Doc Rivers liked execution on Redick’s 3-ball at end of regulation

Philadelphia 76ers' Nerlens Noel (4) tries to shoot with Los Angeles Clippers' J.J. Redick (4) and Lance Stephenson (1) defending during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Philadelphia.

Lance Stephenson (1) and J.J. Redick (4) play defense against the 76ers’ Nerlens Noel during Monday’s game at :Philadelphia/AP photo by Chris Szagola

 

The Clippers defeated the lowly Philadelphia 76ers 98-92 in overtime Monday in Philadelphia. Certainly, this is nothing to brag about because Philadelphia is now a league-worst 8-44.

But the Clippers (35-17) were down by as many as 19 points (51-32) in the second quarter. And they needed a 3-pointer by J.J. Redick with 10 seconds left in regulation to send the game into the overtime period.

Coach Doc Rivers like the execution on that one.

“I was honestly thanking the basketball gods,” he said. “We didn’t play the right way all game and when Jamal (Crawford) missed the wide-open 3 (with 50.9 seconds left) … even with J.J. there, I honestly didn’t think that would go in because sometimes that’s the way it works. But the execution was good.”

Five things to take from Clippers’ 108-102 loss to Timberwolves

J.J. Redick of the Clippers guards Tayshaun Prince of the Timberwolves on Wednesday at Staples Center/Staff photo by David Crane

 

– Although this loss was a very unlikely one for the Clippers, as the Timberwolves have one of the worst records (15-36) in the league, it’s also understandable because there is a law of averages to consider. The Clippers had gone an almost-unbelievable 15-3 without Blake Griffin before this game and sometimes a team on a run like that will lose to an vastly inferior team. That’s not to mention that with young talent like Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns and Zach LaVine, the Timberwolves are going to beat good teams on a given night. They scored 31, 17 and 17 points, respectively.

– Technical fouls hurt the Clippers in this one. Austin Rivers took two for arguing a non-call in the second quarter and was ejected. Chris Paul took one with 20.6 seconds to play for arguing an “overt clap” when J.J. Redick was called for a foul on Ricky Rubio as Redick and Paul were double-teaming him. Paul said he knows he can’t be getting fourth-quarter technical fouls and that he apologized to his team after the game. The technical assessed him came from referee Lauren Holtkamp. It was in February 2015 that Paul was fined $25,000 by the NBA for his criticism of Holtkamp after a loss at Cleveland.

– Coach Doc Rivers was honest after the game. He said he thought his team lacked focus from the opening tip. “I didn’t think we had any intensity into the game,” he said. That showed defensively, several  players said. The Timberwolves shot 50.6 from the field, 47.1 (8 of 17) from 3-point range.

– It’s tough to win when one of your best shooters – Redick – goes 1 of 9 from the field. He wasn’t the only one, though. Paul Pierce shot 1 of 5 and Jamal Crawford was 5 of 15. Overall, the Clippers shot 44 percent from the field, which is not horrible. But 32 of their 75 field-goal attempts were from 3-point range, and they made only 11 of them for 34.4 percent.

DeAndre Jordan pulled down 15 rebounds, but the team as a whole only had 35, well under its season average of 42.1, which is only 24th-best in the league. Minnesota had 42 rebounds.

Doc Rivers downplays his Coach of the Month award

Doc Rivers/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill

 

Doc Rivers this week was named Western Conference Coach of the Month by the NBA. Not only did the Clippers go 11-3 in January, they of course did it without the services of leading scorer Blake Griffin.

Rivers is not one to jump for joy over such an accolade, and he gave credit to everyone but himself.

“It doesn’t mean much,” Rivers said. “It means that our team is playing well. I was surprised I got it. I mean, I figured someone else had a better record or did something better. But it’s nice, obviously, whenever you get an award. It usually means that your players are really, really playing well, you’re staff’s doing well.”

Rivers said he found out about the award, which was announced Monday, when his phone started making noise that morning.

“It’s funny, I get all these texts and I’m like, ‘Who in the heck’s texting me?’ ” he said. “And then I actually had to read them. And that even made it worse. But it’s nice when you ever get anything.”

Clippers make it official, sign Jeff Ayres to second 10-day contract

Jeff Ayres

Jeff Ayres/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Sunday that he would be giving power forward Jeff Ayres a second 10-day contract. Rivers, who doubles as president of basketball operations, followed through on that Tuesday by making it official.

Ayres, who prepped at Etiwanda High in Rancho Cucamonga, has played in just three games for a total of 10 minutes since signing with the Clippers on Jan. 23. Ayres, 28, has played in  223 NBA games with Portland, Indiana, San Antonio and the Clippers; he won a championship ring in 2014 with San Antonio.

Ayres has career scoring and rebounding averages of 3.0 and 2.7, respectively.

Doc Rivers would love to talk only about basketball, but Blake Griffin drama standing in the way of that

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Although L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers would love to just talk about basketball, that won’t happen until the Blake Griffin saga is resolved. That will materialize when Griffin’s punishment is meted out for him punching team assistant equipment manager Matias Testi on Jan. 23 in Toronto, Griffin sustaining a fractured right hand.

The word had not come down as of Tuesday morning.

“The league hasn’t said anything yet,” said Rivers, whose team will host the Minnesota Timberwolves (14-35) on Wednesday night at 7:30 at Staples Center. “We’re just waiting and we’ll figure it out when it’s done.”

Rivers answered every inquiry, if grudgingly. He said Griffin might go with the team on its upcoming four-game road trip that begins Friday in Orlando. He intimated that will depend on whether Griffin’s punishment is doled out by then.

Rivers said Testi is “doing good” and said he had not heard that Testi – according to a story on ESPN.com that cited sources – has been having debilitating headaches since the incident.

“No, I don’t know where you guys get these reports,” Rivers said.

Rivers was also asked what the locker-room dynamic might be like upon the return of Griffin and Testi.

“Just so you know, in the NBA, these things happen,” Rivers said. “I swear this is not the first time this has ever happened. It’s happened with players in practice and they tend to heal up, they tend to get better. So I know you guys want to stay on this. I swear we’ve got a basketball (team) to talk about. It’s going to be healed, it’s going to be OK.”

Bottom line, Rivers said, other than the discipline, this is a dead issue.

“Honestly, it’s over with, as far as we’re concerned,” he said. “The only thing is we have to get the punishment from the league and see where we’re going and then other than that, we’re good.”

The Clippers (32-16) have gone 15-3 without Griffin, who hasn’t played since Christmas as the fractured hand was preceded by a quad injury.

Age, fewer minutes contributing factors to Paul Pierce’s struggles

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Paul Pierce, 38, is having the worst shooting season of his long and, eventually, Hall of Fame career. Pierce has a career shooting percentage of 44.6 percent. He’s shooting 33.6 percent this season; his previous low was 40.2 in 2003-03 with Boston.

Pierce has shot 36.9 percent from 3-point range for his 18-year career, but he’s at 30.6 percent right now. He hasn’t shot that poorly from distance since ’03-’04, when he shot 29.9 percent – his worst ever.

“I think maybe it has to do with my age,” Pierce said, smiling.

His age is an issue. It’s why he’s only averaging a career-low 17.5 minutes, nearly nine minutes less than this past season when he was with Washington.

“Yeah, I’m sure that has something to do with it,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He puts in the time and the work, but I know he can shoot and I feel like when you need him to make a shot, for the most part he’ll make shots.

“But his minutes have gone down each year over the last three or four years. Usually, statistically, especially guys who play a lot, when their minutes start
dwindling, their field-goal percentage struggles a little bit, too.”

Pierce understands why his minutes are down, suggesting his age and the way the team is structured mandates that. His main concern is “just to be rested enough going into the playoffs because that’s where I feel my value is going to be felt the most.”