Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts praises wherewithal of Clippers

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Austin Rivers had his left eye nearly shut from an errant elbow from Portland’s Al-Farouq Aminu in Saturday’s Game 6 at Moda Center in Portland. Rivers took 11 stitches/AP photo by Craig Mitchelldyer


Coach Terry Stotts’ Portland Trail Blazers had just eliminated the Clippers with a 106-103 victory in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series Friday at Moda Center. Portland won 4-2.

The first question him came from a reporter who wanted to know what Stotts thought about the Clippers’ heart. After all, not only were the Clippers without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin – their two best players – Austin Rivers took an elbow to his left eye in the first quarter. Rivers took 11 stitches, came back and finished with 21 points, six rebounds and eight assists.

Indeed, Stotts was impressed.

“Well, I’m glad you brought that up,” Stotts said. “I want to congratulate the Clippers and Doc (Rivers). Obviously, the injuries that they had was a setback, but they really competed hard.”

Stotts said he was disappointed that Paul and Griffin didn’t get to finish the series, both of them going down in Game 4.

“Obviously, they had championship aspirations and they weren’t playing at full strength, so I really admire what they were able to do,” he said. “We knew they were going to play hard, we knew they were gong to compete and they did, so I’m thrilled with the win. But my hat’s off to them.”

Doc Rivers, who just finished his third season as head coach of the Clippers, won a title with the Boston Celtics in 2008. But he said he has never felt better about a team than he does this one.

“No, I told them, I’ve been around a long time,” he said. “What I loved about this group is they didn’t care. They never looked for an excuse, they never … you know, guys didn’t play. Blake went out, CP (Paul) went out. I mean, they never doubted it. They believed they could do it.

“Obviously, they didn’t. But, man, that team had more heart than any team I’ve ever seen. It was amazing to coach them.”


Five things to take from Clippers’ 106-103 Game 6 loss at Portland

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Clippers center DeAndre Jordan reacts after the Clippers’ Game 6 loss at Portland, which ended the Clippers’ season/AP photo by Craig Mitchelldyer


Austin Rivers showed about as much heart as a player can show in this loss that eliminated the Clippers from the playoffs, Portland winning the first-round series 4-2. Rivers had his left eye nearly destroyed by an errant elbow from Portland’s Al-Farouq Aminu with 6:46 left in the first quarter. Rivers was a bloody mess. At that point, Rivers had five points. He took 11 stitches, came back at 5:03 of the second quarter and finished with 21 points, six rebounds and eight assists.

– Sixth-man Jamal Crawford scored a game-high 32 points. But he shot just 1 of 9 in the fourth quarter to finish 10 of 25 from the field. Considering he played 38 1/2 minutes, it was still a gutty performance by the 36-year-old Crawford.

– As a team, the Clippers were a tough group. Keep in mind that both Chris Paul and Blake Griffin – their two best players – were not on the floor for the second consecutive game. Paul fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand in Game 4 at Portland and Griffin’s partially torn quad tendon began acting up in the same game.

DeAndre Jordan pulled down 20 rebounds. He is the first player to have at least 15 rebounds in five consecutive playoff games since San Antonio’s Tim Duncan did it in 2008 against the Lakers in the Western Conference finals. Jordan had 18, 16, 15, 17 and 20 rebounds over the last five games of the six-game series.

– What this loss means is that the Clippers will go another season without advancing to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history. That dates back to the 1970-71 season when the team was the Buffalo Braves.

Jamal Crawford’s 22 points have Clippers within two points at halftime of Game 6 in Portland

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Missing Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, the Clippers did very well to trail the Trail Blazers by just 50-48 at halftime of Game 6 of their first-round playoff series on Friday night at Moda Center in Portland.

Not only are the Clippers without their two best players, guard Austin Rivers took a vicious elbow to his left eye from Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu with 6:46 left in the first quarter. Rivers suffered gashes over and below his eye and took stitches in both areas. He returned with 5:03 to play in the second quarter.

Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford led all scorers with 22 first-half points. Jeff Green, who started at one of the forward spots, scored eight.

Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum scored 14 and 11 points, respectively.

Paul is out with a fractured third metacarpal in his right hand. Griffin is out with a partially torn left quad tendon.

The Trail Blazers led the series 3-2.

Austin Rivers cut over and below left eye after taking elbow from Portland’s Al-Farouq Aminu

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


As if things weren’t bad enough for the depleted Clippers, guard Austin Rivers went down in heap with 6:46 left in the first quarter of Game 6 on Friday when he took caught a vicious right elbow to his left eye delivered by Portland forward Al-Farouq Aminu.

Rivers was down for several minutes, bleeding profusely. He eventually got to his feet and was escorted to the locker room.

Rivers was replaced by Pablo Prigioni. Rivers took stitches above and below the eye and was considered probable to return, according to the Clippers.

The Clippers are already missing point guard Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to injury.

Doc Rivers praises Trail Blazers for their play through five games

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Doc Rivers shouts a a referee during in game against Golden State in February at Staples Center/AP file photo by Danny Moloshok


When the Clippers looked good in taking a 2-0 lead over Portland with victories in Games 1 and 2 at Staples Center, the word “sweep” became the first-round series buzz word. Considering the Clippers were 24 games over .500 (53-29) during the regular while Portland was just six (44-38), it was understandable.

When the series shifted to Moda Center in Portland, the Trail Blazers defeated the Clippers in Game 3 with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul still playing, and they were leading the Clippers in Game 4 ahead of Paul’s injury in the third quarter and Griffin’s in the fourth on their way to tying the series 2-2.

Rivers gives the Trail Blazers a tip-of-the-cap for playing better than many might have thought they would.

“I think they have played wonderfully,” said Rivers, whose team lost Game 5 on Wednesday at Staples Center with Paul and Griffin on the shelf to fall behind 3-2. “I think they have played better defense than they did in the regular season, for sure. Offensively, they really haven’t played great, but they haven’t had to. We haven’t played great offense, but a lot of that is because of their defense, so you have to give them credit.”

Portland allowed 104.3 points during the season, 20th in the NBA. Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts intimated it’s been about focus.

“I think everybody’s really locked in,” he said before Game 6 at Moda Center. “We’re more consistent. We haven’t had a lot of areas where for two, three, four minutes we had a lot of letdowns.”

Clippers coach Doc Rivers jokes about Blake Griffin’s PRP injection: ‘We took Advil’

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


While Chris Paul (fractured hand) was on the bench helping Doc Rivers coach the team during its 108-98 Game 5 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday at Staples Center, Blake Griffin (partially torn left quad tendon) was in another part of the arena taking in the game. Griffin was spotted afterward on crutches slowly making his way through the hallway near the Clippers’ locker room.

It turns out Griffin had a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection, a popular procedure often used by NBA players to speed up recovery. The injection is made into the injury.
Rivers, a former player, joked about it post-game.

“Yeah, whatever that stuff is, yeah,” he said. “We took Advil. We didn’t have the stuff they have now.”

Game 6 is Friday night at Moda Center in Portland. The Trail Blazers are up 3-2.