REBOUNDING REMAINS KEY FOR CLIPPERS
PLAYA VISTA – Doc Rivers knew it coming into the Clippers’ first-round playoff series with the Golden State Warriors. Several players talked about it. All of the numbers bore it out: whomever controlled the glass was likely going to control the series.
Heading into Game 2, with a chance to even their best-of-seven series at one win apiece, the Clippers have said there are numerous areas on the floor that must be rectified. They need to make foul shots, protect the ball, play “their” game, tighten their defensive rotations, and avoid costly fouls.
But among all of it, rebounding better has been talked about as much as anything.
“We have to be a great rebounding team,” Rivers said last week. “In the two games that we won we outrebounded them and the two we lost, they outrebounded us. So, I think this series in that way is really close.”
DeAndre Jordan, who led the NBA in rebounds per game in regular season, had 14 of the Clippers’ 42 in Game 1. But the Warriors earned a six-rebound advantage. They had 25 second-chance points. And they did it with center Andrew Bogut who remains sidelined with a fractured rib.
Some of Golden State’s ability to win the rebounding edge was by virtue of the Clippers’ missing 49 shots and a dozen free throws and Blake Griffin, the Clippers’ second-leading rebounder in the regular season, spending all but 19 minutes of the game on the bench in foul trouble.
Five players, led by David Lee’s 13, had five boards or more on Saturday for the Warriors. Outside of Jordan’s 14, the Clippers got six from Glen Davis and seven from Chris Paul.
According to Matt Barnes, gang rebounding is one way to fix it.
“You have to stay locked in,” he said at shootaround Monday. “You’re so locked in on guarding your guy you figure when the ball goes up the bigs are going to get it. But the possessions not over until you get the rebound.”
The rebounding advantage has been a decisive factor since the Clippers and Warriors met Nov. 3, 2012.
In nine games since the start of 2012-13, the Clippers are 3-6, including their Game 1 loss. In the three victories, they had more rebounds than the Warriors. In their six losses they did not.
“I think they shoot so many threes, you don’t get those typical bounces that come back in the paint,” Barnes said. “The bounces are all over the place. I think as guards we have to do a better job of getting back in and helping Blake and D.J. and getting those loose 50-50 balls they got in the first game.”