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm

The Los Angeles Clippers were able to get a win against the struggling Lakers, but it didn’t mean a whole lot when they failed against a depleted Golden State Warriors team and the inferior Cleveland Cavaliers.

This doesn’t say a lot about the Warriors or the Cavaliers, but says more about the Clippers. Credit can’t be taken away from those two teams, but the Clippers know they “play to the level of [their] competition,” as Bledsoe said in Tuesday’s practice. Following the first loss against Golden State, the Clippers’ post-game interviews consisted of coming out strong right out of the gate, not playing chase in the second half, etc. However, when all is said and done, none of it matters unless they really do what they say, and so far, they haven’t shown it. Clippers came out strong for several minutes of the first quarter against the Cavaliers, but soon became too complacent and Cleveland shot lights out.

As a team proposed to be “elite,” it may be a bit difficult to be excited about teams not bound to make the playoffs. But, being great on paper means nothing if they don’t come out and show it and they are all aware of that. Given that Blake Griffin is playing through a swollen elbow and stiff neck, he may be the only one with an excuse of not showing up.

As odd as it may be, the Clippers have a target on their backs and no team is going to back down against “Lob City.”

Tonight, the Clippers are playing against a team with a perfect 4-0 record and a team who swept them in last year’s playoffs: San Antonio Spurs.  This is another game Los Angeles is bound to be pumped up for. The Spurs made a fool out of the Clippers. If the Clippers claim to “play to the level of [their] competition,” they have no choice but to play up.

My prediction: I believe that the Clippers will actually take this win and give the Spurs their first loss. Energy and adrenaline will be high and when that happens to the Clippers, results are positive. However, hitting the glass and reducing turnovers are a must.

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! 

“Grit & Grind” Is Not The Answer

In NBA: LA Clippers on May 16, 2012 at 7:19 am

First of all, I give the Clippers a whole lot of props for getting through the first-round. Nearly all ESPN “experts” expected the Clippers to lose in the first round, but they were able to grind out each win and win Game 7 on Memphis’ home court. It was one of the ugliest basketball I’ve seen, but it has to go down as one of the best first round series in the NBA Playoffs.

Then, here’s the problem: San Antonio Spurs. From the start of this lockout season, they’ve become an offensive juggernaut that just can’t be stopped. Once again, they’ve climbed up to take first place, record wise, and completely dominate their opponents. Unfortunately, the Clippers have to be on the bad end of the stick. When playing against a Memphis team that had one of the worst offensive in the league, the Clippers lucked out and got to hide their poor perimeter defense. In Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, it was impossible to cover up their poor defense. Spurs were getting wide open three’s and drained 13-25 from behind the arc. And the Clippers’ poor rebounding continues to make me yell at the television.

The Spurs will not beat themselves, and the Clippers will not be able to grind out games to beat them. The second round will not be nearly as physical as the first round against Memphis, but the Clippers are going to be a heck of a lot smarter than the Spurs to beat them, which likely won’t happen because they have the one and only, Gregg Popovich.

With Chris Paul having an awfully bad shooting night and careless turnovers, Blake Griffin, Randy Foye and Mo Williams offering nothing on the offensive end will kill the Clippers. However, one thing we can take from the playoffs so far is that the Clippers’ bench have shown up. Known as the “Goon Squad,” they have changed the momentum of the game to their favor and have ultimately been the MVP’s of the first round. In Game 1 against the Spurs, Eric Bledsoe was doing it on both ends of the court with an efficient 23 points on 10 of 16 fg’s, 5 rebounds (4 offensive), 4 assists, and 3 steals. Essentially, he was the best Clipper on the court. He is the best on-the-ball and perimeter defender, and the stats don’t do justice to how he impacts the game.

The only way to beat these Spurs is if they can outscore this team. Spurs will score no matter what kind of defense you give them, but if the Clippers are not making shots, they’ll pay for it at the other end.

“Miracle in Memphis” happened, what’s going to happen next?

In NBA: LA Clippers on May 3, 2012 at 12:17 am

I said I had a feeling the Clippers would steal the first game, but there was no way I would’ve thought they would steal the first game coming down from a 27 point deficit.

Most people watching the game probably thought the game was over after the first quarter as it ended with the Grizzlies up 41-26. Memphis was strolling through the first three and a half quarters doing whatever they pleased, shooting over 50% and draining three’s without a hand in their face. The Clippers’ superstars, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, were held to 3 points and 3 turnovers combined in the first half.

With 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter, Chris Paul entered the game, down 24 points. Then, the chipping away began. Reggie Evans anchored the Clippers defensive intensity and physicality, grabbing 13 rebounds in 20 minutes and shut down big man, Zach Randolph.

Memphis took their feet off the pedal and thought they had game 1 in the books. So did everybody else. Televisions were changed to different channels, people were going to bed, and everyone said the Clippers were going to get swept. Even I, a fan who’s watched nearly all the games this season, asked why there was so much time left at the 8 minute mark of the 4th quarter. I wanted the misery to be over with and watch a great comeback game in game 2 of the series, but that came sooner, a few days sooner. The chipping, defensive stops, and three-pointers came so slowly that nobody else saw it coming until Nick Young made three 3’s in a row, cutting the lead down to three. Then, Blake Griffin made the two most important free throws of his career and were down one. Guess who put the lay-up in to put the Clippers up by one? No, you didn’t guess it. It was Reggie Evans off the pick and roll with Chris Paul. With less than a minute left, Memphis comes down the floor and gets the mismatch with Chris Paul and scores easily. Time out is called. Chris Paul brings the ball into the half-court with Tony Allen on him. Guarding too hard, Allen fouls Chris Paul who then makes another crucial two free throws. Clippers up one, again. With about 26 seconds left, Rudy Gay has the ball in his hands with Kenyon Martin as the defender. At 9 seconds, Martin takes the foul to give and it starts again. Gay takes the pull-up jumper with the clock winding down and hits the front of the rim. Too short. Too late. Blake Griffin grabs the rebound and throws it away to Bledsoe and the buzzer beats at 99-98. The Clippers just made the biggest comeback in playoff history.

You can ask Chris Paul what happened in the 4th quarter and how they came back, but he wouldn’t be able to tell you. What he is able to tell you is if that happened again in game 2, Memphis would either increase the lead to 35 or 40, or the Clippers would come within 8 and call it a good fight. The Clippers may have had the worst start of the season, but Memphis had a first quarter that might never happen again, so they cancel out.

All I can expect from the second game is that it will be a grind out game for a full 48 minutes. But, I can say that I feel like the Clippers will take game 2, too.

Why?

Chris Paul was no Chris Paul in those first three quarters. In fact, he was making rookie mistakes and playing out of control.

Blake Griffin was also not Blake Griffin.

Memphis, one of the worst offensive teams, will not be shooting lights out from behind the arc.

Of course, the Clippers can always cause self-destruction and give this game away, but can anyone expect Chris Paul to let that happen to his team again? I don’t think so.

It’s going to be a good one. I can guarantee that much.

Regular season ends, Playoffs begin

In NBA: LA Clippers on April 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm

The 2011-2012 regular season has been one heck of a roller-coaster ride for the Clippers. March has been a horrendous month as they had 20 games, including their second back-to-back-to-back that they lost. After these three consecutive losses, Vinny DelNegro was on the “hot-seat” with thoughts of him being fired any minute of the day. But, that’s when things started to turn around. Their last five games of March were at home and all ended with W’s and Vinny was safe. Not only did they win their last five in March, but they continued to go on a hot run, beating teams like Dallas, OKC (twice), and Denver. Then there’s that whole roller-coaster ride the Clippers have been on, as they lose their last two games and lose home-court advantage to a Memphis team who had a piece of cake schedule to end their regular season. Not only that, but they have also been taking a lot of criticism, particularly Blake on him flopping, staring, getting away with “offensive fouls,” etc.

Now, maybe I’m talking as a fan right now, but despite the Clippers starting their first game on the road, I have a very good feeling they are going to steal this game away. There are too many doubters saying that Memphis is going to win this series in account with what they had done to the Spurs last year. I’m not saying Memphis is not a good team, I think they are a great grind-it-out, defensive team and have a great chance at winning the series, but with a Chris Paul who goes into a whole different level in the playoffs, it won’t be that easy. Tony Allen, arguably one of the best perimeter defenders in the league will have a hard task of containing the playoff Chris Paul as well. Not only Chris Paul, but with the way Randy Foye has been playing, making the most three’s in the league after the All-Star Break, and Blake Griffin being Blake Griffin, it won’t be an easy series.

What Will Hurt the Clippers

The Clippers aren’t even close to being a perfect team and have a lot to fix. One of the most important things that will hurt the Clippers is going to be their free-throw shooting. With one of the worst free-throw shooting percentage in the league, the playoffs are going to be full of hard fouls and if Blake, who averages close to most free throws in the league, can’t make those, it’s going to hurt him and his team, big time.

Perimeter defense is also going to hurt the Clippers as they go into the playoffs. Luckily, the Grizzlies are one of the worst in 3-point shooting, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to hurt the Clippers as any team can get hot behind the arc. Their size, especially at the three, is no match for an athletic Rudy Gay. He will blow by Caron Butler at will.

Stopping the Grizzlies’ big men, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Blake isn’t the best defender and if Randolph decides to go on a tear, as he did in the last playoffs, this series isn’t going to last very long. DeAndre Jordan will also need to step out and defend Gasol, who can easily shoot the 15 footer and bounce-pass the ball without you even knowing.

Third “go-to” guy. Throughout the season, the Clippers haven’t had a third consistent go-to guy outside of Chris and Blake. Caron Butler was that guy in the beginning of the season and have just been up and down after Chauncey Billups went down, then it was Mo Williams who seems to be fairly consistent, but the problem with Williams is that if he doesn’t provide instant offense, he’s about as useless as Reggie Evans is on the offensive end. As of late, it’s been Randy Foye, who’s been on a tear with his three’s, but the question is, can he, who’s never been in the playoffs, do that consistently?

Experience. No explanation needed.

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

So far…On & Off the Court

In NBA: LA Clippers on January 7, 2012 at 7:44 pm

On the Court

The Clippers haven’t exceeded the expectations of anyone around the league, but they haven’t quite disappointed us, yet.

People have a wild imagination of Chris Paul throwing lobs to Blake and DJ 24/7.But, they’re not thinking of how many lobs they’ll have on a game night, they’re not trying to get onto SportCenter’s Top 10, and they’re not trying to put on a show just to please everyone else’s expectations. They’re just trying to win games.

With the media magnifying the Chris Paul trade, they lost their advantage of going into games as the underdog team. Opposing teams have played against the Clippers with high expectations and either blew them off the court, or was blown off the court.

Luckily, the Clippers’ season doesn’t start out with back-to-back-to-backs or even back-to-backs… yet. As a team, who’s only been together for just over a little 3 weeks, they have the chance to have more practices together before game days and learn to gel together.

After just having five games into the regular season, they’ve proven to be a great offensive team and a mediocre defensive team. In their three victories against the Warriors, Trailblazers and Rockets, they held them down to an average of 87.7 points per game. However, in their two losses against the Spurs and Bulls, they gave up an average of 114.5 points per game.

They’re currently one of the worst rebounding teams in the league despite having arguably the best athletic bigs at the four and five positions. Blake Griffin, who used to average 12+ rebounds per game is now only averaging 9, while DeAndre Jordan is only averaging 7. The effort on the Clips’ rebounding end seems to be lacking as they continue to let undersized bigs box them out. No matter how good they are offensively, they will not be able to contend for a championship without defense. All their victories so far have been through playing good defense on the team.

Their defense isn’t consistent throughout the whole game, but there are moments during the games where they show potential to be a great defensive team. They’ve been emphasizing the importance of defense whether they won or lost, which should give ClipperNation something to be excited about.

Despite their poor performance on rebounding, which Reggie Evans and Solomon Jones can hope to help out with, two big improvements from previous seasons are their low turnover rates, averaging only 7 per game, and 3rd quarter starts. After last season’s horrendous 3rd quarter starts, the Clippers were able to come out strong in the 2nd half and most of the time, run away with the game. Their turnover rate, another  problem they had last season, is now ranked among the best teams with the lowest turnovers per game, while forcing their opponents with many, giving them more opportunities to score.

CP3 continues to be a great floor general along with Chauncey Billups at his side. He gets good open looks for his teammates, which should only be getting better as the year goes by. Caron Butler seems to remain consistent with his shots and Mo Williams, although a reserve, brings a ton of energy when he gets on the court. DeAndre Jordan is a blocking and dunking beast, but can still improve his rebounding, along with Blake. Blake is still the exciting player, but hasn’t become 100% on his mid-range jumpers, though he’s had multiple good ones so far (I still cringe every time he goes for the jumper), and I wish he would defend his opponents better (he’s my favorite player, but it still frustrates me when he doesn’t challenge any shots and just puts his arms up).

The Clips are deep in their one to three positions, but are lacking depth with their bigs. Brian Cook (the Luke Walton of the Clippers), playing forward and center right now, hasn’t shown too much potential to be a 2nd string (and pisses the crap out of me every time he’s on the court). Hopefully, with the addition of Reggie Evans and Solomon Jones, they will be better on the boards. Rookies, Travis Leslie was able to score his first NBA basket from an alley-oop from his teammate Trey Thompkins, but hasn’t had a lot of playing time because of their already deep bench in the guard position. On the other hand, Thompkins seems to show potential, showing confidence every time he gets on the court.

Only five games into the regular season, seven including preseason, there have been complaints from other teams and even fans about “excessive” flopping, celebration after dunks, and Blake’s deteriorating humble demeanor. For me, because I am such a die-hard fan, it’s hard for me to see these happenings until somebody points it out. I acknowledge it, but at the same time, because the Clips have been getting so much attention for the good, they also start getting a lot of attention for the bad. Before I start criticizing the Clippers, one thing I do know is that the Clippers don’t “celebrate each dunk like they won the dunk contest.” Especially, Blake Griffin. So whoever disagrees, go re-watch his games and point out where he’s acting like a wild animal after coming down from a dunk. Sure, Blake flopped a couple times, but what player hasn’t? He gets fouled more than what he’s called for but continues to play the game, kind of. What I wish he would stop doing is the “stare” he gives the ref for not calling it. This year only being his 2nd year doesn’t give him the advantage of getting the right calls all the time, and he should know that. So please, Blake, stop with the stares. You’re so much better than that.

Off the Court 

The Clippers haven’t let the hype get into their head. They haven’t been gloating about winning a championship like the Heats did last year, only resulting in thousands of anti-Heats fans. They’re able to stay humble and show determination to win games. Even with great veteran additions and the best true point guard in the league, they stay focused on how to improve to contend in the playoffs.

But, as a Clippers fan, I wish they would be the most perfect, best, humble winning team. Ever. While I know that’s not possible, especially this year, I really hope they play the game the right way.

Clippers starting off the new year with a win

In NBA: LA Clippers on January 2, 2012 at 8:38 am

The Clippers were able to start the new year with a win against Portland in a 93-88 victory.

They had a solid start in the first quarter with the ball moving more and CP3 getting his teammates open shots.

CP3 was able to seal the deal, once again, after Portland came back up from a 17 point deficit, with his lucky 3-point buzzer beater andd drive-in layup with 9.3 seconds left on the clock. He finished the game with 17 points and 7 assists. This is why CP3 is a superstar. He’s able to score points in the final minutes and lead the Clips to a W.

With their improvement on defense, the Clips were able to hold the Blazers to 42.3% from the field and 26.7% from the three. They also came right out the gate with Blake, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds, exercising his mid-range jumpers and making his first attempts. However, he had a team-high of 5 turnovers of his team’s season-high total of 21. The Clips failed to out-rebound their opponents again with 38 rebounds, but luckily, they also forced the Blazers to 21 turnovers. Even with a little improvement from their last two games, the Clippers will improve much more as the season goes on. Blake Griffin states that they’re still “figuring each other out and can be even better.”

Caron Butler also had his best game in a Clippers uniform with 19 points and 5 rebounds; two points also came from a nice dunk of his own.

Randy Foye started in for Chauncey Billups, who’s still out from a sore right groin, and added 8 points of his own.

Mo Williams, who came out with lots of energy from the bench, added 13 points and 5 assists. He’s been embracing his role as a reserve and has shown great energy to keep the team running.

DeAndre Jordan got 9 points and 11 rebounds. Averaging the highest number of blocked shots this season, he was only able to get 1 tonight. However, with his attempts, he changed the direction of many shots and led to a Clippers’ possession.

Portland was coming back from three long quarters of sloppiness, and cut the 17 point deficit to 2, until Chris Paul decided to take over and work all over the place, offensively and defensively. He took on Jamal Crawford, a previous 6th man of the year, who had 23 points off the bench, and held him down. CP3 was also able to jump ball against Marcus Camby, and won.

While the Clippers were able to pull through with a New Year win, they still have much to improve on before they become true contenders. They’ll continue to be tested throughout the season, but they will also improve tremendously. They need to raise their efforts on rebounding as well as defense.

The Clips didn’t shoot extremely well, 48% from the field, but were able to hold down their opponent and win.

Clippers will be taking on Houston Rockets on Wednesday night!