Coach Doc Rivers on Friday was talking about the emotional part of his team’s Western Conference first-round playoff series against Golden State, which begins Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Staples Center.
There is no love lost between the teams, and Rivers was discussing how he wants his players to handle it.
“The key is to have emotion, but not get emotional,” Rivers said. “You have to be emotional to do anything worthwhile, to me.”
Rivers doesn’t want his team to change that.
“I think we are a team that plays with emotion and I think we should continue to do that,” he said. “But obviously, for both teams, there’s a line that you don’t want to cross.”
Like just about everyone either playing in this series, coaching it or reporting on it, Clippers guard J.J. Redick is of the same mind – the Clippers must find a way to at least slow down the Golden State Warriors’ incredible shooting duo of guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Curry and Thompson ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the league in made 3-pointers during the regular season with 261 and 223, respectively. And they shoot them at a high percentage – Curry at 42.4 percent, Thompson at 41.7.
“Klay obviously presents a lot of challenges, so does Steph,” Redick said. “We have to be really good individually and with our team defense.”
Game One is Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Staples Center.
Lots has been made about the dislike that exists between the Clippers and their first-round playoff opponent – the Golden State Warriors. Much of it stems from incidents involving Blake Griffin.
On Christmas Day, Griffin was given two technical fouls in a two-point loss at Golden State, his teammates claiming the Warriors were purposely trying to lure Griffin into the technicals. Then, March 13 at Staples Center, Jermaine O’Neal of Golden State and Griffin engaged each other in a verbal altercation during a timeout, and O’Neal – apparently the instigator – was assessed a technical. After the game, O’Neal sought out Griffin and found him outside the Clippers’ locker room. The two got into a heated discussion, by all accounts.
Griffin on Friday at practice was asked if there are any lingering issues with O’Neal.
“I don’t have Jermaine’s number, so I don’t really talk to him,” Griffin said, “so I don’t know if there’s any lingering issues or not.”
O’Neal – typically a backup – is expected to start Saturday when the teams square off at 12:30 p.m. at Staples Center in the series opener. He’s spelling Andrew Bogut, who is out with a fractured rib.
By the way, Griffin was asked about the “hate” that exists between the teams. He said he thought that was too strong a word. He suggested “dislike” is more appropriate.
Forward Matt Barnes – known as somewhat of a bad boy in the NBA – told reporters at practice Friday that he longed for the days when the game was more physical and players could get away with being that way more than they can today..
This was the result of Barnes on Thursday watching ESPN’s “Bad Boys” on 30 for 30, a documentary centering on the rough Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Their reputation for hard-nosed, dirty play earned them that moniker.
Barnes was asked what would happen if he was fouling that way in this day and age.
“If I did some of those fouls they had last night that I saw, I’d probably have to find a new job,” Barnes said. “Take my kids out of private school, cut my wife’s allowance.”
Reporters were laughing out-loud.
As of now the Golden State Warriors are saying that center Andrew Bogut will not play against the Clippers when the first-round Western Conference playoff series opens Saturday afternoon at Staples Center, and because he has a fractured rib he could miss the entire series.
Although Bogut could materialize at some point if for no other reason than he’s apparently tough and this is the postseason, it will be interesting to see if the Clippers can take advantage of his absence for the time being.
“He’s the anchor of their defense,” Clippers forward Matt Barnes said. “Tremendous rebounder, help-side defender, blocks shots, and it’s going to help us. But they have J.O. (back center Jermaine O’Neal) and (forward) Draymond Green – they’ll probably play small – so that poses other problems, too.”
Bogut, who is 7-foot and 245 pounds, leads the Warriors in rebounding with a 10.0 average. He also averages 1.8 blocks and 7.3 points.
The Clippers and Golden State Warriors will square off in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, with the first two games at Staples Center.
The series begins Saturday with a game at 12:30 p.m. Game 2 is set for Monday at 7:30 p.m.
The series then shifts to Oracle Arena in Oakland. Game 3 is April 24 (a week from Thursday) at 7:30 p.m. with game 4 also there a week from Sunday, April 27, at 12:30 p.m.
The rest falls under the “if necessary” category. Game 5 is scheduled for April 29 (time TBD) at Staples Center, No. 6 is May 1 at Golden State (time TBD) with No. 7 – the series finale – on May 3 at Staples Center. Again, time is TBD.
Oklahoma City came from behind to defeat the Detroit Pistons 112-111 at OKC on Wednesday, meaning the Clippers will play Golden State in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs that begin this weekend.
The victory by the Thunder secured them the No. 2 seed. Had they lost to Detroit and the Clippers were to win Wednesday night at Portland, the Clippers would have been No. 2. As it as, they will be the No. 3 seed with Golden State No. 6.
Sixth-man Jamal Crawford has now been back for two games following a five-game stint on the bench because of a nagging left calf injury that had previously seen him miss eight of nine games.
He is struggling with his shot so far, which is understandable. He made 3 of 8 from the field in a victory over Sacramento on Saturday and just 3 of 9 in Tuesday’s victory over Denver; in the latter, some of his shots were real bricks.
Crawford, who is averaging 18.4 points, doesn’t seem concerned. He said his calf is just fine.
“Calf is good, calf is really good,” he said following Tuesday’s game. “Just keep working through it. That’s what some practices look like that you guys don’t see, when the rust is coming off. Sometimes you’ve got to do it in front of 20,000 (fans), but that’s all right. The quicker I get the rust off, the better.”
The technical foul issued Blake Griffin during the second quarter of Tuesday’s victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets has been upheld by Rod Thorn, president of basketball operations for the NBA, according to NBA.com.
It was Griffin’s 16th technical of the season, meaning he must serve a one-game suspension without pay when the team visits Portland in Wednesday’s regular-season finale.
The technical occurred when Griffin was guarding Denver’s Timofey Mozgov. Mozgov was driving to the basket and as he was about to shoot Griffin raked the ball out of his hands, Griffin’s hand scraping the face of Mozgov with the follow-through.
Other than the cash, the suspension is moot because Griffin wasn’t going to play Wednesday anyway. Coach Doc Rivers told reporters in Tuesday’s post-game news conference he had already decided to hold Griffin and J.J. Redick back from the trip.
The Clippers set a franchise record for victories in 2012-13 with 56. They broke that Tuesday with a 117-105 victory over visiting Denver. This weekend this group of Clippers – meaning the core consisting of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan – together will be heading to the playoffs for the third consecutive season, and reserve forward Jared Dudley is jazzed.
“Last year they had a franchise record, and this year getting that, it shows you what this team is capable of now,” said Dudley, in his first season with the team. “Third time around going back to the playoffs, you bring in someone like (coach) Doc (Rivers) where expectations are higher, a lot of free agents coming in, and now it’s time to get started.
“We have one more game left (Wednesday at Portland) and then the showdown starts. I think the city is excited and I think that for this franchise, it shows that we’re taking big leaps.”