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Clippers roll past Pelicans with help from Jordan

first_img“We were a little sluggish tonight,” Paul said. “You would have expected that in the Spurs game (Monday night) but it caught up with us tonight. You’ve got to push through. “DJ kept telling us, ‘Come on, Come on.’ And we fed off it. I love what DJ’s doing. He’s the cornerstone of our defense, he rolls, he gets everybody open on the offensive end. I tell you, we should be seeing him in New Orleans come February if he keeps playing like that.”That would be for an All-Star appearance for the 6-foot-11 center who was challenged to become a contender for Defensive Player of the Year by Coach Doc Rivers before the season started.“Doc gave me a challenge early on in the summer, it’s something I’ve embraced and it’s fun to take on that challenge that he gave me,” Jordan said. “Our assistant coaches are great teachers and I’m learning every day and every game and I’m trying to improve.“I’m just playing the role he wants me to play. I’m trying to be the best defender I can be for our team. If that happens then it happens but I’m taking on the challenge. It’s definitely a goal of mine (the top defensive player). I don’t want to win it just one time, I want to win it multiple times and it’s a process, and I’m taking my steps to become a better defensive player.” Chris Paul sat down, took a glance at the stat sheet and shook his head.The line that followed DeAndre Jordan’s name held his gaze.“Outstanding,” Paul said. “He was no question the MVP of this game tonight. We don’t win this game without his energy.”Jordan had 14 points, 20 rebounds, five blocked shots, played 43 minutes and made all six of his shots as the Clippers negotiated their way through a flat game to score a 108-95 victory over New Orleans on Wednesday at Staples Center. Blake Griffin had 21 points and 10 rebounds and the Clippers (18-9) didn’t trail after the middle of the first quarter as they won for the 10th time in 12 home games and stretched their modest winning streak to three.It wasn’t as easy as it might have seemed.“I was telling somebody in the locker room I was tired like two minutes into the game,” Griffin said. “I don’t know why, I guess it’s kind of that lag. But it was a good win for us and I was proud of the way we gutted it out.”They picked up defensively where they left off against the Spurs, limiting the Pelicans (11-13) to 39.8-percent shooting from the floor. The Clippers led by as many as 19 points.“We’ve leaned on our defense at times when we needed it and we’ve allowed our defense to get us into our offense and get our offense going,” Griffin said. “There was a stretch tonight where it seemed like we kind of missed a lot of shots in a row, but we stayed in the game and maintained our lead because of our defense.”Jared Dudley had 20 points, Jamal Crawford added 17 and the Clippers got a combined 24 from Darren Collison and Wille Green off the bench. All of that meant a relatively quiet night from Chris Paul, who had 12 points and 11 assists. The Clippers never let the Pelicans to creep back into the game after they took over.“We played pretty flat and maybe this was the day that the (seven-game) trip caught up with us,” Rivers said. “I thought DJ just single-handedly kept us in with his defense and his rebounding and everything else.“I think he understands his role to the point where he accepts it and loves it. He’s become a star in his role and we need him to be a shot blocker, rebounder and a defender. What he’s shown is he’s still going to score by doing all that stuff and he got 14 points because of it.Rivers had the rare opportunity to coach against his son, Austin, for the second time in their NBA careers.“I actually didn’t like it,” Doc Rivers said. “Going against your own son, it’s no fun for you. When he has the ball, as a parent you’re like ‘Don’t get hurt, don’t make a mistake, but turn the ball over.’ It’s tough. I don’t know what parent is going to cheer against his own kid.”The Pelicans also pulled a bit of a surprise by activating Anthony Davis before the game. The star forward was expected to be out for a couple more weeks with a broken hand, but the club activated him just before tipoff.In addition, guard Tyreke Evans also played. Evans was listed as day-to-day with a left ankle sprain. Neither started, but Davis had 24 points and 12 rebounds. He had missed seven games.Ryan Anderson had 17 points and Jrue Holiday added 13 points for New Orleans.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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Brandon Ingram eyes return to the court on Wednesday

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersOfficially, Ingram has a bruised right quad, and tendinitis in his left quad.“It’s different,” Ingram said. “I don’t know what it means to sit down. I don’t know what it means to sit out. I just try to listen to my body. I try to listen to my trainers and see what they have for me and just go through it.”In 30 games this season, Ingram has averaged 16 points on 44.7 percent shooting. He is also averaging 5.5 points, 3.3 assists and nearly one steal per game – all up from his rookie season.Ingram is listed as questionable to play against Memphis, but all signs are pointing to him making a return against the Grizzlies.“He looked really good,” Coach Luke Walton said after Tuesday’s practice. “I almost ‘silly-fined’ him for looking so good today (and) for not playing last night.” KUZMANIA – Walton had to laugh when he heard that Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma was one of only five rookies to score over 30 points on Christmas since 1976.“I saw it is one of those weird stats,” Walton said. “I love the random day stats. There are four games on the day of Christmas and it is normally the most elite teams in the league. And normally the most elite teams don’t play rookies huge minutes.”Kuzma meanwhile, scored his 31 points in 41 minutes against the Wolves and is averaging 39.8 minutes over his last five games.Only LeBron James in 2003 (34 points), Bill Cartwright in 1979 (33) and Patrick Ewing in (32) scored more as rookies on Christmas.“I am not trying to take away from what Kuz did. I thought Kuz was very good last night and very good all season for us.”Kuzma has not, however, hooked his coach up with one of the 1,000 “Kuzmania” shirts he sold through his personal website. Even Lonzo Ball had one in his locker prior to Monday’s loss.“I don’t know if my players don’t like me,” Walton joked, “but they all have their own companies and I don’t have … they don’t give me any of it. I was hoping for some gift bags from the players for Christmas, but I didn’t get any.”That means no Kuzmania, no Big Baller Brand.“Still waiting,” Walton said.MINUTIAE – Kuzma isn’t the only rookie playing major minutes for the Lakers. Lonzo Ball, before spraining his shoulder over the weekend, was averaging 33.9 minutes per game. That’s second among all rookies, trailing only Ben Simmons of Philadelphia, who averages 36.3 minutes a night.Neither of the Lakers rookie stars has balked at the minutes.“It is really impressive,” Walton said. “It really is. They’ve played more minutes than I thought I wanted to play them going into the season, but they’ve done a really nice job of not showing fatigue yet.”The coach said he may need to start tempering their time on the floor, however. The Lakers don’t have multiple days between games until January 24-25.“Obviously the dog days are coming,” Walton said. “This next stretch is tough for everybody in the NBA. As of right now they’re both really good with it.” EL SEGUNDO – If Brandon Ingram gets the final say, he will be back on the court Wednesday when the Lakers host the Memphis Grizzlies.“I can’t sit anymore,” Ingram said.The second-year forward has missed the last two games, losses to Portland and Minnesota, due to injuries to both quadriceps – one suffered on Dec. 22 at Golden State, another two nights earlier in Houston. After going through Tuesday’s practice, Ingram said that he would play in the Lakers’ next game barring a setback.The life of an injured ballplayer is new for Ingram, who has rarely been injured in his young career. He appeared in 79 games as a rookie, missing three with knee tendinitis. In Summer League, he appeared in just one game before being shut down by a right leg cramp as a precaution.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more