CLIPPERS FOCUS ON GAME 7
LOS ANGELES – Everything is the same.
Despite a number of distractions and the pressure of playing a Game 7 at home for the first time in franchise history, the Clippers are intent on approaching it the same way they have any other game this season.
In many ways, they are approaching it with the belief that the season, regardless of what events have transpired over the last week, is not supposed to end this soon. It was just October when they were envisioning the difficulty in the road to the Finals, hearing stories about Paul Pierce diving on the floor to preserve a Game 7 victory for the Boston Celtics in 2008.
They had plans for June. And now, in early May, the season is in the balance.
“It just doesn’t feel like tomorrow is supposed to be exit physicals or anything else that comes with it,” said Jamal Crawford, who will play in the second Game 7 of his career on Saturday. “For us, we have the right mind frame and I think we’ll be ready tonight.”
Part of being ready is adopting the same mentality that’s helped them overcome a number of adverse situations in throughout the season. They want to make the Warriors adjust to their style of play. They want to maintain an even keel.
“I think it comes from Doc [Rivers],” Darren Collison said about the team’s approach. “Doc’s never changed. He’s still trying to teach us, trying to get us better. He’s still trying to coach. There’s nothing new that he’s doing differently because we’re playing a Game 7 or it’s the first regular season game. He’s been the same throughout and I think it rubs off on everybody.”
And that also means not feeling the pressure that comes with knowing a season that included the most wins in franchise history and the Clippers’ highest playoff seed ever could come to end before midnight.
“I don’t feel like there’s any added pressure just because every game in the Playoffs is intense and has a lot of pressure,” J.J. Redick said. “To me, these are fun games. They’re games that you dream about when you’re a kid.”