Doc Rivers gets big laughs before Game 4 at the expense of Hedo Turkoglu

Hedo Turkoglu

Hedo Turkoglu/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Even though the Clippers were routed 100-73 by the San Antonio Spurs in Game 3 of their Western Conference playoff series on Friday at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said his team was in a good frame of mind Sunday morning ahead of Game 4 there. Rivers certainly was in a good mood.

Check out this response when he was asked how healthy his team is at this point:

“Our guys are pretty good,” Rivers said. “Turk (Hedo Turkoglu) sprained his ankle or something the other day. I didn’t know a guy moving that slow could. I thought that was impossible. Somehow, he did. But he feels good. He said it won’t slow him down at all.”

Reporters in the pregame news conference cracked up big-time.

The Spurs took a 2-1 lead into Game 4.

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Jamal Crawford speaks in philosophical tones about his shooting struggles

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Jamal Crawford had a terrific Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs in their best-of-seven first-round Western Conference playoff series. He scored 17 points on 7 of 10 shooting – 3 of 4 from 3-point range. But he has shot a combined 5 of 24 the past two games – both Clippers losses – 1 of 10 from behind the 3-point line.

Crawford on Saturday was philosophical about his struggles as he spoke to reporters at the team hotel in downtown San Antonio near The Alamo.

“It happens,” Crawford said. “It really does. The shots I got, I hope I get those same shots tomorrow, honestly. They were good shots, they weren’t anything rushed or force, or anything – shots I make 90 percent of the time, in my mind.”

The Clippers and Spurs square off in Game 4 on Sunday at AT&T Center. San Antonio is up 2-1.

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: Kawhi Leonard not ‘one-trick pony kind of guy’

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard/Photo courtesy of San Antonio Spurs, NBA.com

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich wasn’t shocked at what Kawhi Leonard did Friday in the Spurs’ 100-73 Game 3 victory over the Clippers at AT&T Center in San Antonio. Leonard did lead the Spurs in scoring during the regular season with a 16.5 average, so he was already more than just the recently crowned Defensive Player of the Year.

Chip Engelland and Chad Forcier do a great job with him on his development,” Popovich said of two of his assistants. “He (Leonard) comes in early. He stays late. He’s worked on everything since he got here. He wasn’t a 3-point shooter, he was a big guy; he was an inside guy.

“They have really been the masters of teaching him about the perimeter and giving him a lot of great advice and drilling him. He’s turned into a fine offensive player, as well as a defensive player. He’s not a one-trick pony kind of guy. He’s something else.”

Leonard on Friday had 32 points on 13 of 18 shooting and also played tremendously on defense.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 100-73 Game 3 loss to San Antonio Spurs

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

– When Jamal Crawford is in a groove, he can be as deadly from the field as anyone. But after shooting 1 of 11 in this one, he is a combined 5 of 24 over the past two games – 1 of 10 from beyond the arc. This needs to change in a hurry, as in Game 4 Sunday.

– Another shooter, J.J. Redick, is also struggling. He is now shooting 31.2 percent from the field (10 of 32) in the series after going 2 of 7 in this massacre. The Clippers need Redick to be closer to the guy who had the best regular season of his nine-year career.

– To be clear, Crawford and Redick were not the only poor shooters in this loss. Blake Griffin was 6 of 15, Chris Paul 3 of 11. As a team, the Clippers shot 34.1 percent, 26.1 percent from 3-point range. Doc Rivers himself said the loss was more about his team’s “awful” offense than their defense that cost them the game. We should note, however, that the Spurs shot 52.6 percent from the field, so that was in play, too.

– We heard it a lot that the Clippers’ bench can’t stack up with San Antonio’s. Clippers reserves scored 30 points, but much of that was during garbage time. Crawford scored just five points before garbage time. The Spurs, on the other hand, got 15 big points, seven rebounds and four assists from Boris Diaw in 23 terrific minutes; six points from Patty Mills and nine from Marco Belinelli.

Matt Barnes has had a rather lousy series. He’s averaging 5.7 points and shooting 30 percent from the field. But at least in Game 2 – when he shot 1 of 10 – he had 10 rebounds. Barnes had zero rebounds in this game. Guarding Kawhi Leonard – or trying to – is killing the rest of his game.

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Blake Griffin says Friday’s blowout loss ‘cannot dictate’ what happens in Game 4

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers have now lost two games in a row they would rather forget – the 111-107 overtime loss in Game 2 on Wednesday at Staples Center and the 100-73 shellacking they absorbed Friday in Game 3 at AT&T Center in San Antonio.

Blake Griffin said putting Friday’s loss behind them is a must. Game 4 is Sunday.

“You just have to get rid of that memory and forget about it,” said Griffin, who scored a team-high 14 points and shot just 6 of 15 from the field. “Tonight’s game cannot dictate how we play in Game 4. We just have to forget about it and move on.”

The Clippers shot just 29.5 percent through three quarters, 34.1 percent for the game.

 

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Blake Griffin has 10 points in 1st half for Clippers, who trail Spurs 46-38

 

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The Clippers shot just 34.1 percent from the field in the first half, but a jump-shot by Blake Griffin at the halftime buzzer meant the Clippers would trail by only eight points (46-38) at the break in Game 3 at AT&T Center in San Antonio on Friday.

Griffin led the Clippers with 10 points in the half.

Kawhi Leonard led San Antonio with 16 points, but Tim Duncan had just two points.

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Kawhi Leonard scores 10 points in first quarter, Spurs lead Clippers 25-16

J.J. Redick

J.J. Redick/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs scored 10 points in the first quarter and the Spurs led the Clippers 25-16 after one quarter at AT&T Center in San Antonio in Game 3 on Friday night.

J.J. Redick scored seven points for the Clippers.

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Jordan Hamilton still feeling effects of concussion, but he’s getting better

Jordan Hamilton

Jordan Hamilton/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Clippers reserve forward Jordan Hamilton recently sustained a concussion in practice. He’s not yet ready to come back, but he is improving.

“I’m getting better,” he said before Game 3 against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday in San Antonio. “I’ll be out a few more days.”

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Doc Rivers, Chris Paul respond to Magic Johnson’s negative tweet after Game 2

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Magic Johnson sent out two tweets following the Clippers’ heartbreaking 111-107 overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series at Staples Center. One praised the Spurs: “The Spurs showed great mental toughness tonight in the win over the Clippers. That’s why they are the defending NBA champs.”

The other ripped the Clippers:  “The Clippers lack of mental toughness and costly turnovers are the reasons they lost the game tonight.”

The latter had to be in reference to Blake Griffin’s turnover with 11.9 seconds left in regulation and the Clippers ahead by two points. Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Friday responded.

“Well, they won,” Rivers said. “To the victors goes the spoils. I’m never going to argue with Magic Johnson. They won the game. I thought we showed great  mental toughness because we were the team down. I think people forget that. We were down 10 points in the fourth Quarter.

“I mean, we were actually the team that came back. And then we gave it up at the end. But we came back in that game. So I think if anybody showed mental toughness, it was us. And them; they’re going to have it. They, again, are champions. They’re not going anywhere. They’re not going to be shaken.”

Chris Paul looked perplexed when told of Johnson’s negative tweet.

“No, I didn’t know that,” Paul said at the morning shootaround ahead of Game 3 at AT&T Center in San Antonio. “I haven’t been on Twitter. I mean, that’s his opinion. I saw Magic at Sunday brunch last week, you know what I mean? So …”

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