The Los Angeles Clippers (40-22) held practice before making the trip upstate for Sunday’s nationally televised game in Golden State. The Clippers are expected to be without sixth man Jamal Crawford against the Pacific Division leading Warriors (48-12), but the team announced the signing of fellow Seattle native Nate Robinson on Saturday.
Robinson, 30, said that he spent his time away between Seattle and Los Angeles, trying to stay in shape and focusing on being a dad. Though Robinson is on a 10-day contract, he feels good about what he’ll be able to contribute to the team, having played for head coach Doc Rivers in Boston.
“Being here and being under Doc’s system again is definitely going to be comfortable for me,” said Robinson, who is now a full year removed from surgery to repair a torn left ACL suffered in January 2014 while a member of the Denver Nuggets. “I know all the plays, so it won’t be hard to be able to just come in and just help the team and run the team how he wants.”
Robinson also mentioned his relationship with Crawford, as they both went to high school at Rainier Beach.
“I played with Jamal since high school – I was a freshman, he was a senior,” said Robinson. “(We) played on the Knicks together, so this will be our third go-around. It’s pretty cool, Jamal’s like my big brother. He’s a real Seattle guy. Our high school team is playing for their fourth state championship in a row tonight, so hopefully they can win it.”
Robinson said he’s available to play at Golden State on Sunday, and Rivers referred to Robinson’s experience and Crawford’s calf injury as a factor towards signing him.
“We just needed another guy,” Rivers said. “To me, he has the most experience. We’d rather have a three or someone like that, probably. But, when I looked at it, I don’t really care about positions sometimes. I’d rather get a guy that’s been in the league, can score, and has experience.”
While Rivers felt that the team had to add Robinson, he tapped the breaks on having Robinson play a contributing role at Golden State.
“He hasn’t played,” Rivers said. “He may play or he may not play. If we throw him in, we’re hoping he contributes.”
Rivers wouldn’t put a timetable on Crawford’s calf injury, only saying he’s not expected to miss a month. Blake Griffin was at practice but is not expected to play on Sunday, while Matt Barnes is listed as probable after missing practice Friday.
The Clippers are coming off a 98-93 overtime home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, but Rivers referred to the team defense against All-Star point guard Damian Lillard (5 points, 1/13 field goals, 4 assists, 5 turnovers) as a silver lining. Repeating that level of defense against the All-Star Splash Brothers of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the road will be even more surprising.
“They’re great,” Rivers said about the Warriors, who are an NBA-best 26-2. “They’re a great offensive team and a great defensive team.”