Here’s a sample of reaction to the Clippers’ fourth-quarter meltdown in Game 6 on Thursday.
Nate Robinson played 33 games with the Denver Nuggets this season/Photo by David Zalubowski, Associated Press
The Clippers were not the only team courting free-agent point guard Nate Robinson. The Cleveland Cavaliers were one of the others, Robinson said.
But Robinson on Saturday signed a 10-day contract with the Clippers and had already joined the team at its practice facility in the morning. He will be reunited with Clippers coach Doc Rivers as well as with fellow Seattle native and Rainer Beach High alum Jamal Crawford.
“I’ve played with Jamal since high school – I was a freshman, he was a senior,” Robinson said. “Played on the Knicks together, so this is going to be our third go-round and pretty cool just to have. You know, ‘Mal’s like my big brother. He’s a real Seattle guy. Our high school team is playing for its fourth state championship in a row tonight, so hopefully they can win it.
“But just beihg here and being under Doc’s system again, it’s definitely going to be comfortable for me. I know all the plays, so it won’t be hard for me to be able to come in and just help the team and run the team how he wants me to do.”
Blake Griffin will likely not return Sunday at Golden State/Photo by Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Although there seemed a possibility Blake Griffin could be back Sunday for the game at Golden State, Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Saturday indicated that is doubtful.
Rivers said before practice that Griffin did not practice Friday and he did not expect him to practice Saturday. Asked if Griffin might return Sunday, Rivers said, “No, I don’t think so.”
Griffin has missed the past 11 games with a staph infection in his right elbow, which was surgically removed Feb. 9. The Clippers (40-22) are 7-4 without Griffin with five of the victories coming against playoff-bound teams.
Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis, right, tries to block a shot by Portland’s Chris Kaman in Wednesday’s game at Staples Center won 98-93 by the Trail Blazers in overtime/Photo courtesy of Jae C. Hong, Associated Press
The Clippers on Wednesday night suffered one of their toughest losses of the season – 98-93 to visiting Portland in overtime. There was that crazy play at the end of regulation that saw DeAndre Jordan rebound a missed Chris Paul shot with 0.7 seconds left and instead of trying to tip it in for the game-winner, Jordan just held the ball over his head because he heard the shot-clock buzzer go off.
It was much more than that. The Clippers held a 10-point lead with 2:53 to play in regulation before falling apart and allowing the Trail Blazers to take them to overtime.
It would have been nice if the Clippers (40-22) had been able to get right back out there and play another game so as to more quickly erase that pain. As it stands, they will not play again until Sunday at Golden State (47-12).
“We didn’t have that luxury this time, so you know, this is one you have to sit with for a while,” coach Doc Rivers said Friday at practice in Playa Vista. “Listen, at the end of the day you lose some tough ones during the year and you win probably a couple of them. … It would have been a really nice win for us, more than losing it, when you factor in you have 40, 45 points out of your offense and yet you could have won that game and you should have won it. But you didn’t, so you shouldn’t have.”
That said, Rivers believes a loss of that magnitude could help his team moving forward.
“If we’re in the Finals, if things work out and we get through this West, I guarantee you that game will have something to do with it in a positive way,” Rivers said.
The Clippers were without Blake Griffin (elbow), Matt Barnes (hamstring) and Jamal Crawford (calf) on Wednesday. They average a combined 48.5 points.
DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Every time you turn around, DeAndre Jordan is having another fine game. The 6-foot-11 post who again was not selected to the Western Conference All-Star team, on Sunday scored only nine points but he pulled down a whopping 26 rebounds, blocked two shots and made two steals in the Clippers’ 96-86 victory over the Chicago Bulls at United Center in Chicago.
Not only that, Jordan played solid defense on Chicago’s Pau Gasol, who was reportedly sick and made just 2 of 13 from the field for four points; he averages 18.4 points. Gasol did have 15 rebounds and four assists, so he apparently wasn’t too sick to rebound and pass well.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers applauded yet another in a long line of games Jordan has dominated with his rebounding and defense. Jordan averaged 17.2 rebounds in the month of February and had five games with at least 20 rebounds with a high of 27 on on Feb. 9 in a win at Dallas.
“Our defense was good all day,” Rivers said. “DJ was great. When you have a big who can guard another big one on one and you don’t have to double team, it takes other things they can do away because there is no double team. DJ was huge on Gasol all day.”
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau gave credit to Jordan, but not without telling everyone how under the weather Gasol was during the game.
“I want to give Pau a lot of credit,” Thibodeau said. “Pau is sick, very sick. He knows we are shorthanded and he got out there and gave us everything he had. DeAndre Jordan has had an unbelievable year and an incredible run, particularly with Blake Griffin being out for them. He is playing at an unbelievable high level. When you look at their team and scoring margin, it tells you how good they are.”
Blake Griffin (elbow) missed his ninth consecutive game, but the Clippers (39-21) have won six of them. Five of them have come against playoff-bound teams.
This game was tied 69-69 after three quarters.
Chicago is now 37-23 and in third place in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Clippers began the day in sixth in the Western Conference, but leapfrogged Dallas into fifth place, a half-game ahead of the now-sixth Mavericks and a game behind fourth-place Portland (39-19).
Chris Paul led the Clippers in scoring with 28 points; he also had 12 assists. Jamal Crawford scored 16 and Spencer Hawes had 14 points and nine rebounds. J.J. Redick had 12 points and eight rebounds.
The Bulls were without point guard Derrick Rose (knee) and power forward Taj Gibson (ankle).
DeAndre Jordan is fouled by the Suns’ Markieff Morris on Saturday night/Staff photo by Hans Gutknecht
Coach Doc Rivers late Saturday night gave DeAndre Jordan the ultimate compliment when he referred to him as the “star of the game.” Jordan had 12 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks in a 120-107 victory over the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. He helped the Clippers hold the Suns to a 38.4 shooting percentage for the game.
“He was everywhere,” Rivers said. “His energy tonight was amazing. He was a one-man wrecking crew. It felt like he had 30 blocked shots. Even the shots that he didn’t block, he changed.”
The Clippers (5-3) host the Chicago Bulls (7-3) on Monday at 7:30 p.m. (on Prime Ticket).
Doc Rivers, left, and owner Steve Ballmer/Staff photo by David Crane
Coach Doc Rivers on Thursday was queried as to whether he might re-think having his team play in Las Vegas again in the preseason on the heels of Blake Griffin being charged with misdemeanor battery on a man at Tao Nightclub inside the Venetian in Las Vegas. The alleged incident took play on Oct. 19, hours after the Clippers played Denver in an exhibition game at Mandalay Bay on Oct. 18.
Rivers politely scoffed.
“There are situations in life, I’m sure you guys have some,” he told reporters ahead of practice in Playa Vista. “We just don’t get to read about them; I wish we could. But, really, things happen. I don’t think anyone – I know on this team – intends for them to happen. But a lot of our guys are young and they learn and you look at it as a positive thing, where we all learn from it as a group. … But, no, I think the game we play there is a very good game for our organization and we have a great relationship with Mandalay Bay, so we’re not going to stop going there.”
Steve Kerr/Photo by Associated Press
One reporter asked Clippers coach Doc Rivers following his team’s 121-104 butt-kicking-loss at the hands of Golden State on Wednesday night in Oakland if first-year Warriors coach Steve Kerr has changed that team. Rivers doled out kudos to Kerr, but to others as well.
“I think that he’s changed them, but I think that after losing last year, they’re coming with anger,” Rivers said, alluding to the hotly contested first-round playoff series between the teams this past season won by the Clippers in seven games. “So you’ve got to give Steve some credit, but I don’t want to take credit away from Mark (Jackson) or anyone else. They came here to kick our butts. (Warriors forward) David Lee looked like he worked out for a month just to get back to this game.”
Until this season, Jackson had coached the Warriors the three previous campaigns.
Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Blake Griffin scored just 14 points and pulled down one lousy rebound Wednesday night in the Clippers’ 121-104 loss at Golden State; the Clippers trailed by as many as 29 points in the third quarter. Doc Rivers addressed reporters after he spent a good half an hour in the locker room.
He was asked what he said to his players, and this was his response.
“I didn’t say much,” Rivers said. “I just let them blow smoke up each others’ asses. That’s all they did, in my opinion. But I let them just talk it out. But listen, I just think if you’re going to talk, you’ve gotta be real. I’m not a big fan of group meetings. Unless they’re real group meetings.”
Perhaps, Rivers is right, based on what Griffin told reporters a few minutes later in the locker room.
“We talked about some things and everybody said positive things,” Griffin said. “We knew Doc was going to be emotional and we were all emotional. We were passionate about what we were saying and some good is going to come from it.”
How mad was the normally good-natured Doc Rivers after his team was spanked 121-104 by the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland?
First, it took him half an hour to emerge from the clubhouse instead of about 10 minutes. Then, as he talked about a game in which his team trailed by as many as 29 points in the third quarter, he seemed to get more and more steamed as he went through the process of pointing out every which way his team was beaten. Then, he got to the absurd notion that his team committed one measly foul in the first half, after which they trailed 65-42.
“I’ve never been in a game where a team scores 65 points and we have one foul,” Rivers said. “That, to the core, bothers me to no end. I mean, I have never seen that before. And I think the foul was late and it was a mistake; it probably wasn’t a foul. So for me, I’m doing something wrong because that’s as soft as you can probably get in a game. One foul at halftime? Are you (expletive) kidding me? I mean, that’s as bad as I’ve seen.”
Rivers rarely curses, so that in itself was an indicator of how upset he was with his players.