Doc Rivers gets a kick out of being named conference ‘Coach of the Month’

Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers/Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press

 

Doc Rivers on Thursday was named Coach of the Month for the Western Conference by the NBA. The Clippers went 7-0 during the month of April.

Rivers was kind of funny when asked about the award Thursday at practice as his team prepares for its first-round playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs. Game 1 is Sunday at Staples Center.

“I didn’t even know they had a ‘Coach of the Month’ for the last month; it’s almost silly,” he said, alluding to the idea that it was only half a month because the regular season ended Wednesday in the NBA. “I was shocked, number one. Number two, I think usually they give you this plaque and I think Brad and I are going to saw it in half because that’s the way it should look.

“But it’s always nice when you win anything and I’m sure Brad feels the same way.”

Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month. He led the Celtics to a 7-1 record in April.

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Coach Doc Rivers reached 700 victories on Tuesday night in Phoenix

Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers is shown here coaching the Clippers during Game 6 of the first round of the 2014 playoffs at Golden State/Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press

 

Doc Rivers on Tuesday won his 700th career game as a head coach on the final day of his 16th regular season, thanks to the Clippers’ 112-101 victory at Phoenix. Rivers is 700-524, a winning percentage of .572 with Orlando, Boston and the Clippers.

“I had no idea,” Rivers told the Associated Press post-game. “I didn’t even know I was near that. That is nice. It’s nice to have it over with, I guess. What it really says is that I have been really lucky with good players.”

The Clippers (56-26) will begin the playoffs either Saturday or Sunday with their opponent to be determined by the end of Wednesday night’s slate of games.

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Chris Paul knows his team can’t check in and out of focus in the playoffs

Chris Paul

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

 

Chris Paul seemed to have a firm grasp of the obvious following his team’s surprisingly difficult 110-103 victory Monday night over the lowly Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. He talked about a timeout his team took when it trailed by six points with 5:43 to play in the game.

“It was 96-90 and Doc (Rivers) called a timeout, and we just kept talking, ‘We are going to win the game,’ ” Paul said. “I think it just shows what we are capable of when we focus, lock in and stick to our principles. In the playoffs, it is not going to be that easy to turn it on and turn it off, so it is always good to win and learn at the same time.”

The Clippers (55-26) finish the regular season tonight (Tuesday) at Phoenix. They know they will have the homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but they still don’t know their opponent.

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Clippers do not re-sign Lester Hudson, might bring back Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

The 10-day contract of guard Lester Hudson is over and he was not re-signed to a second one, though that happening is not out of the realm of possibility. Doc Rivers, coach and president of basketball operations, said he expects to fill the spot.

“There is nothing right now, but we may, we will,” Rivers said. “We will sign someone.”

Rivers wasn’t sure if that would happen before Saturday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center.

“Most likely will, but not sure yet,” Rivers said at practice Friday morning.

The Clippers signed Hudson when Nate Robinson’s second 10-day contract expired. Robinson was not re-signed for the remainder of the season at that time because he was nursing a knee injury. Rivers was asked if Robinson is in the conversation to to be brought back.

“He’s in the conversation, yes,” Rivers said.

Rivers said Robinson’s knee has improved.

“I think it’s better, yeah,” Rivers said. “Probably not where you’d like it, but it’s better.”

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There was joy in Clippers’ locker room after Duke won NCAA Tournament title

J.J. Redick

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

 

Clippers coach Doc Rivers after Tuesday night’s victory over the Lakers was asked to talk about what Duke winning the NCAA men’s title a night earlier might have meant to J.J. Redick, who played at Duke from 2002-06.

“He was happy,” Rivers said. “Him and Austin (Rivers) were obnoxious as ever. But it was good for them. Duke did what they needed to do. Even Ryan Kelly was talking to me during the game. He now has two rings (in his family). His freshman year, and his brother’s a walk-on, which is really cool that coach K (Mike Krzyzewski) did that and gave him a scholarship.

“So the Duke love is pretty strong right now, that’s for sure.”

Austin Rivers played at Duke from 2011-12. Neither he nor Redick won a title while there. Lakers forward Ryan Kelly played at Duke and the Blue Devils won a title while he was a freshman. Sean Kelly, Ryan’s brother, was a senior reserve this season for Duke. Another member of the Clippers, Dahntay Jones, also toiled at Duke, from 2001-03.

Duke won a title in March 2001, but Jones did not begin playing for the Blue Devils until the fall of 2001 for the ’01-’02 campaign.

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Doc Rivers jokes patch worn by Blake Griffin not for Griffin ‘to stop smoking’

Blake Griffin

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

 

Clippers’ forward Blake Griffin went crashing into an advertising table outside the north end-line during the first quarter of Tuesday’s 105-100 victory over the Lakers. He was hustling for a loose ball, trying to save it from going out of bounds.

Though fans appreciated his effort, he was unsuccessful and the Lakers took possession. It was a scary moment that resulted in Griffin wearing a patch on his right shoulder that became bloody. Never one to pass on an opportunity to make a joke out of something, coach Doc Rivers did just that when asked about the patch.

“I’m sure it’s not to get him to stop smoking,” he said, drawing laughs from reporters.

Griffin, by the way, scored 27 points in the game. He also grabbed seven rebounds and doled out six assists.

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Jamal Crawford rusty in return in win over Lakers, but Doc Rivers expected that

Jamal Crawford

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

 

Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford returned to the court Tuesday in the Clippers’ 105-100 victory over the Lakers. He did not have a terrific game – he scored four points on 2 of 7 shooting – but coach Doc Rivers was fine with that.

“He played all right,” Rivers said of Crawford, who missed 17 consecutive games with a calf injury. “He was rusty a little bit, but that was good. Again, that is why we are happy to have him back because now he has time to get his rhythm going.”

The Clippers (53-26) have just three regular-season games remaining before it’s playoff time.

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Doc Rivers likes what veteran reserve Hedo Turkoglu has brought to team

Hedo Turkoglu

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

 

Veteran reserve Hedo Turkoglu had another nice game for the Clippers in Sunday’s 106-78 rout of the Lakers at Staples Center. Turkoglu scored 12 points and grabbed three rebounds in just 12 minutes and 18 seconds of play. He made 4 of 7 from 3-point range.

Turkoglu, 36, averages just 3.8 points on the season. But he’s averaging 9.7 points in three games this month. He averaged 5.3 points in the month of March with a high of 19 in a 116-105 victory over Sacramento on March 18 at Sleep Train Arena.

Coach Doc Rivers likes what he’s seeing from the 6-foot-10 Turkoglu, who is shooting 44.5 percent (57 of 128) from beyond the arc.

“He was great,” Rivers said of Turkoglu after Sunday’s win. “Hedo makes shots. That’s why we brought him here. That’s why we like him here. He’s a veteran and he’s never in a rush. He plays at a great pace and I think that pace is really good for the second unit. Everyone else in the second unit is going so fast, so it’s good to get to one guy who can slow it down.”

 

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Blake Griffin, Doc Rivers not happy about all the cheering for the Warriors

Matt Barnes of the Clippers goes up for a shot in Tuesday’s 110-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors/Staff photo by John McCoy

 

The Golden State Warriors aren’t the only team that has had a strong fan base this season at Staples Center when playing the Clippers. The same could be said when the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat played them there.

But it seemed like all the cheering for the Warriors in their 110-106 victory over the Clippers on Tuesday at Staples Center really rubbed some the wrong way. Blake Griffin, for example, made no bones about how displeased he was during the post-game news conference.

He was asked if it felt like a playoff atmosphere.

“Not really, no,” he said. He was asked why.

“I don’t know, the homecourt advantage is just not there for us,” Griffin said. “So if that’s how it feels in the playoffs, it’s not looking good.”

Coach Doc Rivers also was queried as to whether the ambiance had a post-season feel.

“It did, in some ways,” Rivers said. “I liked our crowd tonight, for the most part. I didn’t like their crowd.”

Having covered Clippers-Warriors games at Oracle Arena in Oakland, believe this, there is almost no cheering for the Clippers.

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 110-106 loss to the Golden State Warriors

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin scored 40 points in Tuesday’s loss to Golden State/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

- The absence of sixth-man Jamal Crawford was very obvious in this loss. While the Warriors got a big spark off the bench from post Marreese Speights, who had 13 points, the spark Crawford typically brings was not there to ignite as he missed his 14th consecutive game with a calf injury. Golden State got 34 points from its bench, the Clippers just 12. Sure, the Warriors’ bench played more minutes. But still, in games against the elite teams, Crawford not being in there becomes much more damaging. The good news is Crawford could return after the Clippers come back from their two-game trip that will see them play games Wednesday night at Portland and Saturday night at Denver.

- DeAndre Jordan leads the league in field-goal percentage at 70.6, so shooting 1 of 5 in this one was certainly uncharacteristic. Interestingly, he seemed to have a couple of opportunities to throw down dunks but instead tried to lay the ball in the basket. That resulted in misses. Even fans were yelling at Jordan to “dunk the ball.”

- Blake Griffin had a monster game. With 40 points on 16 of 25 shooting, he appears all the way back from the staph infection that was surgically removed from his right elbow. His season-high of 45 points came Dec. 8 in a 121-120 overtime victory over Phoenix. Griffin also pulled down 12 rebounds Tuesday, doled out five assists and blocked three shots.

- Considering this game was played at Staples Center and not Oracle Arena, there were way too many Warriors fans present. Both coach Doc Rivers and Griffin complained about that afterward, which was understandable. This isn’t the first time that has happened, but it makes one wonder just how much of a homecourt advantage the Clippers are going to have during the playoffs when they are playing at what are supposed to be the friendly confines of Staples Center.

- Chris Paul scored 27 points and had nine assists. But he still had to try and contain Golden State’s Steph Curry, who started out by shooting 1 of 4 before getting hot and finishing 8 of 15 for 27 points of his own. Afterward, Paul said there were three instances where he was in Curry’s chest, yet Curry still made his shot. Tonight (Wednesday), Paul will have his hands full with another dynamic guard – Portland’s Damian Lillard. “It’s a point-guard-driven league,” Paul said.

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