Griffin, coming off back-to-back 30-point games against Indiana and Denver, picked up his third foul with 5:41 left in the half and the Clippers trailing 42-38. Griffin made a critical tip-in of Paul's missed 20-footer with 5 seconds to play. Milwaukee's Khris Middleton missed a desperation 3-pointer as time expired.
Trailing by nine with 5:24 left in the third quarter, the Clippers entered the fourth down 83-82 on 3-pointers by Paul, Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick during a 3:15 span. Redick finished with 23 points.
LOS ANGELES -- The Clippers played the Milwaukee Bucks at Staples Center on Saturday but the game might as well have been played in Wisconsin as far as Doc Rivers was concerned.
When Rivers looked at this odd stretch of the season where the Clippers play four games in five days in four different time zones, he looked at Saturday’s home game sandwiched between the road games as just another road game.
“It’s a road game with familiar faces,” Rivers said. “I know I’ve never experienced anything this wild in my career as a player or coach, four time zones and four games in five days. It’s a doozy. You have to compete. You have to go get them. You have to go win them, not just play them.”
After losing the first game of the road trip, the Clippers were able to win their second “road” game 106-102 when Blake Griffin tipped in a Chris Paul missed jumper with five seconds left to put the game away. The Clippers will now head to San Antonio and Atlanta to finish the road trip and their reward when they return home is the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Night.
Problem of the night: It has become a common trend this season but the Clippers’ glaring hole at small forward is going to prevent them from getting as far as they want to go this season. On Saturday, Matt Barnes had 0 points on 0-for-3 shooting, all from behind the arc, and Hedo Turkoglu and Reggie Bullock weren’t much better off the bench, combining for just two points off the bench.
Surprise of the night: Sure, Rivers called Saturday’s game against the 14-14 Bucks in L.A. a “road game” but the Clippers didn’t have to feed in to that and play like they were in Milwaukee where the Clippers lost to the Bucks 111-106 earlier this season. The Clippers came out totally flat, fell behind by as many as nine points and trailed for much of the game before finally pulling the game out in the end.
Stat of the night: The Clippers allowed the Bucks to shoot 53.1 percent (43 of 81) from the field. If it wasn’t for the Bucks hitting just 8 of 24 from 3-point range and 8 of 15 from the charity stripe, the Clippers would have lost their second straight game.
DENVER -- Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari hit successive 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter and Denver fought back after blowing a 16-point halftime lead to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-106 on Friday night.
Nate Robinson scored 20 points off the bench to lead the Nuggets, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Blake Griffin had his second 30-point performance in a row, finishing with 32 for the Clippers, who have dropped their last three games on the road.
Trailing by 16 points at halftime, the Clippers began the third quarter with a 16-0 run to pull into a 59-all tie on a driving layup by Matt Barnes. Denver missed its first 10 shots of the second half before Gallinari connected on a tiebreaking 3.
Sources told ESPN.com that O'Neal, who opted to spend the start of this season with family and focusing on business interests while deciding whether to come back for what would be his 19th season, is "highly intrigued" by the idea of joining the Mavericks as a free agent in the wake of the Rondo deal.
The deal not only theoretically elevated Dallas' stock as a Western Conference contender but also left it with a need on the front line after the exit of highly regarded reserve center Brandan Wright in the trade to the Celtics.
ESPN.com reported last week that O'Neal -- a six-time All-Star who played two seasons alongside Rondo in Boston -- intends to make a definitive declaration about his playing future early in 2015. But sources said Friday that timetable might be moved up, since O'Neal would naturally need some time to work his way into game shape.
LOS ANGELES – Jamal Crawford has heard his name come up in enough trade rumors over the years that he’s almost numb to it at this point.
It’s not as if the Los Angeles Clippers guard can simply tune it out as other players claim they can. Few players in the league are more active on social media and watch more games on television than Crawford, so when his name ends up in the rumor mill, he knows about it as quickly as anyone else.
A recent report had the Clippers in trade talks with several teams for Crawford on the heels of coach Doc Rivers saying he was interested in signing free-agent shooting guard Ray Allen.
“I’m done worrying,” Crawford said. “I’ve proven myself honestly over the course of time. I think Ray Allen is a welcome addition to any team, honestly. If we can get him and he’s out there, it would be a great addition for us. But me personally, I’m fine. I can play basketball anywhere.”
Rivers said he doesn’t spend much time refuting every false trade rumor or else he’d never get around to actually coaching the team. He has no intention of trading Crawford, but of course that could change before the Feb. 19 trade deadline.
“I honestly don’t read anything,” Rivers said. “The fact that Jamal’s name is being mentioned, this is the first I’ve heard of it, literally right now. I don’t get into it. You guys are going to ask him about every rumor that’s out there. It’s just so much bogus chatter.”
Rivers, however, didn’t mind once again publicly claiming interest in signing Allen, who is still trying to decide if he wants to play a 19th season and has been contacted by numerous teams, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, widely considered the front-runners to sign him if he returns.
“I just think he’s a good player,” Rivers said of Allen. “Why not add a good player to your team? He’s still good. We’ll see. I still have interest in him. He’s a good player. I think. I know he’s great at golf right now. He’s probably a scratch golfer by now; he’s had all this time. I’m assuming he’s still a good player.”
Allen played for Rivers for five seasons when both were with the Boston Celtics, and they won the 2008 NBA championship together. The Clippers have been looking to add a wing player since the offseason and have been unsuccessful. Their best chance to acquire a quality wing before the trade deadline would likely require them to part with Crawford, who won the Sixth Man of the Year Award last season and is averaging 15.8 points off the bench this season. If that were to happen, Allen presumably would be signed to fill Crawford’s role off the bench.
The wing position has been the Clippers' biggest weakness since Rivers came to Los Angeles, and it's far from championship quality this season. During the Clippers' 102-100 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, Matt Barnes had just three points, two rebounds and four assists, while Chris Douglas-Roberts' contribution off the bench in 10 minutes was one foul.
“I’ve been in trade rumors ever since I’ve been here,” Crawford said. “It’s the weirdest thing, but it’s part of the business, honestly. I can play here. I would love to play here, but if not, if something happens, then you move on and do what you got to do … I hear it all. I’m very honest. I’m very transparent. I hear it all, for sure.”
Crawford has two years and $11 million left on his contract, including this season; the 2015-16 season is a team option. He is also eligible for an extension next summer and believes he is deserving of one in Los Angeles or somewhere else, although he would rather stay in L.A.
“I love it here,” Crawford said. “I signed to come here. My family is very comfortable here. It’s weird because most people hear L.A. and they think bright lights, but I’m not here for commercials or going out. I enjoy my teammates, I enjoy the coaching staff, I enjoy the fans and the organization. But I do understand it’s a business; if something were to happen, no hard feelings, you move on.”
The Clippers will likely make a move or two at some point this season, if last season is any indication. Will those moves include Crawford and Allen? Two months before the trade deadline, Rivers doesn’t yet know the answer to that question.
“I think it’s the same every year,” Rivers said. “I just think there’s probably more talk about it every year because there’s more media. I think it’s pretty much the same, and it will be the same amount of trades. Whatever amount the average is, it will average out to that.”
The whiteboard in the corner of the Los Angeles Clippers' locker room, usually dedicated to the standings in seasons past, is currently blank and has been since the start of the season.
But at some point the Clippers' place in the ultra-competitive Western Conference will matter to them, and when it does, games like Wednesday night's 102-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers, will be big. These were the kind of grind-it-out, come-from-behind games the Clippers would drop at the beginning of the season and the kind of games they simply can no longer afford to lose if they hope to finish with a top-four seed and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Star of the night: The Clippers have been pushing for DeAndre Jordan to be voted into this season's All-Star Game alongside Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in a campaign they are calling "Vote DBC" (as in DeAndre, Blake, Chris). While Paul and Griffin are virtual locks to be in the game, Jordan is making his case so far this season. On Wednesday, he had 15 points and 23 rebounds. Jordan already leads the league in rebounds per game (12.6) and is second in field-goal percentage (.734) and blocks (2.46).
Play of the night: Someway, somehow Rodney Stucky missed an east 10-foot jumper over J.J. Redick that would have given the Pacers the lead with 18 seconds left. When he missed the shot, Jordan quickly snagged the rebound and gave it to Redick, who scored the Clippers' final three points of the game from the free-throw line.
Stat of the night: The Clippers are one of the league's best teams free-throw shooting teams, hitting more than 77 percent of their shots this season. But they hit just 28-of-45 attempts (62.2 percent) on Wednesday.
Players of the game: In addition to Jordan, Griffin had 31 points and 16 rebounds and Paul had 20 points, nine assists and five steals.
Chris Paul had 20 points and nine assists, helping the two-time defending Pacific Division champions win for the 11th time in 13 games.
The Pacers, who snapped an eight-game losing streak with their 110-91 rout of the Lakers on Monday night at Indiana, dropped their seventh straight road game. David West and reserve C.J. Miles each had 17 points as seven players scored in double figures.
The Pacers made only three field goals in the final 5:38, and Miles missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the final horn.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Timberwolves, beset with injuries and mired at the foot of the Western Conference with a record of 5-19, are again engaging contending teams in trade discussions for Brewer after making him available in mid-November and then abruptly pulling him off the market.
ESPN.com reported last month that the Wolves were in active trade discussions with multiple contending teams that had interest in Brewer, most notably Cleveland and Houston.
Farmar, who scored a season-high 15 points to go along with five assists in 23 minutes off the bench, thought nights like this would be more commonplace than aberrations when he signed a two-year, $4.2 million contract with the Clippers in the offseason.
"I've been on him and probably riding him harder than anybody right now because I think he has that in him," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after the game. "Forget the offense. I just thought Jordan Farmar got into the ball, picked the ball up full-court and that turned his energy on. That's what I've been on him about. I tell him, 'You're going to play 20 minutes. There's no reason to save it.' I thought he was great. His defense changed the game."
Farmar wouldn't get into what Rivers told him but said, "He was just being tough on me. I just took in stride and tried to respond."
Did Rivers' tough love help Farmar respond with his best game of the season?
"That don't help me," Farmar said, shaking his head. "I'm just being honest, but I'm going to continue to try to play like that."
Farmar's biggest issue with the Clippers is getting inconsistent minutes and opportunities. While Rivers tells Farmar he's going to get 20 minutes per night, Farmar has played 20 or more minutes just three times this season, including Monday's game. On the season, he's averaging 14.7 minutes per game, averaging 4.3 points, 1.8 assists and 1.2 rebounds. Each statistic represents a career low for the 28-year-old point guard.
"When you don't play a lot, yeah," Farmar said when asked about the difficulty in adjusting to playing with the Clippers. "You don't take more than two shots, and if they go in, you had a good night, and if they don't, you struggled. It's tough. There's no substitute for the game. Even if you go in [and practice] and play one-on-one or two-on-two or three-on-three. You just have to stick with it. Things happen. It's a long season.
"Hopefully, nobody gets hurt, but we're part of the NBA and there are a lot of ups and downs throughout the season. You just have to stay ready and mentally tough and continue to work."
While Darren Collison was able to play with Chris Paul last season and was used a defensive weapon, that's simply not an option with Farmar, who isn't on Collison's level as a defender. Paul and Collison averaged 11.6 minutes together on the court last season, but Paul and Farmar are averaging just 2.4 minutes together. And while Collison was able to be a true point guard last season for the second unit, Jamal Crawford is often the one bringing up the ball for the second unit.
"I just need to find a way to get more comfortable and get them more comfortable with me and build as we go," Farmar said. "It's a long season and I've been trying to fit in, and sometimes you just got to make a statement and that's all I was trying to do, just really be aggressive."