Apparently CJ is MIA cause he ussually does these things but since he's out I decided to do it!
Here is the pregame report from Carmax, The first afternoon game of the year for the Clippers doubles as the first chance to take on an Eastern Conference playoff team from last season.
So far the Clippers (4-2) have fared well in situations that required their attention. They have wins against three of the top four seeds in the West last year and a convincing 13-point victory at the Rose Garden, one of the league's most daunting home-court advantages.
On Sunday they host the new-look Atlanta Hawks (2-2) with Atlanta, opening a four-game West Coast road trip.
Asked if he was worried about his team playing its initial 12:30 p.m. game of the season, Head Coach Vinny Del Negro said, "There are no excuses. You go and play the games and we have to perform well."
The Clippers are one of the highest scoring teams in the league, topping 100 points or more in their first six games to match a franchise record. But for Blake Griffin, the offense starts with the team's defense.
"Really just coming out and playing solid and playing good defense and making sure we're on our rotations," Griffin said. "Our focus needs to be defensively right out of the gate every game and we've done a good job with that [the last two games] and it helps our offense flow."
LAST TIME OUT
Clippers 103, Trail Blazers 90: Their 25-point lead was cut to four early in the fourth quarter, but the visiting Clippers righted the ship behind Jamal Crawford and Chris Paul's 17 combined points in the last 11 minutes. Crawford, a one-time Trail Blazer, finished with a game-high 25 points in his return to the Pacific Northwest and Paul had 21 points, six assists and three steals in a matchup with rookie point guard Damian Lillard. DeAndre Jordan added 21 points and eight rebounds, while Nicolas Batum led the Trail Blazers with 23 points and a season-high tying nine rebounds. The Clippers, playing the second night of a back-to-back, pulled away from Portland in the second quarter, going on a 22-2 run with their vaunted bench doing much of the damage.
"Overall I thought we had a solid bench night, and then Chris [Paul], down the stretch, made some plays when he had to, and Jamal [Crawford] was great," Del Negro said.
Heat 95, Hawks 89: Even without superstar Dwyane Wade (illness), the defending champion Heat found a way to knock off Atlanta at Phillips Arena. Miami went on a 15-2 run in the first quarter punctuated by a Ray Allen 3-pointer. And after the Hawks took a halftime lead, LeBron James and Chris Bosh made plays down the stretch to regain control, including a jumper from James with 14 seconds left to seal it. James had 21 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists and Bosh totaled a game-high 24 points. Point guard Jeff Teague led Atlanta with 20 points and 11 assists.
DeAndre Jordan vs. Al Horford. Jordan's recent dominance in the paint has been well-documented. He's averaging 21 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in the last two games, including making his last five free throws. But Jordan may get his sternest test of the young season on Sunday. Horford , who was an All-Star in 2010-11, missed 55 of 66 games last year with a torn pectoral muscle. He looks to be returning to form, though. He's shooting 58% from the field and averaging 15.8 points and 8.3 rebounds in his team's first four games.
The matchup will force Jordan away from the basket because of the 6-foot-10 Horford's ability to shoot from the perimeter. In the last four seasons, Horford has shot 48% between 16 and 23 feet.
TWO THINGS TO WATCH
Benches. The Hawks and Clippers entered Saturday's games among the top seven in the league in bench scoring. Atlanta, which dealt perennial All-Star Joe Johnson to Brooklyn in the offseason, is mostly a revamped group, led by free-agent acquisition Lou Williams and point guard Devin Harris, who was acquired from Utah in exchange for Marvin Williams. In its first four games, the Hawks bench has not been outscored by an opponent. Del Negro said, "They're very deep."
The Clippers, likewise, have received major contributions from their bench, scoring 41.8 points per game behind Crawford's 21.8 (seventh in the league) in 28.9 minutes. Matt Barnes has also come on in the last two games, connecting on three of his last six from 3-point range and helping ignite L.A.'s fast break.
Three-point shooting. The Hawks have two of the top 10 active 3-point shooters in Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow, but it has not led to a high percentage from distance so far. Atlanta is shooting 33.3% behind the arc, while the Clippers are at 36.3%.
Still, the Clippers have struggled at times defending the perimeter and Del Negro suggested that limiting Korver, Morrow and DeShawn Stevenson will go a long way in winning.
"Korver shoots it quick and well, you've got to find him quick," Del Negro said. "They've got some 3-point shooters with Morrow and Stevenson. We have to just be solid with our game plan, get into the game early, start off the game as early as possible and play the way we've been playing the last couple of games and work through the adjustments."
The teams split last season's series with both winning at home Willie Green played for the Hawks last season, shooting a career-best 44.2% from 3-point range in 53 games Green, Barnes, Korver and Williams played together in Philadelphia in 2005-06 Crawford won the 2009-10 Sixth Man of the Year award with the Hawks Atlanta has forced 18 turnovers per game, tied for second in the league Chris Paul and Jeff Teague both attended Wake Forest University. In three head-to-head meetings Paul has outscored Teague 21.0 to 10.3 and recorded five more assists.
And this here is the practice report from yesterday, After stringing together arguably two of the most productive and active games of his career, Clippers center DeAndre Jordan is feeling more comfortable and confident than ever.
And why not? He topped 20 points in consecutive games for the first time, nabbed his first 20-point, 10-rebound double-double, and made 18 field goals in two straight games for the first time.
"I'm comfortable down there with the basketball," Jordan said after Saturday's practice. "When your teammates trust you to make the right play, your confidence is building as every game goes on. The more and more you touch the ball in the post and get game reps, you just get comfortable and confident and I think that's a big part of the game."
Against the Spurs Wednesday, Jordan had 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks and he followed that up with a 21-point, eight-rebound effort a night later against Portland. In two games, he's 18-for-22 from the field.
"I think he's just being a little bit more patient," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He's getting better post position. It starts with his activity on the defensive end, running the court, getting some easy ones. Obviously, he's very athletic so we can throw the ball up to him a lot, so he's just kind of picking his spots and showing good patience on the offensive end."
Jordan's new-found post-up ability adds another dimension to the Clippers offense. And if it continues, could free up All-Star Blake Griffin for more single coverage opportunities on the opposite block.
"The more pressure we put on [opponents] offensively from different positions on the floor, the tougher it is to load up on one or two particular guys," Griffin said. "[Jordan's] success early has been great. We just want to keep giving it to him and keep giving him that confidence and he's going to be tough to stop."
Much of Jordan's early showing is due to the work he put in during the summer in his hometown of Houston and then later with teammates and coaches at the Clippers' training facility in Playa Vista. According to Del Negro, Jordan and Griffin both have the kind of work ethic that should lead to even more improvement from the young duo.
"The exciting thing is there's a lot of improvement for Blake, a lot of improvement for [Jordan]," Del Negro said. "They're young players and that's the exciting part because they're going to continually work and get better."
LIGHTER SCHEDULE OVER NEXT WEEK
Following their 13-point win in Portland, the Clippers were the only team in the league with six games played. However, their busy first week is slowing down over the next 10 days.
The team was off Friday and practiced Saturday with a 12:30 tipoff schedule for Sunday against Atlanta. From there, they have just two games from Nov. 12-17, both home tilts against Miami and Chicago.
"You're always balancing [the schedule] with making sure you take advantage of healing some guys up and also getting some good work in," Del Negro said. "We have a difficult week even though we have some time. First, with Atlanta tomorrow, they're playing pretty well and they're deep and have a good front line. And then Miami and Chicago. I mean, there are no easy games in this league."
The Clippers learned that lesson the hard way, dropping consecutive home games to the undermanned Warriors and a young Cavaliers team.
"We have a better mindset than we did at the start of the season," said Griffin, who is averaging 15.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists in six games. "I think we came in really didn't do what we needed to do right away against Golden State and the Cavs. I think now we realize we can't take any of these teams for granted. I mean, Atlanta's coming in here and we've had some good wins, so we really need to be on our game early."
GRANT HILL UPDATE
Veteran forward Grant Hill is one of the players Del Negro was referencing when he talked about using the schedule to help guys get healthy.
Due to a bone bruise in his right knee, Hill has not taken part in full-contact activity since the team's third preseason game in Shanghai on October 14. Del Negro said Saturday that Hill had another MRI on the knee the day before, adding that the test revealed "nothing worse."
"He's improving a little bit," Del Negro added. "He's getting to do a few more things from a conditioning standpoint which is good. He's monitored every day and he's feeling better, which he should because he's had some time off."
Feel free to come here and complain, scream, praise our team before/during/after the game! Enjoy!