Griffin’s been out since partially tearing his left quadricep tendon in a Christmas Day win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Griffin was expected back sooner until he added fractured right hand a month later punching a Clippers assistant equipment manager outside of a Toronto restaurant.
Since first being sidelined, the Clippers have posted an impressive 26 and 14 record without Griffin. That’s great for a bench that’s gotten extended playing time because of the adjustments being made without Griffin.
The team’s efficiency on both sides of the ball without Griffin has it in the top ten in the league based on 100 possessions per game.
The Clippers rank seventh in the league in offensive efficiency scoring 108 points per game, fifth in the league in defensive efficiency holding opponents to 102.2 points per game.
That puts the Clippers at an impressive fifth overall in the league at plus 5.8 points per game versus the rest of the league.
Including Friday’s game with the Trail Blazers, the Clippers have 12 regular season games remaining and are, at this point, locked in as the fourth overall seed in the Western Conference with home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs basically assured.
So, when is Griffin coming back? The hand is healed so the quad is still what’s keeping him out.
He still has to sit out a four game suspension handed down by the league for the altercation in Toronto which means if he’s to get some playing time to get acclimated to the team and vice versa before the playoffs, it seems imperative he gets back in the lineup in the next ten days.
Rivers answers questions involving Blake’s health and imminent return in the video provided which also shows Griffin working out prior to the Portland game with one of Doc’s assistants, Dave Severns.
The Los Angeles Clippers (43-26) will try to salvage the fourth and last regular season game against the defending world champion Golden State Warriors (63-7) this season when the rivals meet Wednesday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
The Warriors have won the last eight regular season meetings between the two pacific division foes.
In the three prior meetings this season, the Clippers held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of first two games before falling to the Warriors and rallied in the last meeting from a double-digit fourth quarter deficit that fell short on a last second heave by C.J. Wilcox to send the game into overtime.
According to the Clippers – who continue to play without injured Blake Griffin – a win over the Warriors Wednesday will be just that. A win.
However, it would still go a long way in the confidence department if the Clippers could come out with a win.
With just 13 games remaining in the regular season for the Clippers, it’s important to remember they’re the last team to beat the Warriors in a seven game playoff series two seasons ago.
Before Tuesday’s practice, I discussed that with head coach Doc Rivers and all-star point guard Chris Paul.
With the all-star break in the rear-view mirror, the Los Angeles Clippers can get back to work on improving their seeding for the upcoming NBA western conference playoffs.
The Clippers currently rest in the 4th seed – six games behind current top-seed Oklahoma City – as they get ready to tip-off the second half of the season – just 27 games – Tuesday night against the defending Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs currently the 2nd seed just four games behind the Thunder.
Traveling across country is always a difficult proposition for anyone. Especially for professional athletes – let’s say like a basketball team.
Thanks to the Disney On Ice holiday extravaganza taking over Staples Center the first two weeks of December, the Los Angeles Clippers took to the road for an east coast swing where they were able to win four out of the seven games on the roadie.
To read the rest of this story and see the video feature, click here.
The “baby blue” UCLA pipeline to the NBA is a well-traveled one with 15 Bruins currently on NBA rosters entering the upcoming season – the most of any college program.
In fact, UCLA has delivered the most players to the NBA with Shabazz Muhammad (UCLA 2012-’13) being the 83rd Bruin headed to the show this season with the Minnesota Timberwolves where he’ll team up with another former Bruin, Kevin Love (UCLA 2007) .
A third of all the currently active Bruin alums in the Association reside, appropriately enough, in Los Angeles.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t even discuss politics and sports together. But, when the two are combined, shoved in your face, slandering the greatest country on Earth in the process, I can’t help but discuss the issues surrounding their collision.
Stems from Senate Bill 1070 passed by the Arizona Legislature earlier this month. The intent, as it is written in the bill itself, is to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States.
The Bill itself is a Federal one and has been in existence since the days of FDR. The Bill is administered, among other instances, when you are stopped for a traffic violation and the police officer requests you provide your license, registration and proof of insurance.
The Bill is in place to protect American Citizens and Foreign Citizens of ALL Nationalities who are in the United States LEGALLY.
Here’s where the passing of SB 1070 by the Arizona Legislature intersected with sports.
We are not happy with the position that Phil Jackson took. We want to call on Jackson and the Lakers to put on their Los Lakers jerseys, especially considering the tremendous support that the Lakers have enjoyed from the communities specifically targeted by the misguided and racist Arizona law.
Nothing wrong with Lopez’ statement and request after Jackson’s comments and in protest of SB 1070.
In a statement prior to Monday‘s Lakers playoff game against the Suns, Coach Jackson said he wasn’t choosing sides in the matter and applauded the right of all peaceful groups to protest.
Move to Monday’s NBA Western Conference Finals opener in Los Angeles between Jackson’s Lakers and Sarver’s Suns. A protest was staged against SB 1070 and Jackson outside Staples Center with some protesters waving inverted American Flags with Swastikas on them. Previous protests against SB 1070 also accused the members of Arizona’s Legislators of being NAZIS because they passed the Bill.
Comparing the Arizona Legislature’s passing of SB 1070 to NAZI Germany IS A PROBLEM. To do this is OUT OF LINE.
Understanding the inhumanities the NAZIS orchestrated in Europe during the middle of the 20th Century and comparing those NAZI inhumanities to a Federal Bill designed to PROTECT LEGAL CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY, BE IT FOREIGNERS OR AMERICANS, is IGNORANT, INSULTING TO THOSE WHO SUFFERED NAZI ATROCITIES and DEMEANS THOSE ATROCITIES COMMITTED BY THE NAZIS.
I challenge all those who have the audacity to make such a comparison to visit the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and experience NAZI atrocities through its collection of photographic and material evidence.
Maybe then they will understand the comparison IS out of line. Here’s a head start.
In the process, Hitler illegally revoked every Jews citizenship, stealing their possessions and right to live. Six-million Jews and those that “collaborated” with them (some five-million non-Jews including Christians and Catholics) were all part of his Final Solution to systematically exterminate the Jewish Race from existence. Those 11-million humans were MURDERED.
Among the atrocities to innocent men, women and children, Jews and their “collaborators” were executed by firing squads who shot them in the back after forcing them to dig their own graves. They were asphyxiated in trucks minus ventilation breathing in the exhaust from pipes in the truck. They were herded in cattle-cars to concentration camps where they were enslaved and experimented on in horrible ways which included being submerged in freezing water to determine how long it took to die in such conditions. Unmentionable surgical procedures were performed without anesthetics. Unspeakable torture was performed until death resulted.
Their skin was used to construct lamp-shades. Their flesh used to make soap and candle-wax. Their hair used to make pillows. Their teeth extracted to profit from gold fillings. Their possessions sold.
And the Final Solution, some were sent into Gas Chambers disguised as showers for mass extermination with their lifeless corpses cremated in ovens to “get rid of any evidence of wrong-doing.”
Entire families were wiped off the face of the Earth.
So, these questions have to be asked of those who’ve made the out of line comparison between the Atrocities of NAZI Germany and the Arizona Legislature‘s passing of SB 1070.
Where does SB 1070 read Legal Citizens will be stripped of that legal citizenship? Where does it say Illegal Persons will be herded, enslaved and experimented on in horrific ways resulting in certain death? Where does it say those Illegal Persons spared of those horrors will be gassed in chambers disguised as showers until they are dead and then, to get rid of any evidence of wrong-doing, cremated in ovens the size of apartment complexes? Where in SB 1070 does it read the intent of this Bill is to perform Genocide on a race of people?
Fact is, IT DOESN’T SAY ANY OF THIS!
Those groups frustrated, angry and in disagreement by the passing of a Bill designed to protect, in a legal, peaceful and humane manner, the LEGAL, TAX-PAYING CITIZENS of its States and Country against ILLEGALS who come here to manipulate the system, have every right to do so.
That’s what makes the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA THE GREATEST COUNTRY ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH. That’s why people from all over legally, and SOME ILLEGALLY, ENTER THIS COUNTRY. America provides them Freedoms they don’t have in their country of origin.
But to protest disagreements by waving inverted American Flags adorned with Swastikas and to compare Arizona’s Immigration Law to NAZI IDEALS is way off base and, honestly, those protesting in this manner should be escorted out of this country never allowed to return.
They should try that in their country of origin. Odds are they’d get thrown in jail.
U.S. Citizens in the Latino Community, go right ahead and protest all you want. That’s your constitutional right as legal residents in this country.
L.A. City Council Members, go ahead and vote to boycott Arizona products because they passed an immigration bill you believe to be unconstitutional even though it‘s been Federal Law for decades. That’s your constitutional right.
So, in defending your constitutional rights, PLEASE be mindful of comparisons used to make your point in protest because your ignorance and lack of knowledge of events, such as the NAZI ATROCITIES, you used only works to damage your credibility and that of your cause.
Individual stats don’t mean a thing here. I could throw them down. But why? You already know them, can find them on many assorted web sites and they speak for themselves.
No doubt that at the moment LeBron James is the most talented basketball player in the world. As he should be. He’s been in the league seven years and he’s only 25. LeBron, the two-time reigning NBA MVP, is “The King of the Court.”
We are ALL WITNESS to the ONE.
Reminds me of a story.
Not too long ago in the “Hoops Kingdom,” there once was a little prince Los Angeleno’s affectionately called “Kid Kobe.” Like LBJ, Kid Kobe entered the “joust” at the tender age of 18 years old. The little prince took his lumps.
Then, under the huge wing of “The Big Aristotle” and a wise wizard, “The Zen Master,” he learned and matured.
The three, along with their merry men, formed a magical “Triangle” that conquered the kingdom for three straight years and they all became “Lords of the Rings.”
Until the political power-struggle between the trio during the fourth attempt, where they relinquished the kingdom to the “Mad Men from the Motor City” who were guided by the powerful “Larry the Nomad.”
Aristotle left for greener everglades in the “Land of the Sun, Sea and Damsels with Blue Hair.” Zen did as well, riding his motorized stallion to his lair in the North. Kid Kobe was crowned Sole Ruler of the “City of Angels.”
The going was tough for the young and hungry ruler. Many changes occurred at his triangular table. He soon realized “the needs of the many, out-weigh the needs of the one.” He threatened to leave his kingdom to try and conquer another if he couldn’t surround himself with Knights worthy to become “Lords.”
Seeing the unrest, and at the behest of “The Doctor,” the Zen Master returned from the North to reunite with his Young Ruler. Oddly enough, the Ruler HAD knights worthy surrounding him all along. The “Power of the Triangle” was what made the Ruler and his Knights a fabulous show for all times. However, as valiantly as they battled, “The Angeleno’s” could not climb out of the “Valley of the Sun.” The ruler pleaded for help.
During the middle of the next attempt, a “Spanish Conqueror,” majestic among his people and ruler of his court, was summoned. The new trio and their band of merry men began to steamroll through the Western Civilization, which included “setting the army from the valley of the sun.” The, now, experienced Ruler was happy again and loaded with knights to again take his rightful place atop the whole hoops kingdom.
Alas, in his quest, the Ruler and his army were stopped by the “Green Leprechauns” from the East who, at the expense of The Angeleno’s, added rings to their not so hidden treasures.
The Ambitious Ruler vowed he would regain the ring. In the next attempt, his 30th year on this Earth, The Angeleno’s ascended to the top of the Hoops Kingdom.
The Ruler was “Lord of the Rings” once again. And they lived………………
Of course, the story was about Kobe Bryant and the World Champion Los Angeles Lakers. What drives “Kid Kobe” is winning. In the Kobe Era, the Lakers have won four rings in six attempts. Kobe’s got one league Most Valuable Player Award and one Finals MVP. The difference, the Four Rings.
At the moment, for “King James” it’s about individual stats. Two league MVP’s. Zero for one in the Finals.
Brings me to this. The Cleveland Cavaliers have assembled a team around LeBron that’s absolutely good enough to win a World Championship. After two straight bad losses in the Eastern Conference Semi’s to the Boston Celtics it looks as if he seems to lack two skills Kobe’s mastered. LeBron’s not a facilitator, meaning he still doesn’t know how to bring out the immense talents of his teammates, especially when he’s having an off night. Also, LeBron’s clearly not the closer Kobe is. He can, but not consistently, go for the jugular and put an opponent away the way Kobe can.
In the Cavaliers 32-point game five loss to the Celtics, Lebron was so not in the loop, he looked more like the 12th man off the bench. Subsequently, his teammates, who are programmed to defer to LeBron, looked so lost it appeared they had never played basketball before that particular game. Except for four-time world champion Shaquille O’Neal who is playing consistently well in these playoffs.
Sure, you’ve got to give plenty of the blame for the Cavs horrendous play on King James. But, I think Cleveland head coach Mike Brown has to take plenty of heat because the rest of the team seems lost when LeBron is having an “off night.”
Says plenty about Lakers coach Phil Jackson. He won his ten rings, and is on his way to battling for number 11, because all his players are big parts of any game-plan. Kobe’s the focal point as Michael Jordan was with the Chicago Bulls. But the rest of the team, which is ten deep, understand they have to contribute, even when Kobe has an “off night,” if the Lakers are to win.
Realize LeBron’s just 25 while Kobe’s now 31. “King James” will have his moments and championships. Realize the Cavaliers, despite that tank-job losing to the Celtics 120-88, are still alive. Free agent to be “King James” can still conquer the court and get a ring this year.
However, I think it’s way pre-mature that people have passed the “Best Player on the Planet Torch” from Kobe to LeBron. For one reason and one reason only.
LeBron may be “King James”. But Kobe IS “The Lord of the Rings.”
So many things to write about in the sports world, not enough time. Every time I begin to write on a sports topic, I get distracted by another.
Major league baseball’s in full swing. The NBA and Stanley Cup playoffs. The NFL Draft.
I’ll write about the NBA Playoffs and the defending world champion Los Angeles Lakers. I’ll also write about some guy named Denton Ramsey.
So, you’re asking yourself, “What does this Denton guy have to do with the Lakers.” Good question. Here’s the answer. He’s a Texas sports geek who writes for a site called bleacher report. He’s also a Laker-hater. Which is all well and good.
1. L.A. Is Beatable, And They May Not Even Make It To The NBA Finals.
REALLY! No kidding, Denton. That’s why they call it PLAYOFFS!! If the Lakers weren’t beatable, there wouldn’t be a need for playoffs. Seems to me the Lakers were taken to the brink by Houston last post-season on their way to franchise title number 15. Denver went six in the conference finals while Orlando fell in five for the title. Could’ve gone either way in each series. But it didn’t. It went the Lakers’ way.
Here’s why it‘s highly possible it‘ll happen again:
Kobe Bryant’s a creator, facilitator and the best finisher in the game today. He can score from anywhere on the floor and in the air. He can dish to anyone of his teammates from anywhere on the floor and in the air. The Lakers have a front-court of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and defender Ron Artest. Off the bench comes Lamar Odom. No team in the Western Conference can handle that front court. Their only weakness is point-guard. But in “The Triangle,” a point guard isn’t the most important piece of the puzzle. None of Phil Jackson’s champions, be it in Chicago or Los Angeles, ever had a great point guard. The “quarterback” of The Triangle is the shooting guard. Kobe and some guy named Michael Jordan play the role perfectly.
Anyway, the Utah Jazz will be without Mehmet Okur because of his achilles injury in the Denver series. That leaves Carlos Boozer and this 7”1” Kyrylo Fesenko-guy that helps in spurts. Kind of reminds me of the Jazz center in the 80s, 7’4” Mark Eaton. He couldn’t do anything against Kareem or Magic’s “Showtime Lakers.” This Fasenko-guy won’t do much against the quicker tandem of Gasol and Bynum. The Spurs Tim Duncan won’t be able to do much with his aging ankles and heels against Pau and Drew either. Especially in a seven-game series. Phoenix’s Amar’e Stoudemire ………… right.
2. Round Two Upset Alert. The Jazz Are Due Against the Lakers.
Every round’s an Upset Alert when taking on the Lakers. But, see reason number one. That Jazz team in the 80s, with Eaton, Malone, Stockton and Bailey, was “due” against the Showtime Lakers as well. Never happened. Today’s incarnation will meet the same fate. They’re “due” having been ousted the last two playoff seasons by this Lakers’ incarnation. But, the Jazz aren’t any better than the last two years. They’re solid, play tough, have a huge point-guard advantage with Deron Williams. But, so do all the other teams in the post-season. Doesn’t matter. It’s all up front and the Jazz don’t have enough to take four out of seven from the Lakers.
3. Even If They Get Past Jazz, Spurs Still Stand In L.A.’s Way In West.
Again, see reason number one. Tim Duncan is old. Well, his feet and ankles are. He can’t sustain it any longer against the young Lakers’ front line to take four out of seven. Richard Jefferson’s a bust. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker are a bit banged-up. They beat Dallas because they’re an outside shooting team with Dirk Nowitzki. Even with Dallas’ acquisitions of Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, it wasn’t enough. They were better defensively. But those two didn’t change their mentality on offense. The Mavs shot outside playing right into San Antonio’s hands.
The Lakers will take it to the rim against the slower and older Spurs putting Duncan and company in foul trouble. Spurs could win a game, maybe two. But, they’re too old and can’t match the Lakers starters or reserves to take four games from L.A.
4. Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson’s Final Year In L.A. Will Be Title-Less.
True. Phil Jackson may not win his eleventh title as a coach this year. True. This could be his last year coaching the Lakers. That’s because his contract is up whenever the Lakers are done this year. Doesn’t mean he won’t sign another contract which is a good possibility. If he doesn’t, it doesn’t mean he’s leaving L.A. Published reports have him, possibly, moving to the Clippers and enticing LeBron James to share Los Angeles with Kobe. Those are just rumors. But, intriguing none-the-less.
Oh. It’s true that Jackson’s won all these titles as a coach because he’s had all these super-stars on his teams. Wonder if Red Auerbach’s Celtics would’ve won without that hall-of-fame roster of Russell, Cousey, Havlicek, Nelson, White and Silas among others. Or maybe Red Holtzman’s Knicks with Frazier, Monroe, Barnett, Bradly, Reed, Lucas and Debusschere. How about Popovich’s Spurs with Duncan, Robinson, Ginobili and Parker. Every Championship winning coach, in all sports, has super-stars. No coach wins with second-teamers or scrubs.
Anyway, if the Lakers should repeat as Champions, expect Jackson to be back on the bench next season. He’d have to go for his fourth “three-peat” if title eleven happens for him this year.
5. The Entire Team Complains Every Time They are Called for a Foul.
So what. So does every player on every team.
Bottom line is this. If the Lakers take the ball to the rack (which opens up the outside game) against all of their Western Conference opponents, they’ll have a smooth road to the NBA Finals.
It could get a bit difficult for them if they happen to play Cleveland for the Championship. LeBron’s Cavaliers have added parts like Shaq to beat Dwight Howard and the Magic in the Eastern Conference and, maybe, the Lakers in the Finals. But, if I were a betting man, I’d STILL bet on the Lakers to win it all.
The game interest obviously had plenty to do with Mid-Major Butler. Certainly not a Cinderella when you consider entering the title game, the Horizon League Champion Bulldogs were riding a 25-game winning streak and had resided in the national top 25 for most of the year. Butler was certainly the underdog against mighty ACC Champion Duke and justifiably so considering the tradition of Blue Devils Basketball in the Atlantic Coast Conference under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
What the ratings and viewership numbers for this game tell me is, to be cliché, America always roots for the underdog. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It helps that Butler’s campus is less than eight miles away from this year’s Final Four site, Lucas Oil Stadium. You can’t script this but, also, the Bulldogs home-gym is Hinkle Fieldhouse, the gym where the state high school championship game in the move “Hoosiers” was filmed. OH, COME ON! How fun is that!
So, for the life of me, I don’t understand why some sports radio hosts believed if Butler were to win the national championship, it would set the game back 50 years and that having a mid-major like Butler just playing in the title game would sound the death knell for CBS and its ratings.
I take it back. I know why these guys would publicize this. For exactly that. Publicity. So, here you go guys.
Meanwhile, FOX Sports Radio host and FOX Sports Nets Rumors Reporter, Ben Maller, said if Butler made it to the title game, ratings would be at an all time low for CBS. Now, I’m not bashing Big Ben because he’s my boy. We both have worked together on radio and TV and we’re pals. But, COME ON, BEN! Turns out my buddy was, obviously, wrong.
For Cowherd, it’s inconceivable to believe Butler winning the national title would be bad for college basketball. Of course, the Bulldogs came up just short in their quest. But, they proved they belonged with the big boys extending Duke to the final second.
For Cowherd to say Butler winning the national title would be bad for college basketball is similar to saying Texas-Western beating Kentucky for the 1966 national Championship with TW coach Don Haskins starting five African-American players, for the first time in the history of the game, against Adolph Rupp’s Wildcats was bad for the game. Haskins’ starting those five African-American players was exactly what the game needed at that particular time in our history.
Butler’s performance the other night against Duke is exactly what the game needed at this particular time in the sports history. It says those mid-major programs belong with the so-called“Big Six” programs. That alone peaks the interest of the vast majority of American Society who want to see the underdog have his day against the big boy.
Hence the big television numbers, Big Ben!
Congratulations to the Butler Bulldogs for showing the mid-majors belong and playing a terrific game. Much congratulations to Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils for another national title and playing a terrific game. Thanks to both schools for putting on a tremendous show for us to enjoy.