Doc Rivers not thinking about Steph Curry missing two weeks, not with Portland still in the mix

Stephen Curry

Steph Curry of Golden State will miss at least two weeks with a sprained right knee/AP photo by David Phillip


The NBA sent out a news release Monday regarding the schedule for the Western Conference semifinals. It says that if the Clippers-Trail Blazers and Golden State-Houston first-round series end in six games or less, the semifinals will start May 1. If either series goes seven games, they will begin May 3.

That means that, either way, Steph Curry of Golden State figures to miss the at least the beginning of the semifinals because he will out at least two weeks with a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his right knee, an injury sustained Sunday in Houston.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was asked Monday night before his team was to take on the Trail Blazers in Game 4 of their series if it is hard not to do the math on that even though his team is currently dealing with Portland.

“No, it’s pretty easy for me not to do the math,” Rivers said. “We have (Portland’s) Damian Lillard and (C.J.) McCollum in front of us right now, so that math is easy for me. It’s a 2-1 series. … I don’t look that far ahead. I think that would be a foolish thing to do.”

The Warriors lead their series with Houston 3-1.

VIDEO: Check out sweet reverse layup by Portland guard Damian Lillard in traffic in Game 3

Portland guard Damian Lillard, the team’s best player, did not play very well in Games 1 and 2 against the Clippers in their first-round playoff series – both Clippers victories at Staples Center. Lillard was really off in Game 2, shooting just 6 of 22 from the field. Lillard was a different player Saturday in Game 3, a 96-88 Portland victory at Moda Center in Portland. Lillard scored a game-high 32 points and shot 10 of 20 – 3 of 8 from 3-point range. The long baskets notwithstanding, this might have been his prettiest piece of work on the night. Check it out:

Five things to take from Clippers’ 96-88 loss to the Trail Blazers

Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul, right, is fouled by Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Saturday, April 23, 2016, in Portland, Ore.

Chris Paul of the Clippers is fouled by Portland’s Damian Lillard during the first half of the Trail Blazers’ 96-88 victory over the Clippers on Saturday in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series at Moda Center in Portland/AP photo by Craig Mitchelldyer


– One of the biggest reasons why the Trail Blazers won was because their outstanding guard tandem of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum played to their capabilities after struggling in losses to the Clippers in Game 1 and Game 2. Lillard scored 32 points on 10 of 20 shooting and went 9-for-9 from the free-throw line. McCollum scored 27 points on 11 of 22 shooting. Each had five rebounds.

– It was more than that. For another thing, the Trail Blazers outrebounded the Clippers 56-44. Leading the way was center Mason Plumlee. He had a whopping 21 rebounds to go along with nine assists and six points. The Clippers got 16 rebounds from their center, DeAndre Jordan. Blake Griffin had only seven.

– The Clippers led 85-81 with 3:52 to play after a 3-point play by sixth-man Jamal Crawford. They scored only three points the rest of the way. During that time, the poor free-throw shooting Jordan went 1 of 6 from the free-throw line, finishing 3 of 10 from there. “Our execution was bad tonight,” coach Doc Rivers said of his team’s play down the stretch.

– This was not a good game for Griffin. The Clippers’ power forward scored 12 points and shot just 5 of 16. At times, his shot was short, hitting the front of the rim. “He just had a tough night,” Rivers said. “Again, you don’t miss three months of basketball and come back and be great.”

– As a team, the Clippers shot 40.9 percent – 16.7 percent (3 of 18) from 3-point range. Rivers gave credit to the Portland defense. “I thought they did a great job,” he said. “I think they were way more physical than us. I thought ball pressure got to us.” Shooting guard J.J. Redick, who is nursing a sore left heel, shot 2 of 10.

BONUS TAKE: The loss notwithstanding, Clippers point guard Chris Paul continued his fine play. He led the Clippers with 26 points on 10 of 21 shooting, doled out nine assists and made three steals.

LASTLY: The Clippers lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is Monday night, back at Moda Center in Portland.

Jamal Crawford praises Damian Lillard after Blazers beat Clippers

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard/Photo courtesy of Portland Trail Blazers


After rather poor showings in Games 1 and 2 against the Clippers, Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum really came through for the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday in their 96-88 Game 3 victory over the Clippers.

Lillard scored 32 points on 10 of 20 shooting, McCollum had 27 points on 11 of 22 from the field. Lillard did have five turnovers. But he got off to a hot start, scoring 12 of his points in the first quarter.

Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford had high praise for Lillard.

“His leadership for them really set the tone, I thought,” Crawford said. “He was taking charges, he was all over the place, flying all over the court. But him being very aggressive early definitely set the tone for them and the rest of the team followed.”

Portland guards lead Trail Blazers to 49-40 halftime lead over Clippers

Chris Paul

Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, who struggled mightily against the Clippers in the first two games of their first-round playoff series, scored a respective 16 and 17 points in the first half Saturday as the Trail Blazers took a lead of 49-40 over the Clippers into halftime in Game 3 at Moda Center in Portland. The Clippers lead the series 2-0.

Lillard shot 5 of 10, McCollum 7 of 12.

Chris Paul led the Clippers with 13 points, Blake Griffin scored eight and DeAndre Jordan had six points and nine rebounds. Sixth-man Jamal Crawford shot 2 of 8 in the half, scoring four points.


Clippers now need to perform same magic on road in Portland

Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum, front, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan defends during the first half in Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Wednesday, April 20, 2016, in Los Angeles.

C.J. McCollum throws up a shot with DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers defending and Chris Paul looking on during Game 2 on Wednesday at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill


The Clippers on Saturday night at 7:30 will take on Portland in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series. The Clippers won Game 1 by 20 points and Game 2 by 21. Both of those games were at Staples Center. Now the Clippers must see if they can perform that same magic on the road at Moda Center in Portland.

The Trail Blazers went 28-13 at home during the regular season.

“It’s been a collective team effort,” Clippers point guard Chris Paul said at the morning shootaround. “I know those guys are going to be a lot more comfortable here at home. And we’ve just gotta continue trying to make it tough for them.”

The Clippers have been especially tough on Portland’s guard duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, who have shot a combined 22 of 67 (32.8 percent).

The Clippers went 24-17 on the road this season.