LA Clippers hoping for playoff contributions from non-stars

first_imgAs important as the Clippers’ four leading stars are, Coach Doc Rivers does not believe the team’s playoff hopes hinge as much on them as they do on everyone else.“We don’t need much more from them, honestly,” Rivers said. “We’ve just got to make sure everybody else pitches in at the right time in their right spots.”Three games remain in the regular season, starting Saturday in San Antonio.Blake Griffin is on a tear, so is Chris Paul. J.J. Redick has been locked in from 3-point range and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 20 rebounds for the 10th time this season in Wednesday’s win against Dallas. If those performances carry over to the playoffs, the Clippers will be in good shape. But they’ll need more in the postseason, which begins next week. The Clippers bench scored just 18 points Wednesday.“I’m not that concerned about it,” Rivers said. “I really am not. Their rotations have changed, we’re playing guys shorter minutes, they’ve got to get used to it, they will, but for me it’s not that big of a concern.”Complicating matters is the absence of guard Austin Rivers, whose strained left hamstring has proven more problematic than originally anticipated. The prognosis for the top reserve, who is averaging a career-high 12 points, has been vague and not encouraging.“He’s out for the regular season,” Doc Rivers said, “We can say that for sure. We know that, other than that we’re just going to have to wait and see.”That puts a great responsibility on Jamal Crawford, a three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award winner, and the rest of the bench. “You don’t win in the playoffs unless your star players play like stars,” Rivers said, “but you also don’t win unless the role players play their roles so you need both.”Spurred to victoryWhen the Clippers looked at the schedule a month ago, Saturday at San Antonio might have seemed a likely victory. Yes, the Spurs (60-18) are the second-best team in the crowded Western Conference, but with only a few games remaining and playoff position assured, it might have seemed the ideal time for player rest advocate Gregg Popovich to leave his best players on the bench.That was before Adam Silver dropped the hammer on the practice – particularly on nationally televised games. Saturday’s matchup will be broadcast by KABC/7.“I don’t think they’ll be resting anybody,” Doc Rivers said, “but even if they do, that’s not our problem. I said this like eight games ago, we’re no longer playing the teams, we’re playing ourselves. We’re working on our stuff. We could (not) care less who plays, who doesn’t play. We’re just playing basketball right now and I think it’s a good place for us to be.”The Clippers are striving to overtake Utah for the fourth seed in the Western Conference, which would mean home-court advantage in a first-round series against the Jazz.That makes this game, like all that remain for L.A., of utmost importance.“We always say it,” Paul said, “they (the Spurs) are not a team that’s going to beat themselves. You have to go out and beat them. Especially when you’re playing there. It will be a big game for us.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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