Doc Rivers applauds another fine game by DeAndre Jordan in win over Bulls

DeAndre Jordan

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

 

Every time you turn around, DeAndre Jordan is having another fine game. The 6-foot-11 post who again was not selected to the Western Conference All-Star team, on Sunday scored only nine points but he pulled down a whopping 26 rebounds, blocked two shots and made two steals in the Clippers’ 96-86 victory over the Chicago Bulls at United Center in Chicago.

Not only that, Jordan played solid defense on Chicago’s Pau Gasol, who was reportedly sick and made just 2 of 13 from the field for four points; he averages 18.4 points. Gasol did have 15 rebounds and four assists, so he apparently wasn’t too sick to rebound and pass well.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers applauded yet another in a long line of games Jordan has dominated with his rebounding and defense. Jordan averaged 17.2 rebounds in the month of February and had five games with at least 20 rebounds with a high of 27 on on Feb. 9 in a win at Dallas.

“Our defense was good all day,” Rivers said. “DJ was great.  When you have a big who can guard another big one on one and you don’t have to double team, it takes other things they can do away because there is no double team.  DJ was huge on Gasol all day.”

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau gave credit to Jordan, but not without telling everyone how under the weather Gasol was during the game.

“I want to give Pau a lot of credit,” Thibodeau said. “Pau is sick, very sick. He knows we are shorthanded and he got out there and gave us everything he had. DeAndre Jordan has had an unbelievable year and an incredible run, particularly with Blake Griffin being out for them. He is playing at an unbelievable high level. When you look at their team and scoring margin, it tells you how good they are.”

Blake Griffin (elbow) missed his ninth consecutive game, but the Clippers (39-21) have won six of them. Five of them have come against playoff-bound teams.

This game was tied 69-69 after three quarters.

Chicago is now 37-23 and in third place in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Clippers began the day in sixth in the Western Conference, but leapfrogged Dallas into fifth place, a half-game ahead of the now-sixth Mavericks and a game behind fourth-place Portland (39-19).

Chris Paul led the Clippers in scoring with 28 points; he also had 12 assists. Jamal Crawford scored 16 and Spencer Hawes had 14 points and nine rebounds. J.J. Redick had 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Bulls were without point guard Derrick Rose (knee) and power forward Taj Gibson (ankle).

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Doc Rivers saddened by death of former Knicks teammate Anthony Mason

Obit Mason Basketball

Anthony Mason throws down a dunk during the 1994 NBA Finals for the New York Knicks/Photo by Associated Press

 

Anthony Mason, a power forward who toiled for 13 seasons in the NBA, died Saturday from a heart ailment. He was just 48.

Mason played five seasons with the New York Knicks. Clippers coach Doc Rivers was Mason’s teammate for two-plus of those seasons.

“The passing of Anthony Mason is so sad,” Rivers said in a statement. “He was a true warrior and a great teammate. He embodied what it meant to be a Knick. I loved him and my prayers go out to his family.”

 

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Doc Rivers credits second unit for turning around game against Kings

Chris Paul drives toward the basket during the Clippers’ 126-99 victory over Sacramento on Saturday at Staples Center/Photo by  Chris Carlson, Associated Press

 

Not only did Austin Rivers have his best game as a pro Saturday when he scored 28 points in the Clippers’ 126-99 victory over the Sacramento Kings, the second unit is the one that changed the complexion of the game after the starters played a big hand in the team falling behind 29-19 in the first quarter to the Kings.

Then a 16-0 run gave the Clippers a 35-29 lead and they never looked back. Of those 16 points, 13 were scored by reserves – seven by Rivers.

“In the first quarter we did not play very well,” coach Doc Rivers said. “We did not move the ball very well and they were scoring on us. Fortunately, the second unit came in and changed the game for us. Once that happened, the starters came back and finished what the second unit did.”

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Reports: Kendrick Perkins likely to sign with Cavaliers, not the Clippers

Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins/Photo courtesy of Utah Jazz, NBA.com

 

Both YahooSports and ESPN.com are reporting that center Kendrick Perkins is likely to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers once the buyout of his contract with the Utah Jazz is complete. Both publications cited “sources.”

Rumor had it that the Clippers were interested in signing Perkins, who this week was traded from Oklahoma City to Utah. Perkins also previously played for Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who is also the Clippers’ president of basketball operations, when Rivers coached at Boston.

The story on YahooSports said that Perkins was going to speak with Rivers one last time Saturday (today) to give Rivers an opportunity to sway him toward the Clippers.

 

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Doc Rivers just wants to take one game at a time while Blake Griffin is on mend

Doc Rivers/Photo by Associated Press

 

The Clippers (35-19) have 28 games remaining in the regular season beginning Thursday night when they play host to the San Antonio Spurs (34-19) in the first game for both teams following the All-Star break.

Blake Griffin, who has missed the past three games because of a staph infection in his right elbow – he had surgery to remove it Feb. 9 – figures to miss at least eight  of those remaining games, so coach Doc Rivers on Wednesday was queried as to what he is hopeful of accomplishing while Griffin is on the mend.

“Right now, Blake’s out,” Rivers said, “so right now we want to see individual games and try to squeeze out as many wins as we can. That’s the mode we have to be in right now. When Blake comes back, then we can start rebuilding and getting ready for the next step. But right now, we’re just trying to go game-to-game and focus that way.”

The Clippers are sixth in the Western Conference standings, a half-game behind fifth-place Dallas (36-19) and a half-game ahead of seventh-place San Antonio.

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Doc Rivers calls yet another DeAndre Jordan All-Star snub ‘a travesty’

DeAndre Jordan

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

 

When Anthony Davis (shoulder sprain) of New Orleans on Wednesday pulled out of the Feb. 15 All-Star game in New York City, chances looked good that NBA commissioner Adam Silver would select DeAndre Jordan to replace him. Instead, Silver picked Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki.

Jordan on Wednesday had his third 20-20 game in nine days, coming away with 24 points and 20 rebounds in a 110-95 victory over the Houston Rockets. It was his sixth game of the season with at least 20 rebounds. Rivers was not one bit happy with Silver’s decision. But he didn’t blame Nowitzki.
“Well, I don’t look at it as Dirk being selected over him, I just think D.J. should be on the All-Star team,” said Rivers, whose 35-19 team takes a two-game winning streak into the All-Star break. “I think it’s a travesty, I really do.
“Dirk deserves to be on the All-Star team every year, as far as I’m concerned. So you can never have anything against him. He’s been a great player throughout his career. I just think a guy that’s getting 27 and 22 and 20s and 20s and is not on the team …”
Jordan had 27 points and 22 rebounds in Monday’s win at Dallas. Rivers paused for a moment, and continued.
“What I keep saying about D.J. that I don’t like is, you play both sides of the floor and just the one side of the floor keeps getting all the credit, and not the other side of the floor,” Rivers said. “And the other side is more important. There has never been a team that won a championship without being a decent defensive team or a great defensive team.
“Yet that side keeps getting forgotten about in the All-Star game. I think every year they should put the best defender on. They put the best offensive player on, every year. They should think about putting the best defensive player on every year on both sides – East and the West. Then that would be solved.”

Jordan was just 12th in fan voting for frontcourt players and was not picked as a reserve by Western Conference coaches. Nowitzki was ninth in fan voting.

Jordan, in his seventh season, has never made an All-Star team. But he suggested he’s not going to lose any sleep over this latest snub.

“No,” he said, when asked if he was frustrated. “Next year I just have to average 20 points a game. I’m happy for Dirk. At this point, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve moved on. It’s cool.”

Jordan is averaging a league-high 13.8 rebounds and 2.35 blocks, second to Davis’ 2.74. But Jordan averages just 10.7 points and is a terrible free-throw shooter (41.4 percent). Nowitzki averages 18.3 points and 6.0 rebounds.

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Doc Rivers: Dean Smith was much more than a good basketball coach

Michael Jordan

Dean Smith, center, is flanked by current North Carolina coach Roy Williams and Michael Jordan/Photo by Associated Press

 

When legendary North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith died Saturday, he was remembered throughout the country by those who knew him and by those who played for him. Clippers coach Doc Rivers was one of many who said that Smith was much more than one of the greatest college basketball coaches in history.

“It’s a sad day,” Rivers said Sunday after his team was beaten 131-108 at Oklahoma City. “Obviously, we lost a giant. The thing I liked the most about Dean – we always talk about his coaching because we know he was a great coach – but I just thought he was a great leader of people. He would lead his teammates or all the guys that he coached. You have to be around those guys to understand that. But you really get the impact that he had on them.”

Smith, who was three weeks shy of his 84th birthday, was head coach of the Tar Heels from 1961-97. He had 879 victories, fourth-best among Division I men’s coaches.

 

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Jamal Crawford helps Clippers even when he’s not shooting the ball well

Jamal Crawford

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

 

Jamal Crawford did not have a good game offensively Saturday when the Clippers routed the San Antonio Spurs 105-85 at AT&T Center in San Antonio. Crawford scored eight points – well below his season average of 15.7 – and shot just 2 of 10 from the field.

But Crawford was still able to help his team with three steals and two blocks in his 21 minutes of action. That did not go unnoticed by coach Doc Rivers.

“Three steals, I don’t know where the two blocks came from,” Rivers said, joking about the blocks. “He didn’t have a great night (offensively), but he stayed in the game. Sometimes you’re going to have an offensively bad night even if you are Jamal. But if yo have that, you’re still on the floor.

“We ask our guys, ‘If you take the best you can do away, how else can you help the team?’ ”

Crawford is currently tied with Rashard Lewis for eighth-place on the all-time list for made 3-pointers with 1,787. His next make will put him No. 8 all alone. Next for Crawford to catch and pass would be Chauncey Billups, who is seventh with 1,830.

The Clippers are 2-1 on this eight-game Grammy road trip and next play Monday at 4:30 p.m. at Brooklyn (18-28).

 

 

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Spencer Hawes had a much-needed strong showing in win at San Antonio

Spencer Hawes

Spencer Hawes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Spencer Hawes has struggled of late offensively. In his previous three games before Saturday he had scored four, zero and zero points, respectively. But he had 11 points on 4 of 8 shooting Saturday and made 3 of 5 from 3-point range in a 105-85 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. It’s the kind of performance coach Doc Rivers is always looking for from Hawes, the 7-foot reserve post who has had some difficulty making the transition from starter to reserve since coming to the Clippers this season via free agency.
“He was fantastic tonight,” Rivers said post-game. “I was very happy for him because he’s been up and down, and he needed tonight. We used him a couple of different ways. That was great for him and gave him confidence. He’s going to help us and tonight he did.”
Hawes said being aggressive helped.
“That’s what my teammates and coaches are encouraging me to do,” he said. “I’m coming into a situation where I don’t want to ruffle any feathers. I think it’s better for everybody if I do play more aggressive like I did (Saturday).”

Hawes also had three rebounds and three steals in 24 minutes and 10 seconds of play.

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Austin Rivers unable to explain team’s lack of focus in loss at New Orleans

Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

Clippers guard Austin Rivers on Friday returned to New Orleans to help his new team take on his old team and his old team prevailed 108-103. Afterward, Rivers’ father – Clippers coach Doc Rivers – said the team did not have “great focus.” The younger Rivers was queried as to why.

I don’t know,” Austin Rivers said. “All I know is we can’t dwell thinking about it. If you start doing that, that’s how you start messing with, whatever. We had won six in a row, it was a tough loss. We weren’t focused, we gave them that win. We were supposed to take that from them, we are supposed to come in and beat a team like that. They played well, our focus wasn’t there 100 percent. But let’s get another six or seven in a row; let’s keep rolling.”

Austin Rivers scored 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting off the bench Friday.

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