RIVERS WEIGHS WHETHER OR NOT TO REST PLAYERS BEFORE PLAYOFFS
LOS ANGELES – After five months of a schedule that at times seemed unrelenting the Clippers drew a break in the final two weeks of the regular season.
They have played every three days since Apr. 3. And while the favorable schedule has allowed for increased rest and helped J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford, who will returned from a calf injury Saturday afternoon, ease back into the lineup, it has also created somewhat of a dilemma heading into their remaining three games before the Playoffs.
Asked if he plans on sitting players out at some point before the season ends, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said, “It is a tough one because we’ve had all these days off between games. I don’t understand the rest if you don’t need it. You do have to be very careful because we’ve had all these days off. You don’t want to lose your rhythm. Rest and rhythm they go hand-in-hand.”
The Clippers have two more days off before closing out the season with a home-road back-to-back against the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers. Rivers said if he chooses to rest anyone those would likely be the games to do so.
“Right now we’re pretty good,” Rivers said. “After this we have a back-to-back. I wouldn’t be surprised if guys played limited minutes in one of those two games, or no minutes. But we’ll see.”
Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Crawford are the only players on the roster who have exceeded 2,000 minutes this season. Only Crawford averaged fewer than 35 minutes per game. But with Crawford working his way back from a strained left calf that has cost him 14 games since Feb. 26, it is likely that Rivers would elect to play him even if in a limited capacity.
If Jordan were to sit out any games before the Playoffs, it would snap a league-best streak of 238 consecutive games, including starting Saturday against the Kings. Rivers talked about Jordan’s durability prior to the game.
“He’s one of those guys that does have bangs and bruises and sprains,” Rivers said. “He just keeps playing though them. There are people made that way. It’s their makeup and D.J. is one of those guys. I can say 10 practice this year where [Clippers trainer Jasen Powell] would come up and say, ‘I don’t think D.J.’s going to practice.’ And then he’d go the whole practice and you didn’t know he was injured.
“He had a root canal one morning before practice and practiced the whole practice. It was great. He didn’t talk a lot which was even better. He didn’t complain once at the refs. It was awesome.”