Clippers have little time to recover

By Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com


VIDEO: Previewing the Clippers-Thunder semifinal matchup

LOS ANGELES – About 11:15 Saturday night, Jamal Crawford was sitting in front of his stall in the Clipper locker room deep inside Staples Center, both feet and ankles in a bucket of water and melting ice cubes up to mid-shin and both knees wrapped with ice packs, a common post-game look for a player.

The first-round series against the Warriors was finally over after 15 days, the max seven games and the last one at 2 hours, 50 minutes without overtime. The Donald Sterling firestorm had drained energy from both sides. The underdog opponent that refused to act like it took more out of the Clippers. And then they had to go down to the final minute of the final contest to determine a winner in the first round.

“I’m exhausted,” Crawford conceded. “And everybody is. Not just physically, but mentally.”

The Clippers needed to call a 20-day timeout.

They got a few hours instead.

No sooner had they dispatched the Warriors 126-121 in a gripping Game 7 than players walked from the court to the locker room and received the scouting report on the Thunder and saw the departure time for the flight to Oklahoma City written in black ink on the white dry-erase board on one of the walls. Take the booklets home and start reading, coach Doc Rivers said, later jokingly calling it homework. And be ready to take off at noon Sunday.

The Thunder would have a similar quick turnaround from playing Game 7 on Saturday night, in their case against the Grizzlies, to the Western Conference semifinals opening Monday night, except that Oklahoma City didn’t have travel as an additional layer. Even the relatively easy trip, a little more than 2 ½ hours if all goes according to plan, is a factor at a time in their lives when, actually, there is no such thing as easy for the Clippers.

“It’s tough,” Rivers said.

There’s not much quiet time during the series, either. Unlike the first round that included two instances of two days off between games and the benefit of the breeze of travel of one-hour hops, Thunder-Clippers will be longer flights and games every other day until the two-day break between the potential Games 6 and 7.

“We have the best training staff in the league,” Chris Paul said. “I believe that. I’m not just saying that. Jasen Powell and all the other guys, we have the best training staff in the league. We’ll fly to Oklahoma (on Sunday), maybe Blake will have us at his house or something like that, and we’ll be ready to play on Monday.”

The Clippers have business in the hostile territory of Loud City, the apt nickname for Chesapeake Energy Arena, on Monday and Wednesday. Blake Griffin as an Oklahoma native will have to do for a comfort zone, for now and maybe for a while.

39 Comments

  1. OKc2014 says:

    Yes, I am off the bandwagon until they play team ball

  2. OKc2014 says:

    Doc Rivers knows best and the better coach by far…. Thunder lucky last series

  3. OKc2014 says:

    I hate to say it but “Clippers close it in game 6″

  4. okc2014 says:

    Kevin Durant is the MVP! When is he getting his award? I’m his best fan!!!! Go OKC!!!!!! Yeah!!!

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      And you can tell this person is NOT an OKC fan.

      At least have the guts to identify who you are instead of hiding behind pretentious aliases.

  5. okc2014 says:

    Celentano: It’s starts at zero again. Its round 2 whether you like it or not. Get over it.

  6. Ban Adam Silver For LIfe says:

    Donald Sterling is the RIGHTFUL owner of the L.A. Clippers. Any attempt to ILLEGALY remove from that position will have serious consequences for the league.

    • Donald S. says:

      Your check has been posted.

    • Think about it says:

      Adam Silver is acting within his rights. I didn’t know you had an inside scoop on NBA ownership rules. Hey, you and Sterling can sue him if you want.

  7. ix says:

    Great match up once again in the West!! Awesome for basketball fans everywhere. I think it’s a match up problem for the Clippers.
    WB > injured CP3, Ibaka can guard Blake, DAndre will have physical defenders in Adams and Perkins, Crawford is a wash with Reggie Jackson and Fisher also Lamb, and who guards Durant? Matt Barnes? Granger? OKC has the advantage for sure. Clippers only chance is to let Westbrook go crazy and hoist tons of brick shots and Durant have one of those games where he is un-reliable, then maybe the Clippers will win.

    • Think about it says:

      People were praising Tony Allen for making KD go 12/28. I think people forget that Matt Barnes made him go 8/28 in their last match up. I think these teams are very balanced when you add up offense and defense. If the Clippers can come out focused and guns blazing, they can definitely steal one at Chesapeake. The fans there are good, but not better than Golden State or the Grindhouse.

  8. celentano says:

    First round Okc needed game 7 at last to advance,a game 7 with a crippled Conley and most important without Z-Bo! Z-bo made one of his biggest mistake ever,not so proffesional reaction against his opponenent.Scot Brooks wins this one once again
    with dirty plays against Z-Bo.If Z-Bo was stil therel in the game 7 Okc had no chance against game 7,Okc fall down if they reach the finals!!!!

  9. jrolon says:

    this will be a fun matchup. personally i think the clippers have more depth and that will play a pivotal role. im sure the guru genius Doc Rivers will follow up on what the Grizz did on the Thunder defensively. Chris Paul just needs to run plays and distribute the ball then come up big in crunch time (final minutes of fourth quarter). Griffin needs to facilitate the paint more and hit the boards harder. Ibaka will not make it easy on him. Doc Rivers just needs to have his players ready on rotations and mix and match the zone defenses to keep Durant out of the paint. keep him chucking up jump shots. he might have been fire on game 6/7 but its better to let him stay away from the paint. Westbrook will probably be the biggest nightmare but as long as he commits turnovers and plays out of control for big moments, it will benefit the Clippers. I really think Scott Brooks is overrated as a coach and the Doc Rivers will get his guys to play the proper defense focusing on KD.

  10. MSG to Lobcity says:

    Hum…
    Run out of plays?

    I don’t think you realize how good memphis’ defense was… individual defense or team defense wise, memphis was the best defensive team in round 1.

    The fact that the thunders overcame that, their confidence just grew exponentially… Fisher, Butler and Jackson even Adams were all in the mix now and were comfortably playing out there. They are on the high rise.

    Clippers played on of the worst defensive teams in the playoffs in Golden States, and they barely got knocked off.
    One of Clippers biggest weakness is defense, and it has been the story all year long. Blake Griffin is a very bad defender. Durant, WB, and Jackson are going to have a field day getting any where they want.
    Clippers do not help on penetration very well. and has no one that can stop Durant nor Westbrooke 1 on 1.

    This is an easy call, Thunders in 6.
    Clippers can score, but Oklahoma can defend too. But on the other hand Oklahoma can score but Clips can’t defend, It is all about what advantages the other team has on you. OKC are hungrier than the Clips. Do you see killer instinct in Blake Griffin? Thunders have 2 players that have it.

    Again, Thunders in 6.

    • jrolon says:

      dont compare benches. winner goes to clippers any day. jackson had the game of his life the one night to potentially save the series. caron butler is inconsistent. i think griffin was taken out of his comfort zone defensively with a guy like draymon green hitting threes like the rest of that lineup. its all about adjustments in this series. there will be plenty. clippers also had the 7th best defensive rating in the league. im sure the thunder would have had a hard time slowing down the warriors 3 point shooting. and the clippers scored 100+ in 3 out of the 4 games in the regular season. so dont say one team plays defense and the other doesnt. the thunder faced a no offense team like the grizzlies. the warriors play a different style of basketball.

  11. Sean says:

    idk how some of u guys pick LAC in 7. if they’re gonna win the series, which i think they can, it won’t be in seven. OKC has home court..u know how hard it is to win a game 7 on the road? the home team has the clear advantage. If it goes to seven OKC is winning. nevertheless the series is hard for me to pick anyway…there’s so many questions…but since i think it’;ll be competitive i’ll just say thunder in 7

  12. Lob City says:

    Ok let break it down this time. It doesn’t mean OKC will play the same way they played Memphis against Clippers the stats were pretty closed on paper during season. But this is playoffs. OKC will have to rely on both D and WB. OKC looks the same every year except the additional of Fisher and Butler but minus Kevin Martin and Harden. On the other hand, Clippers still the most offensive through it all. And if they rolled with an exceptional Defense, OKC will really run out of offensive plays. And this is Doc their playing against, in terms of coaching. So watch out. I respect OKC but I just think they will run out eventually. This might be the best series if it goes to 7. Let’s hope it, I’m excited y’all!

  13. DC Carn says:

    The Grizzlies were what the Thunder needed. I believe they are definitely awake now from the post All Star Game decline. Westbrook is completely healthy too. Clippers will be tough but after a tough grind with the Grizzlies, the Thunder are free to RUN!!! The NBA better watch out. Thunder in 5.

  14. herman says:

    OKC is the better team. Why? Chris Paul not at 100%, The order of things is first lose in the playoffs even if you are a frontrunner, has happened, so far and next get to the finals a transition the Clippers have not made yet. This is the Clippers climb, compared to the more advanced climb of OKC. This is only an opinion but when not if OKC. wins use this formula as a 35% point advantage to insure you are on the right team.

  15. OKC says:

    This series is going to be nuts! 6 or 7 games probably.

  16. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Thunder will be waiting on them. They’re going to continue this momentum. Russell might get another triple-double; he is like a modern-day Oscar Robertson. KD (modern-day Michael Jordan) might drop 50 points. This is going to be so fun; everyone is going to get a chance to play. Clippers, get ready to get blown out and get ready to get swept.

  17. D-rose says:

    In the season matchup they each won 2 games and the almost had the same winning record. This will be a very exciting series to watch. Well, almost every series is exciting to wacth this year. I think clippers will win in 6 or 7

  18. jake s. says:

    Clippers can win but they have to strike first… and i don’t think they will. Thunder in 7.

  19. Pepe says:

    This will be a very competitive series!!! Im going with LAC in 7.

  20. justsayin says:

    This is up in the air – Clips are deeper but OKC has the best player in the league. And more deep playoff exp. If LA is frazzled from the media ordeal/gsw series – if Ibaka controls Griffin and they fail to slow Durant – it’s over.

    But if LAC grew from their experience and keep sharing the rock and protecting the rim they have a chance. But really Griffin – Ibaka matchup is the biggest key in series. Both teams can shoot but they’ve got to get those points in the paint to succeed.

  21. Kal says:

    Clippers or Thunder = West champs this year. Not sure who is more ready… Thunder, I thought, but they looked shaky in round 1. Clippers lookin good plus the NBA wiill probably help em out here and there.

    Anyway, all good Duncans must topple.

    Out East, Heat & Pacers have their May-June tango tradition…

  22. Lob City says:

    Clippers take it all. OKC will run out of play. All they can do is run between west and Durant the rest of the guys will be on their own role. Clippers win series on game 5 or 6

  23. squala96 says:

    The Clippers’ only real chance lies on a healthy Chris Paul. Without him, it’s all over.

  24. Snickers says:

    Clippers had an easy match up with the Warriors but they almost lost it, so do Thunders. I’ll go with OKC, but OKC needs to control Westbrook. It would be better if Westbrook goes off the bench.

    • justsayin says:

      There were no easy matchups in the 1st round. (west) Watchoo smoking?

      And the Clips had a HECK of an excuse to be distracted – what with their suddenly “Sterling” reputation.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      No. Westbrook is arguably the second-best NBA player. He has to start and try get more triple-doubles.

      Thunder’s opponent was way tougher, the gritty Grizzlies.

      Now, nothing will stop the Thunder from winning it all.

      Anyone who thinks the Thunder have big weaknesses, well … maybe they don’t after all. They blew out Memphis rather easily in Games 6 and 7. If OKC plays like that, no one can beat them. No one.

    • the13thjoker says:

      Thank the heavens you’re not an NBA coach.

  25. iamironman says:

    This a very interesting series because they match up very well. If Doc can have the Clippers play defense like the Grizz, then it’s over for OKC because the Clippers’ front court is much more athletic than the Grizz’s. It’s time for Durant to really step it up. But I’m picking LAC in 6

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      That’s a big “if.” You realize if the Clippers can’t stop the Warriors (who scored over 120 points in Game 7), they have no chance against the Thunder, right?

  26. Who cares says:

    Thunder will need a lot of help to beat the clippers!? What league have you been watching this year? The clippers are the clear underdog’s in this series. Yes its gonna be a good one. Yes the clippers are awesome but no they will not and cannot beat the thunder! Who I repeat who is guarding Westbrook? Who is guarding KD? Thunder in 6 or less

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Thunder in 5 or less.

      With Chris Paul hurt, this is going to be a cakewalk. EASY SERIES WIN for the 2014 World Champions, the OKC Thunder!

      • jrolon says:

        i think you’re being a little bias in the fact that you’re a fan of the Thunder. needless to say Doc Rivers is a formidable coach who praises defense over offense. im sure hes up to the task at coaching his guys defensively to be ready for KD. and even if the Thunder advance, you’ll still face the depth and shooting of the Spurs. (I doubt the Blazers come out of that series as winners). and lastly we all know the Heat are gonna be in the finals. Lebron who is 10x stronger, athletic, and faster then any player in the league combined, will be waiting. i think the Heat threepeat as much as i hate to admit it.

  27. OKc2014 says:

    Thunder will need a lot help to beat Clippers ! Bad trades and personnel de\\choices catch up with them. Clippers in 6 games

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      WRONG! Signing Caron Butler was a genius decision. He is healthy and playing like an All Star again. Clippers are going to wish they kept him. Ha! He is a good scorer and a good defender.