Doc Rivers looking for the bright side of this long trip to China

Doc Rivers/Photo courtesy of Associated Press


Doc Rivers really wasn’t looking forward to going to China this week for games Saturday and next Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets. He could hardly be blamed, as the eight-day trip – the Clippers left Wednesday morning – will be draining and will cut into practice time less than three weeks before the season-opener Oct. 28 at Sacramento.

It was therefore no surprise to hear Rivers respond the way he did when asked what he was most looking forward to on the trip.

“Looking forward to?” he said, repeating the question. “The flight? Coming back? I don’t know. I mean, we’re going to find something.”

The flight is roughly 15 hours each way. That’s not to mention there will be a couple of more hours in the air when the Clippers travel from Shenzhen to Shanghai, where the two games will be played.

Since this is a trip mandated by the NBA, there will be a full itinerary – especially on days when the team doesn’t play.

“There is something every night,” Rivers said. “I don’t know if I like that or not, but there is something. One of those things will be good for the team. I don’t know which one, but there will be.”

Chris Paul, Doc Rivers look forward to the ‘amazing’ fans in China

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Chris Paul is a veteran of visiting, and playing ball, in China. He helped Team USA win the gold medal there in the 2008 Beijing Games. Paul and coach Doc Rivers, who also has been to China, this week talked about how terrific the fans are there when it comes to basketball.

“The fans in China are amazing,” said Paul, whose Clippers are there now and will play the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday in Shenzhen and Wednesday in Shanghai. “The amount of support that they show us year in and year out, it’s always a good time to go over there.”

Rivers echoed that sentiment.

“Yeah, I’ve been over there,” he said. “The fan reaction will be amazing. Yao Ming will be walking around with us a couple of nights. So that’ll be huge – literally. They’re great fans and that’s the one good thing, the arenas are so loud, so that’ll be a lot of fun.”

REPORT: Matt Barnes explains his side of beef with Derek Fisher

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes/Photo courtesy of Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers


Former Clippers forward Matt Barnes on Thursday explained his side of his physical altercation with former Lakers teammate and current Knicks coach Derek Fisher on Saturday night to reporter Ramona Shelburne.

According to Barnes, he did not go to the home of his ex-wife Gloria Govan to beat up on Fisher. Rather, he went to check on his twin 6-year-old sons after one of them – Carter – texted his father. That led to a Face-Time, where Barnes could tell his son was upset that Fisher was there.

Barnes, now with the Memphis Grizzlies, would not talk about the physical nature of his beef with Fisher. But he told Shelburne he wanted to make it clear that he did not drive 95 miles from Grizzlies camp in Santa Barbara to confront Fisher. He was at home in Marina Del Rey, about 15 minutes from his ex-wife’s home, when he got the text from Carter.

“I can’t believe people think I was some maniac driving 95 miles and listening to Tupac to go beat somebody up,” Barnes said in the story. “No. I live 15 minutes away, and I was going over to check on my kids because they seemed uncomfortable. That was my main reason for going over there.”


Doc Rivers recalls when he took his Celtics to Rome for training camp

Doc Rivers/Photo by Associated Press


The Clippers left Wednesday morning for China, where they will play the Charlotte Hornets in exhibition games Oct. 10 and Oct. 14. Coach Doc Rivers this week recalled when he took his Boston Celtics to Rome for training camp for the 2007-08 season, which ended with the Celtics winning the NBA title.

“There were so many things in Rome, that we had great practices,” Rivers said. “But going to the Vatican, going to the Coliseum, I mean, it was like warrior stuff. It was like, you couldn’t have scripted a more perfect place for a team that had championship aspirations to go to.”

Doc Rivers: Chris Paul’s goal should not be to play all 82 games

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Chris Paul this past season played all 82 regular-season games for the first time in his 10-year career. It’s a cool achievement, particularly for a point guard.

Coach Doc Rivers played the position for his entire 13-year career. It’s taxing, he said.

“You gotta come back to get the ball, you gotta push the ball up the floor, you gotta start the offense, you gotta make sure everybody’s in the right place and then when the other guy has the ball, you’re up full court  because he has the ball,” Rivers said. “So the point guard spot is no joke. It’s a hard position for everyone.”

Rivers was asked this week if Paul’s goal this season should again be to play every game in the regular season?

“That should not be a goal of his,” Rivers said. “His goal should be to play … how many games in the playoffs to win it? If it’s 16 wins, I’m all for that.”

Paul, 30, conceded his position is hard.

“Oh, no question, definitely tough,” he said. “After the regular season, I told a big thanks to our training staff and all the people who helped through that.”

Paul didn’t bat an eye when asked if he has a similar goal for this season.

“We’re going to see how it goes,” he said. “If I’m healthy enough, Doc knows I want to play every night.”

Paul, entering his fifth season with the Clippers, played 80 games in 2007-08 and 2010-11.

Interestingly, Rivers played all 82 games just once in his career as well – in 1986-87 with Atlanta; he played 81 his rookie season in ’83-’84.

Lance Stephenson, second unit will need to show some patience


Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers’ bench did not have a good time of it in Sunday’s 93-73 loss to Toronto in Canada. It shot a combined 10 of 35, with Josh Smith shooting 2 of 8 and Lance Stephenson 0 of 4.

Stephenson is now a combined 2 of 14 in two exhibition games, Smith is 7 of 21. Coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday after practice that Stephenson just has to be patient, that the second unit as a whole is going too fast and its spacing is not there, so the players are – as Rivers said – “running into each other half the time.”

“I thought him (Stephenson) and Austin (Rivers) and even Pablo (Prigioni) last game a little bit, I thought everyone was pressing a little bit,” Doc Rivers said. “Today we put in some stuff that they can play a little bit better as a group. We really hadn’t put in anything but our early offense .”