Notebook: Bench Inconsistency, Player Activism, More

Rowan Kavner
INDIANAPOLIS – C.J. Miles came off the bench for the Pacers and scored more points than the entire Clippers’ bench.

The Clippers’ reserves are still searching for consistency, which was evident Wednesday night in Indianapolis, when the Pacers’ bench outscored the Clippers’ counterparts, 66-30. The Clippers pulled out the victory, but they’re still trying to figure out why the bench picks up the slack for the starters some nights and falls flat other times.

“We’re just inconsistent,” said head coach Doc Rivers. “One night, they play great. If you look at some of our wins, they’ve come in and extended the lead. Honestly, I don’t know the answer, and that’s my job, and I told our coaches that. I walked in, I was upset, because I feel like it’s got to be something I’m doing. So I’ve got to figure it out.”

Three bench players for the Pacers finished in double figures, while Jamal Crawford was the only one to do so for the Clippers. Crawford dropped in a team-high 18 points, but the rest of the Clippers’ bench combined for 12 points.

Crawford echoed Rivers’ uncertainty about the reasons for the inconsistency from the bench.

“I don’t know, honestly,” Crawford said. “I wish I did. It just seems like we’ll have good moments. We have really good moments, we have moments we let the lead go away. Whatever it is, we need to figure it out.”

Crawford and Rivers both said it bothers them and it’s frustrating not knowing the answer. He said the bench needs to be better on both ends.

“The one thing is when (DeAndre Jordan)’s not on the floor with that unit, they don’t have a rim protector,” Rivers said. “That means the guards have to do a better job of keeping the ball in front of them…But I’ve got to figure it out, because they’re too good not to play well.”

That’s not to say the Clippers’ bench hasn’t had its moments. Crawford referenced the Pistons game, during which Crawford led the team with 25 points and the Clippers’ bench outscored the Pistons’ bench, 45-22. He also referenced the matchup in Orlando, when the Clippers’ bench outscored the starters by dropping in 60 points.

“But it’s just not consistent enough right now,” Crawford said. “I’m not worried about it, but I’d like to get it corrected. We’re still in the first quarter of the season, so I’d like to get it corrected before we get halfway.”

Looking Forward

Crawford put his first career ejection in the past Wednesday night, scoring a team-high 18 points in his first game back.

“I just wanted to play,” Crawford said. “Last game, I only played 19 minutes. Days like that, I’ll go workout, go to the gym, play some 1-on-1, whatever. I just want to play. It was fun to play tonight.”

Crawford said he never got a good explanation for the ejection, which occurred despite Crawford not having another previous technical in the game, nor has he reached out much to figure out an explanation.

He said he’s moved on, but the well-mannered guard wasn’t accustomed to being in that type of scenario and described the whole experience as “unreal.”

“I’d never even fouled out of a game,” said Crawford, who watched from the floor as the officials gathered following the ejection. “I didn’t know the process or if they were going to overturn since I only had one technical.”

Farmar Healthy

Jordan Farmar returned after missing Monday’s game with a back injury.

Farmar played 14 minutes and scored five points on 2-of-5 shooting while adding a steal. Jared Cunningham, who backed up Chris Paul in Farmar’s absence earlier this week, didn’t play Wednesday.

Player Activism

Rivers provided his commentary on the “I Can’t Breathe” shirts some athletes have decided to wear in support of New York City native Eric Garner and the protest of the decision not to indict the officer who killed him.

“I like it, as long as it’s not anything to improve themselves, is what I always say,” Rivers said. “If the statement is for the right reason, I’m always for it. I grew up in the generation with Arthur Ashe and Muhammad Ali, and they used sports as a voice as well. So I have no problem with it at all.”

The Georgetown Hoyas donned the shirt Wednesday. Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and most of his Lakers teammates are among those in the NBA to have worn them pregame as well.

“Statements about the actual cause and not about them, that’s what I always tell anybody,” Rivers said. “Just make sure it’s for the right reasons, and I think in this case it is.”

Photos: Clippers vs. Pacers | 12/10/14 →