After last year’s epic collapse, Clippers ready for playoffs

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error This is the fifth consecutive season the Clippers have made the playoffs. Jordan, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have been together in the previous four, J.J. Redick the previous two. To Griffin, that should mean something.“I think … for the most part, this being our fourth year, third year with however many guys you want to say, I think the reassurance that we’ve been here before and just the experience alone has helped us be in the right mindset going into the playoffs,” Griffin said. “Everybody kind of knows what to expect, everybody knows what to do. I think we’re confident.”He paused.“But at the same time, we’ve been in situations in the playoffs where things can go crazy pretty quickly,” Griffin said.Coach Doc Rivers was asked if he is anxious to see if his team learned from the 2015 craziness. It’s doubtful the Clippers will ever forget their humiliating experience in the 2015 playoffs. Up 19 points with 2:34 left in the third quarter of Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals against Houston, the Clippers collapsed and lost by 12 (119-107) at Staples Center.A win, and the Clippers would have been in the conference finals for the first time ever. Instead, they lost Game 7 at Houston. Hearts were broken.Center DeAndre Jordan hasn’t forgotten. When he was asked Saturday what he took from it, his eyes verified that.“We’ve got to finish every game, finish every series and be locked in throughout the entire playoffs,” said Jordan, whose team will open the 2016 postseason by playing host to Portland in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series Sunday night at 7:30 at Staples Center.center_img “I don’t know if I’m anxious,” he said. “I’m anxious to get started, is what I am. I think this group has been waiting for the playoffs since Game 1 (of the regular season) and so now we get to start it tomorrow.” While it may be good for the Clippers to keep that 2015 bummer in the back of their minds, this is not the time to dwell on it too much because they have a new task at hand – getting past Portland for a probable second-round date with the defending champion Golden State Warriors.Rivers said the keys to victory are his team playing at its pace, not letting Portland dominate the boards and playing terrific defense. There was emphasis on the latter.“I think you’re a better team when you have defensive confidence over offensive confidence because I’ve always believed your offense at some point or another will let you down at some point in the game, or even the whole game,” Rivers said. “But if your defense stays strong, you still have a chance to win the game.”The Clippers, who this season have a deeper bench, went 3-1 against the Trail Blazers this season. But Portland twice out-rebounded the Clippers 17-10 on the offensive glass.Even though the Clippers will have to try and put the brakes on Portland guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, the rebounding seems a focal point.“You obviously have to control their two main scorers, their guards,” Jordan said. “The game they beat us, they out-rebounded us. I think they did that in a couple of our wins (only one). We just have to be able to come out and limit those guys to one shot and really control the glass.”Speaking of Lillard and McCollum, they make up one of the league’s top guard tandems. Lillard averaged 25.1 points and 6.8 assists, McCollum averaged 20.7 points.“Those guys, Dame and C.J., had outstanding years and their team goes as they go,” Clippers point guard Chris Paul said.As for Griffin, how strong will he be after playing just five games since Dec. 25? He struggled his first two games back after missing the previous 45, was better the next three.“… For me, it was more getting in my rhythm and feeling better on the court, not feeling so out of sync,” Griffin said. “I felt much, much better and felt even better in practice yesterday. I’m encouraged by all of that.” If there is one early concern, it’s that Clippers shooting guard Redick is nursing a bruised left heel. He’s probable for Sunday. Redick shot 47.5 percent from 3-point range this season. last_img

Author: admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *