Doc Rivers pulls no punches when talking about Spurs’ dribble penetration

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin scored a team-high 14 points in the Clippers’ 100-73 Game 3 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Sunday ahead of Game 4 was asked about the dribble penetration that played a big part in the Spurs’ 100-73 Game 3 victory over the Clippers on Friday at AT&T Center in San Antonio. He pulled no punches.

“Dribble penetration kills everything,” he said. “I mean, it really does. It creates offensive rebounds, it creates points in the paint, it creates 3s, it creates foul trouble. If you are allowing it a lot, you’re going to lose unless you are just having an unbelievable offensive night or they are just having a bad night of missing open shots.

“I thought overall their dribble penetration … Kawhi (Leonard) was great, but all of them were beating us off the dribble and when you watch the film, it’s pretty disgusting to watch.”

 

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Jamal Crawford speaks in philosophical tones about his shooting struggles

Jamal Crawford

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

 

Jamal Crawford had a terrific Game 1 against the San Antonio Spurs in their best-of-seven first-round Western Conference playoff series. He scored 17 points on 7 of 10 shooting – 3 of 4 from 3-point range. But he has shot a combined 5 of 24 the past two games – both Clippers losses – 1 of 10 from behind the 3-point line.

Crawford on Saturday was philosophical about his struggles as he spoke to reporters at the team hotel in downtown San Antonio near The Alamo.

“It happens,” Crawford said. “It really does. The shots I got, I hope I get those same shots tomorrow, honestly. They were good shots, they weren’t anything rushed or force, or anything – shots I make 90 percent of the time, in my mind.”

The Clippers and Spurs square off in Game 4 on Sunday at AT&T Center. San Antonio is up 2-1.

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Blake Griffin says Friday’s blowout loss ‘cannot dictate’ what happens in Game 4

Blake Griffin

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

 

The Clippers have now lost two games in a row they would rather forget – the 111-107 overtime loss in Game 2 on Wednesday at Staples Center and the 100-73 shellacking they absorbed Friday in Game 3 at AT&T Center in San Antonio.

Blake Griffin said putting Friday’s loss behind them is a must. Game 4 is Sunday.

“You just have to get rid of that memory and forget about it,” said Griffin, who scored a team-high 14 points and shot just 6 of 15 from the field. “Tonight’s game cannot dictate how we play in Game 4. We just have to forget about it and move on.”

The Clippers shot just 29.5 percent through three quarters, 34.1 percent for the game.

 

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Jordan Hamilton still feeling effects of concussion, but he’s getting better

Jordan Hamilton

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

 

Clippers reserve forward Jordan Hamilton recently sustained a concussion in practice. He’s not yet ready to come back, but he is improving.

“I’m getting better,” he said before Game 3 against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday in San Antonio. “I’ll be out a few more days.”

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Doc Rivers, Chris Paul respond to Magic Johnson’s negative tweet after Game 2

Chris Paul

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

 

Magic Johnson sent out two tweets following the Clippers’ heartbreaking 111-107 overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series at Staples Center. One praised the Spurs: “The Spurs showed great mental toughness tonight in the win over the Clippers. That’s why they are the defending NBA champs.”

The other ripped the Clippers:  “The Clippers lack of mental toughness and costly turnovers are the reasons they lost the game tonight.”

The latter had to be in reference to Blake Griffin’s turnover with 11.9 seconds left in regulation and the Clippers ahead by two points. Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Friday responded.

“Well, they won,” Rivers said. “To the victors goes the spoils. I’m never going to argue with Magic Johnson. They won the game. I thought we showed great  mental toughness because we were the team down. I think people forget that. We were down 10 points in the fourth Quarter.

“I mean, we were actually the team that came back. And then we gave it up at the end. But we came back in that game. So I think if anybody showed mental toughness, it was us. And them; they’re going to have it. They, again, are champions. They’re not going anywhere. They’re not going to be shaken.”

Chris Paul looked perplexed when told of Johnson’s negative tweet.

“No, I didn’t know that,” Paul said at the morning shootaround ahead of Game 3 at AT&T Center in San Antonio. “I haven’t been on Twitter. I mean, that’s his opinion. I saw Magic at Sunday brunch last week, you know what I mean? So …”

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Doc Rivers loved the energy Clippers faithful brought to Staples Center

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes sent Clippers fans into a frenzy when in the third quarter he got into a vicious wrestling match for the ball with San Antonio’s Aron Baynes that spilled out of bounds and into photographers sitting on the end line/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com

 

There has been plenty of talk this season – not all good – about how there always seems to be a decent amount of opposing fans at Clippers home games. Sometimes, it’s felt like there were just as many of them as Clippers fans.

There was very little of that Sunday in the Clippers’ 107-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of their playoff series at Staples Center. The crowd was electric, and 98 percent of it rooted for the Clippers.

It did not go unnoticed by coach Doc Rivers.

“It was awesome. I agree,” Rivers said. “I thought it was better than the Golden State game last year (in Game 7 of that first-round series). They had energy, and they had energy throughout. It’s amazing … that your team needs energy sometimes from your crowd. I thought they did that for us tonight.”

Game 2 is Wednesday night at Staples Center.

 

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Sixth-man Jamal Crawford is no longer in a funk with his shooting rhythm

Jamal Crawford

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

 

Not that Jamal Crawford is the type to lose confidence, but he had to have breathed a sign of relief after his performance in Sunday’s 107-92 victory over the defending NBA-champion San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series at Staples Center.

Crawford scored 17 points. More importantly, he shot 7 of 10 from the field – 3 of 4 from 3-point range. Considering he had made just 10 of 36 shots (27.7 percent) in the final four regular-season games after missing the previous 17 with a calf injury, that was more than noteworthy. That’s probably why Crawford couldn’t stop smiling afterward.

“Me and Chris (Paul) talk about it all the time,” Crawford said. “We’re consumed in basketball every single day of our lives. To be out five weeks and not be able to do anything but watch, I mean, you can take some good things from it.

“But it was more bad than good for me because you want to be out there so bad and help your team and just be part of the guys. … The injury is one thing, then coming back and conditioning and trying to get a rhythm, all that stuff sucks. But you’ve go to go through the process sometimes.”

Game 2 is Wednesday night at Staples Center.

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VIDEO: You might say Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is fanatical about team

Not that anyone could have had any doubts about the love Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has for his team. But here is a fine example of just how much Clippers blood is already flowing through his veins in just his first season as boss. Check out Ballmer as his Clippers are defeating San Antonio 107-92 on Sunday in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series. The Clippers were up 79-61 at this point:

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Five things to take from Clippers’ 107-92 Game 1 victory over San Antonio

Jamal Crawford

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

 

Jamal Crawford had shot just 10 of 36 (27.7 percent) from the field in four games since returning from a calf injury that caused him to miss 17 consecutive games. To see him shoot 7 of 10 – 3 of 4 from 3-point range – and score 17 points in this game was nothing more than a really terrific thing for the Clippers. They need all they can get from a bench not nearly as deep as San Antonio’s.

– You could see it by the look of determination Chris Paul had on his face. There was just no way the Clippers were going to lose this game if he had anything to say about it. He scored 32 points on 13 of 20 from the field – 3 of 5 from beyond the arc – and also pulled down seven rebounds while doling out six assists. Doesn’t get much stronger than that. Will this be the year Paul and the Clippers get past the second round? Stay tuned.

– As good as Paul was, Blake Griffin was almost as good. He scored 26 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, had six assists and three blocked shots in an overall fine performance. He also showed some of the ferocity we don’t see quite as much since he added the outside game to his repertoire by throwing down a mean tomahawk dunk in the third quarter for a 77-61 lead. Griffin also wore that winning look.

– Even though the Clippers emerged victorious, one has to wonder if San Antonio’s deeper bench will eventually play a larger role in determining the outcome of these games. The Spurs got 43 points from six reserves, the Clippers got the 17 points from Crawford and only five more from two other players combined. The Clippers’ starters played many more minutes than their San Antonio counterparts. Griffin played nearly 43 minutes, DeAndre Jordan played over 38 minutes and Paul nearly 38. Kawhi Leonard played the most minutes for the Spurs at 33. Will the Clippers starters tire out if this continues?

– We can’t leave out the fans. They were as good as they have been all year, with the Spurs getting only a few cheers from a few people. The Clippers notice when fans at their Staples Center root for the opponent, and it was a good thing that almost all the love was for the Clippers in this one. When Griffin threw down that aforementioned monster slam, the Clippers faithful went absolutely wild.

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VIDEO: Check out this monster slam dunk by Blake Griffin in win over Spurs

Chris Paul scored 32 points and Blake Griffin had 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers in their 107-92 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night at Staples Center in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Although Griffin’s dunk total was down this season, you won’t find too many more vicious than this one he threw down over the Spurs’ Aron Baynes. Check it out:

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