Doc Rivers, left, and owner Steve Ballmer/Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News
Coach Doc Rivers’ team had just won only its second exhibition in seven tries – 108-105 Wednesday night over Phoenix – when he was asked if he believes this year’s version of the Clippers can be great.
“I know we have a chance to be really good,” he said. “We have to commit to that. We play these preseason games in stretches and spurts, but we haven’t sustained an entire game yet. I know that it is in us and I see it. Hopefully, we are ready for Game One.”
The regular season opens Oct. 30 against Oklahoma City at Staples Center.
First, the Clippers (2-5) will play their final exhibition game Friday night against Portland (3-3) at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center (on Prime Ticket).
Chris Douglas-Roberts/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
Everyone on the Clippers seems to like Chris Douglas-Roberts. From his cool hairdo do his short shorts, he’s a favorite on the team.
Coach Doc Rivers likes him, too, especially when he’s playing defense the way he did in crunch-time in Wednesday’s 108-105 victory over the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center.
“I thought CDR’s defense down the stretch was very good,” Rivers said. “That is why I left him in. Gerald Green was toasting us and I thought CDR ran him off of his shot, and that was good.”
Green scored 23 points off the bench for the Suns.
Douglas-Roberts, 27, is also known as “The Dread Pirate.”
Doc Rivers/Photo courtesy of Associated Press
It seemed like the Clippers this past season gained more fans nationally because of the unfortunate Donald Sterling saga. Now, the Clippers are more than likely becoming somewhat popular in Sin City.
First, the Clippers held their five-day training camp there for the first time. Then they took on – and lost to – the Denver Nuggets on Saturday at one of Las Vegas’ most popular hotels – Mandalay Bay.
“It’s good for us,” coach Doc Rivers said. “We build a base here in Vegas. We held camp here, so it kind of ties it together.”
DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
Coach Doc Rivers on Wednesday at practice told reporters that often times as soon as a shot goes up, only post DeAndre Jordan remains in the area for the rebound. Since the Clippers have been outrebounded 148-104 collectively in losses to Golden State, Portland and Utah, rebounding has become a hot topic here in the exhibition season.
Jordan led the league in 2013-14 with a 13.6 rebounding average. He touched on the subject Thursday before practice.
“It’s not like a one-person job, it’s everybody’s,” Jordan said. “It’s all the bigs, it’s the forwards, it’s the guards. Rebounding is a team effort, especially on the defensive end. Offensive rebounds, you can kind of pick and choose when you go. I like to go a lot to the offensive glass, just try to keep it alive; tip-backs and things like that. But defensively, we should definitely be one of the top teams, if not the top defensive rebounding team in this league just with the size and athleticism that we do have.”
The Clippers on Friday will try for their first exhibition victory when they play host to Utan at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center (on Prime Ticket).
Matt Barnes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
Matt Barnes told reporters Wednesday at the team’s training facility in Playa Vista that he believes the Clippers are, perhaps, trying too hard to get off on the right foot after such an emotional 2013-14 campaign. That’s why they are 0-3 in exhibition play ahead of Friday’s game against Utah at Staples Center.
“I think everyone’s pressing a little bit,” Barnes said before practice. “I think on paper we have the team to beat, I personally think, and I think we feel that way. And after everything that happened last year, you know, we want to come out and have it so bad. And I think everyone’s just overthinking the game a little bit. And we’ve been talking to ourselves a little bit about this lately and everything seems to come down to playing basketball.”
His advice to himself and his teammates?
“Relax, relax,” Barnes said. “I mean, I found myself overthinking. I’m talking to Chris (Paul) and J.J. (Redick) and some of these guys, and we’re pressing a little too much. Like I said, we want this so bad and want this to be such a magical season that our foot’s all the way on the gas right now. We have to realize that, like Doc (Rivers) said, ‘You have to appreciate the process, enjoy the process and continue to get better.’ “
DeAndre Jordan had four blocks Monday/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
- After the game, coach Doc Rivers intimated his 0-3 team is not yet in the shape he’d like it to be in. “Conditioning. That’s about it right now,” he said, when asked what he took from the game. “We’re not playing great. We’re having spurts here and there, but it’s still games. I think (exhibition) games help get you ready for the real thing.”
- Perhaps that is why the Clippers are not doing well on defense. They have allowed 112, 119 and 102 points in their three exhibition losses. And they are awful at guarding the 3-point shot. In their past two losses, Portland shot 68 percent from there, Utah shot 46.7 percent.
- The good news is, power forward Blake Griffin tried everything he could to will his team to victory. He scored 31 points to lead all scorers, making 14 of 22 shots with two steals and five rebounds. That was coming off of a poor outing a night earlier in Portland, where Griffin scored just nine points on 4 of 16 shooting.
- After getting just one block on Sunday night in Portland, it was good to see DeAndre Jordan get back on track there with four against Utah; he had three in the exhibition opener Oct. 7 against Golden State.
- The bench made just 6 of 26 shots (23 percent) from the field, and that won’t cut it most nights. Struggling mightily were Reggie Bullock (0-for-4) and rookie C.J. Wilcox (0-for-3). Spencer Hawes was just 2 of 7, Jordan Farmar 2 of 6.
Chris Kaman/Photo courtesy of Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers
Big man Chris Kaman played the first eight years of his career with the Clippers. But he’s moved around the past few years, going from the Clippers to the New Orleans Hornets to the Dallas Mavericks to the Lakers and now to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Kaman, who had a miserable time of it this past season with the Lakers, scored 12 points and pulled down nine rebounds with three assists in Portland’s 119-114 victory over the Clippers on Sunday night in Portland. Kaman played just 20 minutes off the bench, so those numbers were outstanding.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers afterward praised the 7-footer.
“He’s a veteran, he knows how to play,” Rivers said. “When he stays engaged like that, he’s really good. He was great tonight.”
Kaman is still just 32. He made 5 of 8 from the field Sunday, 2 of 2 from the free-throw line. He also had two blocks.
Doc Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer/Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News
Coach Doc Rivers did his best to put a positive spin on Sunday’s 119-114 loss at Portland in exhibition play. He ended up taking a shot at the defenses of both teams.
“Everybody played well,” he said. “The shooting from the 3, I think someone said it was a record if it were a regular-season game. I think combined team 3s would have been an NBA record tonight. The shooting today was phenomenal.
“Now, I would say both coaches probably aren’t happy with their defense. But, offensively, overall I thought we struggled more. I thought we missed a lot of open shots. But that happens.”
The Clippers shot 43.6 percent from the field overall, but a whopping 48.7 (19 of 39) from 3-point range. Portland shot 53.9 percent overall, but an unheard of 68 percent (17 of 25) from beyond the arc. The teams shot a combined 56.2 percent (36 of 64) from 3-point range.
The Clippers (0-2) play tonight (Monday) at 6 at Utah (on Prime Ticket).
Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are now 0-2 in exhibition play after losing 119-114 Sunday at Portland.
Los Angeles’ Jamal Crawford led everyone with 23 points. He made 8 of 13 from the field, 6 of 8 from 3-point range.
The Clippers shot a respectable 43.6 percent as a team, 48.7 percent (19 of 39) from beyond the 3-point line. But Blake Griffin had an off night. He shot just 4 of 16 (25 percent) and scored only nine points in 25 minutes. He also only grabbed two rebounds.
Chris Paul scored 15 points and doled out six assists, but he was just 1 of 6 from 3-point range. Spencer Hawes had a solid game off the bench, scoring 15 points with six rebounds and three assists. J.J. Redick scored 14 points and DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and eight rebounds, but continued to struggle at the free-throw line, where he made just 3 of 9.
Reggie Bullock started at small forward instead of Matt Barnes, who told reporters not long ago he would rather come off the bench. Bullock played 19 minutes and scored six points on 2 of 4 shooting. Barnes was just 1 of 7 from the field and scored just three points in 26 minutes off the bench.
Newly acquired Jordan Farmar had 13 points for the Clippers, on 5 of 10 shooting.
Wesley Matthews led Portand (1-2) with 22 points C.J. McCollum had 19 points and LaMarcus Aldridge 16.
Portland shot 53.9 percent from the field, 68 percent (17 of 25) from beyond the arc. You can bet Clippers coach Doc Rivers isn’t happy about that.
The Trail Blazers out-rebounded the Clippers 49-35.
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer was in the crowd.
The Clippers play Monday night at 6 at Utah (on Prime Ticket).
DeAndre Jordan/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers
Coach Doc Rivers will likely go out of his way again this season to downplay the significance of DeAndre Jordan’s poor free-throw shooting. We can’t blame Rivers for that. If he openly criticizes his big man, that could create an adverse reaction.
Jordan, of course, is a terrific defensive player and can make a big difference in a given game in that regard. But when Jordan is having a very poor night at the free-throw line, it does seem to bother him, and that’s not good.
Interestingly, he shot a career-best 52.5 percent in the 2011-12 season. That followed efforts of 38.5, 37.5 and 45.2 percent in his first three seasons, respectively. Once he made that leap to 52.5, one would have thought he would be on the upswing from there.
Didn’t happen. He shot 38.6 percent in 2012-13 and 42.8 percent this past season. Opposing teams, at times, fouled him on purpose.
Jordan said during the recent media day that free throws were one of the elements of his game he worked on during the off-season. Now, it’s no big deal that he missed both of his free-throw attempts Tuesday in the team’s exhibition defeat to Golden State because they were just that – two measly attempts.
But this is not a situation to downplay. Jordan’s team needs him to improve. Keep in mind that the Clippers now have Spencer Hawes as the backup to Jordan. Hawes, who is 7-foot-1, is a career 70.3 percent free-throw shooter over seven seasons. He shot 78.3 percent in 2013-14. The point being, don’t be surprised if Hawes is in there during crunch-time of games in which Jordan is having a difficult time at the line.
The Clippers’ next exhibition game is Sunday at Portland at 6 p.m. (on Prime Ticket).