GRIFFIN AND REDICK DO NOT TRAVEL TO PORTLAND
LOS ANGELES – Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick will get an extra day of rest heading into the Playoffs.
As the Clippers (57-24) travel to Portland for their regular-season finale Wednesday, Griffin and Redick, two-fifths of the Clippers’ starting lineup will remain in Los Angeles.
“I think they’re beat up and they need to rest,” Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said after the Clippers’ 117-105 win over the Nuggets Tuesday. “There’s a chance that we play [Game 1] Saturday and if that’s true then I think they need that extra day. They don’t need to travel. J.J. with his back and Blake with his back, I don’t think neither one of them need to get on a plane and go back-to-back.”
Redick returned on Apr. 3 from a bulging disc in his lower back that cost him 25 consecutive games. He’s played in every successive game since, including scoring 18 points in 17 minutes on Tuesday. But Redick said the intention when he returned was to avoid playing in the only back-to-back that remained on the schedule.
“I knew ahead of time, whenever that was, two weeks ago,” Redick said. “Doc and I talked about, that I wasn’t going to play [Wednesday].”
Not playing Wednesday was also determined ahead of time for Griffin, who did not play Mar. 31 due back spasms. The MVP candidate has started 80 of the Clippers’ 81 games, averaging 24.1 points per game (sixth in the NBA).
“I want Blake to stay home and get some rest,” Rivers said. “He’s so banged up.”
Even if Rivers wanted Griffin to play, there was a chance he would have not have been available due to league suspension. Griffin was assessed his 16th technical foul of the season, which carries an automatic one-game suspension, in the second quarter on Tuesday after he made contact with Timofey Mozgov’s head on a blocked shot attempt. Mozgov was called for an offensive foul and the play continued after the whistle.
However, Griffin said he thought the technical foul may be rescinded after league review. He has already had three technicals rescinded this season.
“Yeah, I honestly do [think the technical foul will be rescinded],” Griffin said. “It was one of those ones…kind of a continuation. I mean, I don’t know what he calls at the time. If I make a play on the ball and I hit the ball first, and he gives me a tech for that, I’m not sure if that’s going to stand up but we’ll see. Ultimately it’s their decision. It’s a good thing I wasn’t playing anyway.”