AFTER HOME LOSS CLIPPERS WELL PREPARED FOR ADVERSITY
PLAYA VISTA – A couple of weeks before the Playoffs started Doc Rivers told his team that they would have to be prepared to lose a game at home.
He just did not expect it to be so soon.
“We didn’t think it would be Game 1,” Jamal Crawford said. “But, obviously, things happen and you have to deal with them. We’re prepared and we’ll be able to handle it.
“If you go back and look at teams that have long runs, deep runs, they’ve had adversity at some point,” Crawford continued. “You have to go through things and it’s how you bounce back that really shows who you are.”
The Clippers, who lost Game 1 to the Golden State Warriors, 109-105, Saturday, have dealt with adversity all season. They overcame lengthy injuries to Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Matt Barnes and Crawford. They came back to win 12 games after falling behind by 10 points or more, including a 17-point rally against Dallas in the final five minutes on Jan. 15. They came out of one of the most grueling schedules in the NBA, including two seven-game road trips, with the league’s third best record.
An unforeseen loss in the Playoffs, even at home, is not likely to fluster them.
“I think we’ll be fine,” Rivers said Sunday before the Clippers practiced. “I think we all know that we didn’t play that well. Golden State played well, but I think they can play better, too. We have to be prepared for them to play a lot better and us still win the game.”
Resiliency is something that has characterized Rivers’ past teams as well. His Celtics team that won the 2008 title won two Game 7s en route to the championship and a year later without Kevin Garnett, who was out with a knee injury, they lost Game 1 at home in round one to Chicago but came back to win the series in seven games.
“You have to be prepared for that,” Rivers said. “Obviously, you don’t want to drop the first game, but we did. And so now we have to do something about it.”
That starts on the defensive, according to Blake Griffin, who played 19 minutes after being saddled with foul trouble throughout Game 1.
Griffin said the primary focus for the Clippers, outside of cleaning up some of their unforced errors, is fine-tuning their defensive rotations. The Warriors scored 30 of their 48 paint points in the second half of Game 1 when the Clippers were scrambling to recover defensively.
NBA ANNOUNCES MISSED FOUL CALL
The NBA announced Sunday morning that Paul was fouled by Draymond Green on a play with 18.9 seconds to go and the Warriors winning 107-105 in Game 1. Paul was bumped by Green and lost the ball out of bounds. Replay review confirmed the ball went off of Paul’s finger tips and it was correctly awarded to Golden State.
In retrospect, the league said there should have been a foul called prior to Paul’s turnover, which would have awarded him two free throws and a chance to tie the score. Under current NBA rules, the foul was not reviewable by replay.
“It doesn’t change it,” Rivers said. “It doesn’t make me feel any better or anything like that. But I do think it’s a good thing to do. I think [the league takes] ownership. That was a big call. Chris Paul goes to the line now with two free throws to tie the game. Having said that, there’s nothing we can do about it. A mistake happened on their end. We made our mistakes, so we have to take ownership of that.”
Paul did not use the missed call as an excuse when asked about it Sunday before practice.
“We still had opportunities to win,” Paul said. “When the ball went out of bounds I knew it was off of me, but I felt like it was a foul.”