CLIPPERS FOCUSED ON ‘THEMSELVES’ HEADING INTO FINAL WEEK
PLAYA VISTA – It’s something the Clippers have talked about for months, so in the final days of the regular season it stands to reason that nothing would have changed.
They are only worried about themselves.
With the Clippers’ playoff opponent still potentially one of three teams (Golden State, Dallas or Memphis), they are not looking ahead. They are looking within.
“You kind of have an idea, but it’s still kind of up in the air,” Blake Griffin said before Monday’s practice, the last of the regular season. “Right now we just need to worry about us. That’s kind of been our stance this whole season, to worry about ourselves and make sure we’re right heading into the Playoffs.”
The Clippers, who will begin the Playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, play the Nuggets Tuesday at Staples Center and the Portland Trail Blazers on the road the following the night. However, neither game can impact the Clippers in the standings. Instead, they have an opportunity to ready themselves physically and strategically for whomever they face off with in round one.
“One thing that Doc [Rivers] has stressed all season long is attention to detail,” Chris Paul said. “We listened to all season long and we’ve started collectively as a team to really understand it. Regardless of who we play in the Playoffs, they are going to know all our sets and we’re going to know all their sets and we’ve just got to stop them.”
Health will play a major factor in that as well. Rivers said Monday that Danny Granger, who has been out since Mar. 27 with a strained left hamstring, is making progress, but he still doesn’t know when the newest Clipper reserve will be available to play.
Other than Granger, the Clippers are as healthy at this point in the season as they have been all year. Jamal Crawford practiced Monday, two days after returning from a strained left calf. And Matt Barnes, who battled various injuries for three months to start the season, and Blake Griffin both said they are as close to 100 percent as any player could be 80 games into a regular season.
“I’m healthy as I’ve been at this point in any season,” Griffin said. “We’re going to take these next two games and however many days of rest as a blessing and prepare as much as possible and stay ready.”
Asked if he thought Rivers would elect to rest him or others for the remainder of the regular season, Griffin said he would support the decision either way.
“Whether we play or not is up to him,” Griffin said. “I could play or right now or could sit. It’s whatever he thinks is best.”