Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford played the last four games of the regular season after missing the 17 previous games with a calf injury. Crawford has struggled since his return, making just 10 of 36 from the field, which equates to 27.8 percent. He’s made just 4 of 19 from 3-point range for 21.1 percent.
Prior to Game 1 of the team’s Western Conference first-round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night at Staples Center, coach Doc Rivers was asked what his level of concern is in this regard.
“Zero,” Rivers said. “Jamal will be fine. it just takes time. He’ll be good.”
Keep in mind that Crawford averages 15.8 points on the team, so he’s an integral part of the offense.
Chris Paul talks with coach Doc Rivers during a recent game at Staples Center/Photo by John McCoy, Los Angeles Daily News
Throughout this season there have been plenty of times when fans at Staples Center have cheered heartily for the opponents of the Clippers. Blake Griffin recently expressed his disappointment in that regard.
At the Sunday morning shootaround, Chris Paul was asked if he had a message for fans who will be attending Sunday night’s Game 1 of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs between the Clippers and visiting San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center.
“Let’s go,” Paul said. “I mean, it’s the playoffs, it’s what we’ve been waiting for, where we wanted to get to. So I think we’ve gotta do our part and give them something to cheer about.”
If you haven’t seen them, here are NBA Columnist Mark Heisler‘s Top 9 story lines for this year’s NBA Playoffs. Also, we’ve compiled a few links from Clippers camp from the last few days. It’s good reading material.
Be sure check back later today to join us for our chat and live blog.
Here’s a few links about today’s game while we wait for tip-off.
Let us know in the comments section who will win the series, and in how many games.
Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Chris Paul’s first season with the Clippers was 2011-12. Paul helped the Clippers to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs, where they were swept by in four games by the San Antonio Spurs.
The Clippers will play the Spurs in the first round beginning Sunday night at 7:30 at Staples Center. Paul was queried at practice this week as to whether his team is more prepared for this go-round with San Antonio. Paul answered sharply.
“If we’re not better prepared now than we were three years ago,” Paul said, “then we probably shouldn’t even play.”
The team in ’11-’12 had Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin but not Matt Barnes, J.J. Redick or Jamal Crawford.
Gregg Popovich/Photo by Associated Press
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has led the Spurs to five NBA titles since 1999. He commands huge respect around the league. Clippers power forward Blake Griffin on Saturday at practice gave his quick version of why Popovich’s teams are so hard to beat.
“Pop is such a great coach,” Griffin said. “You never know what kind of crazy thing he’s going to come out with. His game plan might change game to game and they do such a good job of executing . You just really have to be able to adjust on the fly and be the kind of team that doesn’t get down when things are going against you a little bit. You’ve gotta stay the course.”
The Clippers and Spurs on Sunday night at 7:30 at Staples Center square off in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.
Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
The Clippers have now made the playoffs in four of the five seasons Blake Griffin has been with the team – they missed in his rookie campaign. He was asked before practice Saturday at the team’s facility in Playa Vista to talk about the psychological differences heading into this post-season against the previous three seasons.
“A little bit more relaxing,” Griffin said. “My first couple of years, I was truly anxious about it. I think last year, with how much everybody tried to hype everything up, it felt a little different. I think this year we’re just excited, we’re locked in and we’re pretty focused.”
The Clippers will take on the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs with Game 1 Sunday night at 7:30 at Staples Center.
Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
When you are the defending NBA champions, the world of respect is at your feet. It therefore wasn’t surprising to hear what Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford said when asked what it would mean for his team to defeat the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
“Our confidence is already high, but I could see it being at an all-time high,” Crawford said.
Game 1 is Sunday night at 7:30 at Staples Center.
J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Starting shooting guard J.J. Redick is in his ninth NBA season. It’s also his best. He’s averaging 16.4 points while shooting 47.7 percent from the field – 43.7 from 3-point range. All of those numbers are career-highs.
Although Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan are known as the big three, Redick could be that wild-card factor that makes a difference in a given game.
“Anybody who can make shots makes a difference,” Rivers said. “And anybody who can move and not use clock – meaning ball clock, where we count as time of possession with ball in your hands – is huge. And so a J.J. Redick – as Danny Green is for them – both of them score probably with having the ball the least amount.
“When they have the ball, they’re ready to shoot it, or they’re passing it back. When you have guys like that, and they’re making shots, it’s huge.”
Green, the Spurs’ starting shooting guard, is averaging 11.7 points while shooting 43.6 percent, 41.8 from beyond the arc.”
Doc Rivers/Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press
Doc Rivers on Thursday was named Coach of the Month for the Western Conference by the NBA. The Clippers went 7-0 during the month of April.
Rivers was kind of funny when asked about the award Thursday at practice as his team prepares for its first-round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs. Game 1 is Sunday at Staples Center.
“I didn’t even know they had a ‘Coach of the Month’ for the last month; it’s almost silly,” he said, alluding to the idea that it was only half a month because the regular season ended Wednesday in the NBA. “I was shocked, number one. Number two, I think usually they give you this plaque and I think Brad and I are going to saw it in half because that’s the way it should look.
“But it’s always nice when you win anything and I’m sure Brad feels the same way.”
Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month. He led the Celtics to a 7-1 record in April.