Doc Rivers not thinking about Steph Curry missing two weeks, not with Portland still in the mix

Stephen Curry

Steph Curry of Golden State will miss at least two weeks with a sprained right knee/AP photo by David Phillip

 

The NBA sent out a news release Monday regarding the schedule for the Western Conference semifinals. It says that if the Clippers-Trail Blazers and Golden State-Houston first-round series end in six games or less, the semifinals will start May 1. If either series goes seven games, they will begin May 3.

That means that, either way, Steph Curry of Golden State figures to miss the at least the beginning of the semifinals because he will out at least two weeks with a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his right knee, an injury sustained Sunday in Houston.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was asked Monday night before his team was to take on the Trail Blazers in Game 4 of their series if it is hard not to do the math on that even though his team is currently dealing with Portland.

“No, it’s pretty easy for me not to do the math,” Rivers said. “We have (Portland’s) Damian Lillard and (C.J.) McCollum in front of us right now, so that math is easy for me. It’s a 2-1 series. … I don’t look that far ahead. I think that would be a foolish thing to do.”

The Warriors lead their series with Houston 3-1.

Warriors’ Steph Curry has Grade 1 MCL sprain and will be re-evaluated in two weeks

Stephen Curry

Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is helped off the court after sustaining a knee sprain Sunday during the second quarter of the Warriors’  121-94 victory over the Houston Rockets/AP photo by David Phillip

 

If the Clippers get past Portland in their first-round playoff series, they would likely play the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals. Some of that series could be played without reigning MVP Steph Curry. The Warriors’ guard on Monday was diagnosed with a Grade 1 MCL sprain, an injury sustained Sunday during the second quarter of Golden State’s 121-94 victory at Houston in Game 4 of their series; the Warriors lead 3-1.

This is the release posted on Golden State’s website: Warriors guard Stephen Curry underwent an MRI this morning that revealed a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his right knee. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Curry suffered the injury on the last play of the first half of Game 4 last night at Houston and was diagnosed with a sprained right knee by the team’s medical staff on site.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters at the morning shootaround ahead of Monday night’s Game 4 at Portland that he didn’t realize Curry could be seriously injured; this was before news came of the diagnosis.

“I don’t want anyone to get injured, ever, so I hope he’s healthy,” Rivers said.

The Clippers lead their series with Portland 2-1.

Trail Blazers’ C.J. McCollum is NBA’s Most Improved Player

C.J. McCollum of the Trail Blazers holding up the hardware he received Friday/Photo courtesy of Portland Trail Blazers

 

The guard tandem of the Portland Trail Blazers has had a tough time against the Clippers in the first two games of their first-round playoff series. Perhaps an award will at least get one of them going.

Portland shooting guard C.J. McCollum on Friday was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player. He finished with 101 out of a possible 130 first-place votes and 559 total points in what was a landslide vote from 130 sports writers and broadcasters.

Kemba Walker (7 first-place, 166 points) of Charlotte was second and Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee finished third (4 first-place, 99 points).

Interestingly, reigning league MVP Steph Curry of Golden State was fourth with seven first-place votes and 83 points.

McCollum, 24, is in just his third season. He averaged 6.8 points in 62 games – three starts – in 2014-15. This season he averaged 20.8 points while starting all 80 games in which he played during the regular season.

“C.J. worked extremely hard to have the season that he had this year,” Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said on the team’s website. “His work ethic and commitment to improve is the reason he is deserving of this award. He is an example to everyone what can be accomplished with diligent practice and a belief that you can always get better.”

McCollum is the third Portland player to win the award. Kevin Duckworth won it in 1987-88 and Zach Randolph won it in 2003-04.

McCollum scored just nine and 16 points, respectively, in losses to the Clippers in Games 1 and 2 at Staples Center. He shot 3 of 11 in Game 1, 6 of 17 in Game 2 for a combined 9 of 28 (32.1 percent).

Damian Lillard, Portland’s point guard, has shot a combined 13 of 39 (33.3 percent).

Game 3 is Saturday night at Moda Center in Portland.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 114-98 loss at Golden State

The Clippers’ Chris Paul dribbles by Golden State’s Stephen Curry on Wednesday. Paul scored 13 points and shot 4- of 16 from the floor.

Chris Paul looks to the basket during the Clippers’ 114-98 loss at Golden State/AP photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez

 

– When your two starting guards shoot a combined 8 of 29, it’s nearly impossible to beat a team like the Warriors (64-7), who have now won 51 consecutive regular-season home games and moved a step closer to having the best regular-season record in history. That came in 1995-96 when the Chicago Bulls went 72-10. Chris Paul shot 4 of 16, J.J. Redick shot 4 of 13. Both were 1 of 6 from 3-point range. Both accepted blame.

DeAndre Jordan had a fine game. The hard-playing Jordan scored 19 points, grabbed 20 rebounds and blocked two shots. His coach, Doc Rivers, said he was the most dominant player on the floor. Jordan also doled out three assists.

– The Clippers’ starting forwards – Paul Pierce and Luc Mbah a Moute – did not provide much to this game. Pierce played just under 17 minutes and scored only three points on 1 of 3 shooting. He had three rebounds. Mbah a Moute played only 8 1/2 minutes, took two shots and scored two points with one rebound.

– Golden State’s Splash Brothers – Steph Curry and Klay Thompson – killed the Clippers. Curry scored 33 points and shot 12 of 23 – 4 of 10 from 3-point range. Thompson had 32 points on 12 of 21 from the field and made 7 of 10 from deep. Curry also had five assists and three steals. When those two are going like that, forget about it.

– Rivers said after the game that he liked the spirit with which his team played. He said that, indeed, his two guards not shooting well was a big reason why the Clippers lost. He also said that there were several defensive mistakes his players made after they got to within seven points in the fourth quarter. The bottom line is, the Clippers went 1-4 on this road trip. That’s not the best scenario with the playoffs only three weeks away. The Clippers now take on Portland on Thursday in the first of a three-game homestand. The Clippers then play Denver on Sunday afternoon and the Boston Celtics on Monday night. If the Clippers (43-27) can get well at home, it could go a long way in erasing the memory of this unsuccessful trip.

Clippers trail Warriors 51-49 at halftime at Oracle Arena in Oakland

Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers

 

Jamal Crawford scored 10 points, Jeff Green had nine and DeAndre Jordan scored eight points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Clippers (43-26) trailed the host Golden State warriors by just 51-49 at halftime at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors have won 50 regular-season home games in a row.

Steph Curry led the Warriors (63-7) with 14 points, but he shot just 2 of 7 from distance. Harrison Barnes scored 11.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 115-112 loss to Golden State

 

2016-02-20 Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson scored a game-high 32 points for the Warriors on Saturday in their 115-112 win over the Clippers/Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA Today

 

Jeff Green did not have a good debut for the Clippers. He scored five points on just 2 of 7 shooting. He had two rebounds, one assist and three turnovers in just under 20 minutes. But once he’s acclimated, expect him to take one of the starting forward spots currently held by Paul Pierce and Luc Mbah a Moute. Once Blake Griffin returns, expect both Pierce and Mbah a Moute to be coming off the bench.

– Speaking of Pierce and Mbah a Moute, they didn’t bring much to this game. Mbah a Moute played just under 13 minutes and had no points on one shot attempt, zero rebounds and one turnover. Pierce scored two points on 1 of 7 shooting in just under 16 minutes. Pierce had no rebounds, two assists, one turnover and four personal fouls.

– Kudos to the reserves for bringing the Clippers back from a 16-point deficit with 2:27 to play. Doc Rivers admitted the team had a timeout it could have used after the steal that led to C.J. Wilcox’s long-distance shot at the buzzer that would have tied the game had it gone in. But he said it all happened so quick and, besides, Rivers correctly noted, that’s not why they lost the game. They were out-played by a great team for most of it. That’s why they lost.

– The biggest Clippers killer in this one was not Steph Curry, but his Splash Brothers compadre Klay Thompson. Thompson scored a game-high 32 points on 11 of 22 shooting – 4 of 9 from distance – made all six of his free throws, pulled down seven rebounds, doleld out three assists and made three steals. The cherry on top – he had zero turnovers in nearly 40 minutes.

Chris Paul left the game with 4:47 to play with a thigh bruise. Afterward, he said, “I’ll be all right. I’ll definitely be ready by Monday.” Paul had 24 points, seven rebounds, six assists, a steal and just one turnover in nearly 35 minutes of this one.