Clippers week in review; No time to ease up
FEB 02, 2014 4:52p ET
The week ahead
The schedule finally eases up on the Clippers, although only in one respect. The hard grind is behind them, but they still face three tough opponents this week: Denver on the road at altitude on Monday, the defending NBA champion Miami Heat at Staples Center on Wednesday and the Toronto Raptors on Friday, also at home. Miami will provide a measuring stick for the Clippers, who are 1-5 this season against likely title contenders (Miami, Indiana, San Antonio and Oklahoma City). They lost to Miami by five points on the road in early November.
The week behind
The Clippers went 3-1 last week, closing out their annual Grammy trip with a win in Milwaukee and beating Washington and Utah at Staples. But they were crushed badly by the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, going just 1 for 15 from the floor in the third period. The seven-game road trip clearly took its toll, leaving the Clippers worn out and ready to return home.
Record and standings
Little has changed. The Clippers (34-16) are still fourth in the Western Conference and first in the Pacific Division, but now their closest pursuer is the Phoenix Suns, who own a half-game lead over Golden State in the Pacific.
Hedo Turkoglu's play off the bench has drawn raves from coach Doc Rivers, who praised his ball-handling and passing skills. Even more, Turkoglu's experience and versatility have been admired across the board by his new teammates. His line in Saturday night's victory over the Jazz was his best performance since signing last month: 3 of 4 shooting for six points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals in 12 1/2 minutes.
Where has Jared Dudley gone? Once a starter at small forward, Dudley has seen his playing time drop as his shooting has gone awry. Dudley made just 1 of 4 shots against the Jazz, which followed a 2-for-5 night against the Warriors. After averaging almost 30 minutes a game as a starter, he's played fewer than 20 in his past six off the bench. Worse, his accuracy from long distance has spiraled downward: He's 2 of 13 from beyond the three-point arc in his past seven games.
Player to watch
Guard J.J. Redick has endured some tough injuries, and although he's not complaining, they have almost certainly affected his play. After going 1 for 6 Saturday, he said of his health, "It's something random that you can't control like getting your knee banged or getting your knee bruised. It can cause a kinetic chain that runs its course, and all of a sudden you have three or four issues." His health will bear watching.
Stat of the week
In last Wednesday's win over the Wizards, center DeAndre Jordan made 6 of 10 free throws, which isn't bad for a notoriously bad foul shooter. But here's the impressive part: With the game on the line and Washington in a hack-a-DJ mood, Jordan calmly sank four consecutive free throws to maintain the Clippers' lead over the final 2 minutes 21 seconds.
"I'm probably going to ask Doc if I can shoot the techs (technical foul shots) from now on." -- DeAndre Jordan, after sinking four clutch free throws to hold off the Wizards last week