Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters about 11 a.m. Saturday morning that heralded sixth-man Jamal Crawford will play in the afternoon game against the visiting Sacramento Kings at Staples Center.
Crawford had missed the past five games with a strained left calf. He previously missed eight of nine games before playing five consecutive games ahead of going back on the shelf.
Rivers was queried as to how many minutes he expects Crawford to play.
“We’re not going to go out there and throw him out there for 30 minutes, I can tell you that,” Rivers said. “There’s not an actual minute restriction, but there’s a restriction.. We’re 0-for-2 in the comebacks of Jamal so far. So, yeah, I think at least with him the first two times it was pretty clear, you know, that he was struggling. We’ll keep a close eye on him.”
Crawford is averaging 18.6 points.
Coach Doc Rivers has had to do a lot of mixing and matching this season because of injuries to key players such as Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, J.J.Redick and Matt Barnes. They have gotten away with it, for the most part, as they enter Sunday’s game against the Lakers with a terrific record of 54-23, third best in the NBA.
Rivers is happy about that, but he reminded reporters at practice Saturday morning that the regular season is one thing, the post-season another.
“You don’t really want to do that in the playoffs, or have to do that in the playoffs,” Rivers said. “Teams are all good in the playoffs. You can get away with mixing and matching and having guys out, but it’s hard to get away with that during the playoffs. In the regular season, yes.
“I think it’s good our guys are all ready and available because you do need that in the playoffs. But being forced to do it (mix and match), I don’t think we want to be in that position.”
Right now, of course, the Clippers don’t have all their players readily available. Super sixth man Crawford is out with a left calf strain/Achilles injury that won’t go away. And reserve forward Danny Granger is out with a hamstring injury. Crawford is averaging 18.6 points, so he is really needed.
Coach Doc Rivers on Thursday night admitted he is very concerned about the health of super sixth man Jamal Crawford. The guard averaging 18.6 points recently missed eight of nine games with a strained left calf. He came back to play well in five games, but came out of this past Saturday’s game at Houston with what was described as a sore left Achilles.
Crawford has subsequently missed the past three games – against Minnesota, Phoenix and Dallas. Rivers was asked if the Achilles injury is an offspring of the calf injury, but he answered in the negative.
“I think it’s all the calf,” Rivers said. “I mean, I know they use different words and things but I think at the end of the day this is the calf injury. And I was concerned when it happened because nobody was around (him). That always just scares the heck out of me when a guy gets hurt when nobody’s around. You know, that means that’s your body.
“If I collide with you, then it’s simple, I’m injured and I can see why. But when I’m just running down the floor and my body gives out, that’s always scared me.”
- Not to worry, Clippers fans, the law of averages says they absolutely must lose a game now and then. The Clippers had won 17 of their past 19 games, some in dramatic fashion. They can’t do it every night. Doesn’t work that way. Coach Doc Rivers said he wasn’t worried about it, and neither should the fans be concerned over one home loss. At 31-6, they still have one of the best home records in the league. That said, down 12 with three minutes left, the Clippers scared the heck out of Dallas by getting within two points with more than a minute left before the Mavericks escaped with the win.
- It was good to see guard J.J. Redick back playing exactly two months since he had last played Feb. 3, no thanks to a bulging disc in his back. Rivers said before the game he’d play Redick about 20 minutes or so, and Redick played 24 minutes and scored 12 points. He made just 3 of 10 from the field, but that’s to be expected after so much time off. He appeared healthy, which is the best thing of all.
- Blake Griffin has become a terrific passer. He had 11 assists in the game, a number more expected of Chris Paul, who had nine. The recipient of some of Griffin’s assists was DeAndre Jordan, who said thank you very much and slammed a few home.
- It’s a bummer that Jamal Crawford missed his third consecutive game because of that pesky injured calf. He was seen before the game and though he wasn’t noticeably limping, he didn’t seem to be walking with confidence, either. The Clippers will really need him for the playoffs because you don’t just replace 18.6 points per game, Crawford’s average.
- The worst thing a coach can do is play the diplomat after a loss because that doesn’t help his players a bit. Rivers said in the post-game news conference that his team played poorly on defense. And he’s right. There were way too many open looks, thus the Mavericks’ 48.3 percentage (14 of 29) from 3-point range. Right there is where the game was decided. The Clippers made just 6 of 27 from beyond the arc for 22.7 percent.
Next up, the Lakers on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
Blake Griffin will be a game-time decision when the Clippers play at Phoenix on Wednesday night in the final game of a five-game road trip, ESPN.com has reported.
Griffin came out early in this past Saturday’s game at Houston with back spasms. He then missed Monday’s game at Minnesota. It was the first game Griffin has missed this season.
Coach Doc Rivers told ESPN.com at Wednesday’s shoot-around that Griffin “may play tonight. I’m not sure.”
Also, sixth man Jamal Crawford is expected to miss his second consecutive game with a sore left Achilles, the ESPN.com report said. He recently missed eight of nine games with a left calf injury.
Guard Jamal Crawford on Wednesday moved up the ladder on the all-time list for 3-pointers during the Clippers’ 98-96 loss at New Orleans. With his seven 3-pointers, he moved into 11th place with 1,687, surpassing Steve Nash of the Lakers, who has 1,684.
The all-time leader is Ray Allen with 2,957.
Crawford also now has 151 3-pointers this season, breaking his own club record set last season.
- For four consecutive games now the Clippers have not looked like a team that can compete for the Western Conference championship once the playoffs begin. It started with a loss at Denver, then continued with close wins over Detroit and league-worst Milwaukee and a loss at New Orleans. It’s doubtful any of those four teams will make the playoffs.
- Chris Paul was 0-for-12 from the field in the loss to New Orleans on Wednesday. That’s something that will likely never happen again in Paul’s career. However, even though he is the team’s point guard, he still needs to score for the Clippers to be at their best. He averages 18.5 points.
- The really good news is that Jamal Crawford appears all the way back from a strained left calf that had him recently missing eight of nine games. He led the Clippers with 31 points at New Orleans.
- Even though the Clippers have struggled over the past four games, perhaps it should have been expected. After all, they had won 11 consecutive games prior to the loss at Denver on March 17. So often when a team goes on a long winning streak, it immediately goes into a mild slump once it’s snapped.
- In case you haven’t noticed, center DeAndre Jordan is averaging a league-high 13.7 rebounds. His previous best was when he averaged 8.3 in the 2011-12 season. That’s 5.4 more rebounds per game. Not too shabby.
Clippers play Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Dallas on Prime Ticket.
Jamal Crawford’s long 3-point shot attempt as time was running out hit the front of the rim and fell off and the Clippers were defeated by the New Orleans Pelicans 98-96 at New Orleans on Wednesday.
It was a stunning loss for the Clippers (50-22) on the first leg of a five-game road trip because they had previously defeated the Pelicans (31-40) three times – twice by 13 points and once by 32.
Equally stunning was that point guard Chris Paul missed all 12 of his field goal attempts. He finished with two points and 12 assists.
Crawford led the Clippers with 31 points. Blake Griffin scored 21 points and Matt Barnes had 14. DeAndre Jordan had eight points and 16 rebounds.
Anthony Morrow scored 27 points for New Orleans.
Next stop for the Clippers is Thursday at Dallas.
The 50-21 Clippers trail the 30-40 New Orleans Pelicans 55-52 at halftime in New Orleans.
Jamal Crawford has 19 points and Matt Barnes has 11 Los Angeles. But Blake Griffin has scored only eight and Chris Paul is scoreless after missing all six of his shots; Paul does have seven assists.
The game is being televised on Prime Ticket
This is the first game of a five-game road trip.
DeAndre Jordan has 169 blocked shots this season. That’s 27 more than his previous best of 142 in the 2010-11 season, and there are still 12 games left in the regular season. His average of 2.4 is third best in the league.
Jordan is also averaging a league-high 13.7 rebounds. His previous best was 8.3 in 2011-12.
Teammate Jamal Crawford, for one, can’t say enough about the 6-foot-11 Jordan.
“He’s the defensive player of the year,” Crawford said at Monday’s shoot-around ahead of the Clippers’ game against the Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center. “He’s unbelievable. I mean, sometimes we’ll get beat and we’ll look up in the air, and we know he’s there.
“I mean, it’s not a good thing to have, but I guess it is a good thing to have in that respect. I think his impact on defense has been as good or better than anyone else in the league.”