Ball movement. It’s what propels the Los Angeles Clippers. With it, they are very good. Without it, they’re not.It starts with defense, and goes from there.It’s such a big deal, there are even conversations about it during a game. Like Monday, when the Clippers were destroying the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-101 at Staples Center.“J.J. Redick and I were talking about it right down to the fourth quarter; our defense is starting to sort of find itself,” said point guard Chris Paul, who along with Redick and the other starters was on the bench during that fourth quarter because the lead was as high as 37 points. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “The last three or four games on the road trip, we really started to build our trust and that’s when we are at our best, when we start to get out on transition and moving the ball,” Paul said.That was not happening when the team was struggling at 5-4. It went 6-1 on a road trip that concluded Saturday in Utah.“Early in the season, the ball was sticking,” said Paul, whose team Wednesday plays host to Orlando at 7:30 p.m. (Prime Ticket/KFWB 980-AM). “Blake (Griffin) and I were talking about it toward the end of the game and we’re just moving the ball and making the right plays right now.”According to coach Doc Rivers, ball movement makes things easier on shooting guard Redick, who Monday scored 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting, 4 of 5 from 3-point range.Redick can often be seen running around to get open so he can get his shot. “When J.J. is getting shots, it means we are getting good ball movement,” Rivers said. “When he is not getting shots, it means that we are not moving the ball around. Jamal (Crawford) can get his own shot. J.J. is dependent on ball movement.”Rivers not among concernedWhen the Clippers (12-5) lost by 16 points at home to Chicago on Nov. 17, one had to wonder what was going on with the Clippers. Then they got well on the road trip.However, Rivers insisted Monday before tip-off he was not among those worried about the team.“I don’t know,” he said, referring to the 11-day road trip. “I mean, we played well. Yeah, I think we’re definitely better than when we left. But I think you could tell I wasn’t concerned either way. You go through this process. You go through it every year.”Scouting OrlandoThe Orlando Magic entered their game Tuesday at Golden State with a record of 7-12. The Clippers on Nov. 19 defeated Orlando 114-90 on the first game of the recent road trip. In that one, the Clippers’ bench outscored their starters 60-54 with Crawford leading the team off the bench with 22 points.The Magic have some talent, their record notwithstanding. Center Nikola Vucevic and small forward Tobias Harris lead the way. Vucevic, out of USC, was averaging 18.6 points and 11.7 rebounds and Harris was averaging 18.5 points and 8.2 rebounds. Harris scored 25 against the Clippers two weeks ago and Vucevic went for 19 points and 14 rebounds.The Magic were without guard Evan Fournier (bruised heel) in that game, but he should play Wednesday. He’s averaging 15.4 points.Orlando on Sunday had its most impressive victory of the season, 93-90 at Phoenix, which is 10-8. By the waySeveral members of the New England Patriots were in the Clippers’ locker room following Monday night’s victory, as was pop singer Justin Bieber. The Patriots play at San Diego on Sunday night.
September 5, 2014Congratulations to the July 27. 2014 Workshop participants upon their graduation:from left: Thomas Lewis and Taylor Courtland. Taylor continues at Arcosanti as a staff member of the Cafe and Visitors Center.[photo by Melanie Husband]