Doc Rivers: Give Steve Kerr some credit, but don’t give it all to him

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Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr/Photo by Associated Press

 

One reporter asked Clippers coach Doc Rivers following his team’s 121-104 butt-kicking-loss at the hands of Golden State on Wednesday night in Oakland if first-year Warriors coach Steve Kerr has changed that team. Rivers doled out kudos to Kerr, but to others as well.

“I think that he’s changed them, but I think that after losing last year, they’re coming with anger,” Rivers said, alluding to the hotly contested first-round playoff series between the teams this past season won by the Clippers in seven games. “So you’ve got to give Steve some credit, but I don’t want to take credit away from Mark (Jackson) or anyone else. They came here to kick our butts. (Warriors forward) David Lee looked like he worked out for a month just to get back to this game.”

Until this season, Jackson had coached the Warriors the three previous campaigns.

 

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Things to ponder ahead of Wednesday night’s game at Golden State

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Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson/Photo courtesy of Golden State Warriors, NBA.com

 

The Clippers will play at Golden State on Wednesday night at Oracle Arena. The Warriors are off to a 3-0 start, and statistically are leading the league in several individual and team categories.

- Shooting guard Klay Thompson is leading the league in scoring, averaging 29.7 points

- Point guard Steph Curry is leading the league in steals at 3.6 per game

- The Warriors have the best point differential in the league at plus-15.4

- The Warriors have allowed opponents to shoot just 39.5 percent from the field, lowest in the league

- The Warriors are averaging a league-high 11 steals

- The Warriors are forcing opponents into a league-high 22.3 turnovers per game

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Clippers open exhibition season tonight against Golden State

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Spencer Hawes

Spencer Hawes/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

The Clippers tonight (Tuesday) will open their exhibition season with a game against their first-round opponent in last season’s playoffs – the Golden State Warriors. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m. (on Prime Ticket).

This will be the Clippers’ first game under new owner Steve Ballmer. Their next two games will be Sunday at Portland and then Monday at Utah.

Clippers fans will get their first look at several new faces, including 7-foot-1 post Spencer Hawes, a hard-nosed player expected the give the team an even bigger presence in the middle, along with starter DeAndre Jordan.

 

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Doc Rivers concerned about Mark Jackson’s firing, vulnerability of NBA coaches

When coach Doc Rivers met with reporters about 1:15 Pacific time on Tuesday in Oklahoma City, he had yet to hear that Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson had been fired.

The Warriors took the Clippers to seven games in their recently concluded first-round Western Conference playoff series. It marked the first time the Warriors had made the post-season in consecutive seasons since the 1990-91 and 1991-92 campaigns. Rivers was stunned.

“That means things are crazy,” Rivers said. “George Karl was the Coach of the Year last year and got fired. Mark Jackson gets a team to multiple playoffs for the first time in a thousand years, and gets fired. It’s our job. We have a tough job and I think everyone knows it now more than ever.”

Rivers was asked if something has changed over the years regarding coaches and their vulnerability.

“Yeah, clearly, but I don’t know what IT is,” he said. “But something has absolutely changed. And I don’t know what it is, but clearly the patience has changed. But I don’t know why that would be impatience because they’ve done pretty well for the last couple of years. So, I don’t know, but there definitely is a change in thinking about us, and it’s hurting us.”

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Doc Rivers: verbal post-game row between Clippers and Warriors ‘much to do about nothing’

Doc Rivers on Sunday morning during a conference call was asked to comment on a verbal post-game row that took place between players from the Clippers and Warriors on the heels of the Clippers’ 126-121 Game 7 playoff victory at Staples Center.

The home and visitors locker rooms are close in proximity and apparently the Warriors didn’t like something they thought they heard coming from the Clippers’ locker room, such as an assistant coach saying how quiet it was in the Warriors’, according to a report on ESPN.com. That led to a verbal confrontation in the tunnel outside the locker rooms.

“I really don’t know,” Rivers said, when asked about it. “I was sitting in my office with my family, and I heard about it.  From what I’ve heard, it was much to do about nothing. Unfortunately, the way the arena is built, from our training room that door opens. The other locker room is through that and I guess they can hear guys being excited. That was about it. From there I guess there were guys chirping in the hallway in between the two locker rooms. But no one even came and got me. I found out about it after the fact. That’s what I heard. Besides people talking loud at each other, nothing happened.”

There has been no love lost between these two teams.

According to the report on ESPN.com, which cited sources, security was called.

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Jermaine O’Neal to have MRI after being leveled by ‘Big Baby’ on ‘dirty play’

One of the things Warriors coach Mark Jackson was asked about in Thursday’s post-game news conference following his team’s 100-99 Game 6 victory over the Clippers, was the play that sent post Jermaine O’Neal crashing to the floor.

It took place in the second quarter under the basket when the Clippers’ Glen “Big Baby” Davis plowed through O’Neal going for a rebound. O’Neal hit the deck and was eventually helped off the court. He suffered a sprained right knee, did not return and was scheduled to have an MRI on Friday.

“We’ll see how he feels moving forward,” Jackson said, alluding to O’Neal’s availability for Saturday’s Game 7 at Staples Center. “As far as the play, I didn’t get another look at it, so I’m not sure. I’m sure the league, which does an outstanding job of monitoring plays like that, will take a look at it and make decisions.”

O’Neal told USA Today he thought it was “a dirty play.”

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Mark Jackson: Don’t compare Stephen Curry to Michael Jordan, because he’s no Jordan

Golden State’s Stephen Curry took only 10 shots in a Game 5 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Tuesday. He scored a rather insignificant 17 points. Two days earlier, in Game 4 at Oracle Arena this past Sunday, Curry took 20 shots and had 33 points in the Warriors’ victory.

Warriors coach Mark Jackson was asked ahead of Game 6 on Thursday at Oracle Arena if he would like to see Curry take a few more shots early so as to kind of jump-start his team.

“I want him to be aggressive, but I want him to be smart,” Jackson said of his best player. “Do what the defense dictates, and he’s done a great job of doing just that. I think it’s important for us to get stops, and it makes it easier for him to get it going in transition.
But they do a good job in half court sets trapping him and forcing him to get rid of the basketball. But I fully expect him to be more aggressive.”

Another reporter (not this one) then had this question for Jackson: “Do you think if they’re trapping him and double-teaming him, you like him to pass it off? It seems to me sometimes that in a playoff game superstars emerge and assert themselves. I don’t think Michael Jordan said, ‘I’ll just pass the ball.’ They sort of take over. Isn’t this the time for Stephen Curry to take over.”

Jackson, respectfully, came right back.

“I appreciate that question, but this just in – Steph Curry is not Michael Jordan. He’s not my Michael Jordan. He’s not anybody’s Michael Jordan. I love him to death and he’s a heck of a basketball player. At the end of the day, Michael Jordan is 6-7, freak athlete, tremendous strength, cat-like quickness, the ability to maneuver, get to his spots and, in spite of great defense, shoot over them.

“Steph Curry is being trapped by a 7-foot freak athlete in (DeAndre) Jordan, or a 6-10 freak athlete in Blake (Griffin) along with a big-time defender at the point guard position in (Chris) Paul and whoever. There are times he (Curry) is going to be aggressive. Then there are times he’s going to look to make plays. I would argue the case that being too aggressive can force turnovers also. So he’s got to use wisdom, and I have confidence that he’ll do just that.”

Curry had eight turnovers Tuesday.

 

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Chris Paul admits he’s nervous about how home crowd will be Tuesday for Game 5

Chris Paul sat in Sunday’s post-game news conference, looking forlorn. His team had just lost Game 4 of their Western Conference playoff series to the Golden State Warriors 118-97 at Oracle Arena in Oakland. The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 Tuesday at Staples center.

The game was played in front of a wild Warriors home sellout crowd of 19,596. The Clippers always sell out with about the same amount of fans. But one has to wonder what the crowd is going to be like Tuesday with this whole fiasco involving team owner Donald Sterling and his alleged racist remarks about African-Americans that has cast a very negative pall over the organization.

Paul was asked about it.

“I would by lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about what it is going to be like because our fans have been amazing all season long and, obviously, I hope that it will be the same,” Paul said. “You just never know. They’ve been amazing, and we wouldn’t be where we are without them. But it’s tough.”

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An extra 100 credentials for today’s game requested after Donald Sterling fiasco

The Golden State Warriors public relations staff informed reporters at 9:55 a.m. Sunday morning at Oracle Arena that we should get into the pre-game interview room real early because some of us would not be able to get in if we didn’t.

Why? Because there were at least 100 more credential requests for Game 4 than there were for Game 3 on the heels of the Donald Sterling fiasco, where the Clippers owner allegedly was caught on a 9-plus-minute audio feed making racist remarks about African-Americans.

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Klay Thompson says team probably makes half its 3-point attempts Sunday

With all the hoopla about the 3-point shooting prowess of Golden State Warriors guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, they have not been up to par in that department in the first three games of their Western Conference playoff series against the Clippers.

Curry made a league-high 261 3-pointers during the regular season and shot 42.4 percent from beyond the arc. Thompson made 223 3-pointers and shot 41.7 percent.

In three playoff games, Thompson (7 of 20) has made 35 percent and Curry has shot only 28.6 percent (6 of 21).

Furthermore, the team as a whole is shooting 27.3 percent from 3-point range compared to 38 percent during the season.

The Warriors connected on only 6 of 31 3-pointers in Thursday’s 98-96 loss to the Clippers at Oracle Arena in Oakland that gave the Clippers a 2-1 series lead. The biggest miss was Curry’s at the end.

Thompson believes that will all change Sunday when the teams square off in Game 4 at Oracle Arena.

“I would say a bad shooting night,” Thompson said, when asked to what he attributed Thursday’s 6-for-31 team performance. “I had some great wide-open looks from the corners. When I see Stephen release them, I think that’s a layup, and we just barely missed them. But great shots, we got good shots. Six-for-31 for (3s) is uncharacteristic for us. We probably hit half on Sunday.”

The Clippers, by the way, are beating the Warriors at their own game. They shot 35.2 percent from 3-point range during the regular season. They are shooting 40 percent in the the playoff series.

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