Doc Rivers says Clippers aren’t close to being as good as they can be
The LA Clippers are off to another 3-0 start to the NBA regular season, but this may be one of their most impressive starts yet. Having only been together and healthy for training camp as well as a game and a half of the regular season, the Clippers are playing like a well-balanced, multi-dimensional team.
Following their first two wins over the rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns, the Clippers had the tough challenge of taking down the defensive-minded Utah Jazz. While it took a team effort on both ends of the floor, LA came away with an impressive win against the pesky Jazz team, 102-84.
Blake Griffin, Patrick Beverley, Austin Rivers, Danilo Gallinari, and DeAndre Jordan all scored in double figures in the win. After the game, head coach Doc Rivers discussed the unpredictability of his team down the stretch in closing out the Jazz.
“It was great; we got stops and we made big buckets,” said Doc Rivers, whose team is holding opponents to a league low 88 points per game. “Blake made a big three, Austin made a big three, Pat made a big three, Austin had a left hand layup, and Gallo had a shot. I loved the way we executed for a team that hasn’t yet been in a tight game. I thought that was probably the most impressive thing. The ball swung, move, move, and we got shots.
“That, for me, was the most impressive thing because we don’t know us yet and for us to do that, that’s nice.”
Up 21 points with 11 minutes remaining in the 4th, the Jazz stormed back to within six points with four and a half minutes left. From that point on, Utah scored just two points the rest of the way while the all five LA starters knocked down a shot in closing the game on a 14-2 run and coming away with the victory. The versatility to be able to go to any guy on the floor and get a basket is something the Clippers will need to continue to be successful.
“I loved the balance we had down the stretch. We weren’t predictable. We came out of the timeout and went to Gallo when we hadn’t gone to Gallo in three times.
“It’s a long season, we’ve just got to keep pecking away. We’re not even close to being as good as I think we can be. I don’t think we’re even close. But our spirit is great, our chemistry is great, so right now that’s holding us over until we get our execution down.”
It hasn’t been an easy start for the Clippers. They’ve had nine new guys on the team, and have been dealing with injuries all preseason long. Two games into the regular season, European guard Milos Teodosic went down with a plantar fascia injury and will be out indefinitely. Fortunately, guys like Griffin, Jordan, and Rivers are used to having to step up due to injuries.
Danilo Gallinari praised the Clippers’ ball movement as he tries to find his way with his new team.
“It’s a very good win against a very good team. We had very good stretches throughout the game,” said Gallinari. That’s something we want to do,” said Gallinari after the 14-point performance. “It’s gotta be our style. You never know who’s going to score the most points every night.”