Preseason Game #8 | October 25, 2013
STAPLES Center | Los Angeles, CA
LOS ANGELES – Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said he did not know what he’d learn from his team in the eighth and final dress rehearsal before his team opens the season in four nights.
He learned for nine minutes the team played what he called “unbelievable” defense. He learned that the team can earn open looks for nearly any shooter on offense. And that even in a somewhat meaningless preseason game, his team will compete.
After falling down by as many as 19 points to the Sacramento Kings Friday night at Staples Center, a group of reserves helped the Clippers climb to within single digits before ultimately falling, 110-100.
It was not about winning or losing. But with Jamal Crawford getting teammates involved to the tune of six assists (three in the fourth quarter), Byron Mullens connecting on three 3-pointers and Willie Green scoring a dozen points, the Clippers showed resilience. Even in preseason.
“We can’t get bored with the process,” said Crawford, who had 17 points off the bench. “I don’t know too many people that get too excited with the preseason. You want to leave healthy and you want to leave better with more chemistry. And I think after these days of practice heading into Tuesday and we’ll be in good shape.”
The regular season begins against the Lakers on Oct. 29. In eight preseason games, the Clippers finished with a 5-3 record, including two losses to the Kings (5-2). On Friday, the starters all played fewer than 30 minutes, Chris Paul was again hot from the field, going 7-for-12 with 23 points, and DeAndre Jordan capped off the eight-game slate much like it started.
Jordan had 12 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots in 19 minutes. He was bouncy and energetic and, for the most part, outplayed Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins.
“He’s been sensational,” Rivers said of Jordan. “I thought defensively on Cousins in the first quarter, he was unbelievable. I have no complaints.”
Jordan anchored a defensive effort that held Sacramento below 30 percent shooting for much of the first quarter and allowed the Clippers to pull ahead 30-20.
“The first nine minutes we played terrific defense,” Rivers said. “The first quarter they had 20 points. We played amazing defense. I think they came into the game today with the right intentions, but then we subbed out and things changed. If you go with the key guys who are going to play in the first 12 minutes and hold a team to 20 points, I think you’d take that.”
Forward Matt Barnes returned to the lineup, scoring four points with three assists and three rebounds before fouling out with 7:31 to go in the third quarter. He missed the first seven preseason games with a sore left calf.
“I felt good,” Barnes said. “I felt like I was running good. I used up all of my fouls. Really, I was hurt for five weeks going into camp, practiced two days and was hurt again. It’s been like a good two months since I’ve gotten to play basketball.”
In four nights, Barnes and his teammates will get to play when it counts.
“Coach gave us the day off tomorrow and then we’ve got two days to get ready,” Paul said. “No more preseason. It’s time to roll.”
Jared Dudley (rest) and Darren Collison (bruised left kneecap) did not play… The Clippers first four field goals were dunks, including three in a row to start the game by Jordan… Redick scored 10 points in his second start since returning from a left quad contusion… The Clippers shot worse than 40 percent from the field in all three games at Staples Center this preseason… Cousins had 20 points and Isaiah Thomas led all scorers with 27 points off the Sacramento bench… The Kings went on a 16-1 run in the second quarter… The Clippers finished the preseason 5-3 for the second year in a row… Reggie Bullock made his first shot as a professional a 3-pointer from the wing…
Postgame: Clippers vs Kings 10/26The Clippers finish preseason play Friday night at Staples Center.
Doc Rivers Postgame - 10/25/13Doc Rivers addresses the media following the 110-100 loss to Sacramento.
Jordan's Second AttemptDeAndre Jordan misses his first dunk, but finishes with a monster slam.
Follow JamDeAndre Jordan finishes with a powerful slam.
Doc Rivers Pregame News Conference 10-25-13Watch Doc Rivers address the media before the game vs Sacramento Kings on 10-25-13.
The Doc Rivers EffectClippers players say Doc Rivers has a way with words.
Clippers guard Jamal Crawford on what to take away from this game and entire preseason:
“It’s been tough to kind of gauge because we haven’t really had our whole team, some guys have been in and out. I like some of the things we did and we regressed in some areas, but I think having these two days of practice we’ll be in good shape come Tuesday.”
Clippers guard Chris Paul on what the team needs to do heading into the season opener:
“Get our defense back. Our first couple of preseason games our defense was really good. Now we’ve got to pick that energy back up and get off to a good start. Some teams come out of the gate slow to start the season. We can’t do that. We can’t afford it the way our schedule looks.”
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on Matt Barnes, who played for the first time this preseason:
“I thought Matt looked great. He missed open shots, which happens when you don’t play for seven games and only play one game.”
Clippers forward Matt Barnes when asked if missing time has been frustrating:
“No. I just think that as a team we have to understand the expectations are going to be there but it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take some time. Our second unit hasn’t had one minute together yet.”
Clippers forward Blake Griffin on where feels in the offensive system:
“Pretty comfortable. It’s not something that’s completely out of my element. It’s just a new offense and all that in general and just learning the new plays, new sets, new timing and all that. I think everybody’s still learning a little bit, but I think everybody’s pretty comfortable.”
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• RECENT PRESEASON RECORD: In the last 11 seasons the Clippers have played 78 preseason games, compiling a record of 42-36 (.538). They have opened the last four preseasons on the road. The 2013-14 preseason marks the third time in that span the Clippers have played at least their first three games to open the exhibition schedule on the road. Last season, the team played a “home” game in Las Vegas before traveling to China to face the Miami Heat in Beijing and Shanghai as part of the NBA’s Global Games. Overall, the Clippers have opened the preseason in six of the last nine years with at least three-straight road games.
• PRESEASON ALL-TIME: The Clippers are 11-5 in their last 16 preseason games, but the franchise owns a 112-136 (.452) record since their preseason debut on Sept. 29, 1978 against the Milwaukee Bucks in San Diego.
• BACK HOME: After opening the preseason with four-straight road games, the Clippers returned to STAPLES Center for their preseason home opener, losing 94-84 to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Oct. 18 game was the latest October home game for the Clippers in the preseason since they played the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 20, 2006.
• DAVIES WAIVED: The Clippers waived rookie forward Brandon Davies on Oct. 21. In five preseason games, he averaged 3.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 11.2 minutes.
• CLIPPERS BACK IN BLUE: The Clippers unveiled a new “Back in Blue” short-sleeve alternate uniform on Media Day that will be worn for Sunday home games throughout the 2013-14 season. The alternate uniforms will debut on-court on Oct. 19 during a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Designed by adidas, the uniforms are inspired by heritage of the Clippers organization and the Nautical culture of the southern California area. The “Back in Blue” uniform features light blue color for the first time since the team was based in San Diego. Light blue has a rich history with the organization and has been a part of the team’s identity since they were the Buffalo Braves in the 1970’s. The lightweight woven shorts feature three iconic nautical flags to represent each of the team’s letters – L-A-C- to stand for Los Angeles Clippers.
• TWO WAIVED: On Oct. 8, the Clippers waived training camp invites JaMychal Green and Mustapha Farrakhan, leaving the roster with 16 players remaining.
• TRAINING IN SAN DIEGO: The Clippers held training camp for the 2013-14 season on the campus of University of California, San Diego. The team traveled to UCSD on Sept. 30, following Media Day at the Clippers Training Center, and conducted practices at RIMAC Arena from Oct.1-4, before returning to Los Angeles. They held morning and evening practices on Oct. 1 and 2 before practicing in the morning only the following two days.
• L.A. RIVERS: On June 24, Glenn “Doc” Rivers was named the Clippers’ Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach. The Clippers signed Rivers after the Boston Celtics agreed to release him from his contract in exchange for a first round pick in the 2015 NBA Draft as compensation. Rivers spent nine seasons with the Celtics, compiling a 416-305 (.576) record and guiding the Celtics to the 2007-08 NBA Championship with an NBA-best 66-16 regular season record. Rivers led the Celtics to six Atlantic Division titles, the 2009-10 Eastern Conference Championship and a 59-47 (.556) Playoff record during his tenure. A former Clippers point guard (1991-92), Rivers returns to Los Angeles to be the 16th head coach in Los Angeles Clippers history (1984-Present) and is the fourth Clippers coach to have previously earned the NBA Coach of the Year Award (1999-2000), joining Gene Shue, Bill Fitch and Mike Dunleavy. He is the first coach in Clippers history to have previously played for the team.
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Eric Patten | Follow @EricPatten
LOS ANGELES – The dress rehearsal is almost over.
With the regular season set to tipoff on Oct. 29, the Clippers (5-2) take on the Sacramento Kings (4-2) in the preseason finale for both teams Friday at Staples Center.
The Clippers play Tuesday in the second half of the NBA on TNT’s opening night double-header in a road game against the Lakers. Sacramento opens the season a night later at home versus Denver.
It seems like both head coaches are taking varying approaches to their last exhibition game.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Kings head coach Mike Malone will use Friday’s game to continue figuring out his team’s “best lineup.” On the other hand, Doc Rivers said before Thursday’s practice that he expects to play his starters for about a half.
“I’ll play our guys probably the first half and then that’s it,” Rivers said. “I don’t care what I view it as. It’s what they view it as (the players). And it’s human nature. You’ve worked all year to get to the first game. This game’s not going to be a game that I’m going to do anything. I get that.”
THINGS TO WATCH
1. Playing time. With Rivers suggesting playing time will limited for his starters, expect to see the bench on the court a lot as they continue developing an identity. That will be aided by the likely return of Matt Barnes, who missed seven preseason games with a sore left calf.
“I think the second unit, getting that chemistry going, knowing exactly who we want to play through and I think getting everybody healthy” were two the things star reserve Jamal Crawford said he’ll be looking to see in Friday’s game.
The Kings are sorting through who will start in the other four positions next to DeMarcus Cousins, including three shooting guard candidates who will all likely see the court in L.A. Marcus Thornton is expected to start with rookie Ben McLemore and third-year guard Jimmer Fredette also playing. Fredette did not play in the previous meeting between the Clippers and Kings on Oct. 14.
2. Small ball vs. size. Adding Barnes to the mix will also allow Rivers to get creative with some of his lineups, Rivers wants to see Barnes in “correct” small units with Jared Dudley, Chris Paul and either Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick and Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan. Friday will be the first, and only, preseason opportunity to do so and Rivers sounded happy it was coming against a team that could test the Clippers.
“They’re probably one of the riskiest teams to do it against because they’re so big,” Rivers said, referring to a front line that includes Cousins and Thompson, who are both 6-foot-11.
3. Playoff practices. According to several players, including Griffin and Crawford, the Clippers’ practice sessions have been beneficial throughout the month of October. Rivers terms them “Playoff practices,” something Crawford talked about Thursday.
“Our practices are like real games,” he said. “They’re all very efficient and we get after each other.”
Point guard Darren Collison, who has scored 74 points in the past three games, is questionable with a bruised left kneecap… Cousins scored 31 points in the first meeting, but Griffin and Jordan did not play. Paul also sat out the game. All three will play limited minutes Friday… Thornton (rest) did not play in Wednesday’s matchup between the Kings and Warriors… The Clippers are 8-10 all-time in the preseason versus the Kings, but have won three of the last four…
THEY SAID IT
Rivers on establishing a rotation: “I don’t think the rotation will be established. I think that rotation word is overplayed in my opinion because it will always change. It will change with injuries, how people are playing. I think it takes a while to establish the one that you go to the most. We don’t know what that is yet.”
LAST TIME OUT