The Los Angeles Clippers held their last practice Saturday afternoon before they start their quarterfinals series against the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs Sunday night.
Blake Griffin discussed the Clippers’ experience level going into the postseason. While the Spurs return their top 13 players from last year’s playoff team, including six players 30 or older, the Clippers have eight players from last year’s playoff team. The only player that may be in the rotation that has no playoff experience is Austin Rivers. Other than that, the Clippers are the 4th-oldest team in the league, a fact that isn’t lost on Griffin.
“This is an older team,” Griffin said. “We know what we want, we know what’s important … we know what’s most important to this team. When everybody knows what’s most important, our main goals are much easier to lock in on.”
A player with significant postseason experience is J.J. Redick. Redick has played in the postseason all nine year of his NBA career, and only Matt Barnes (65), Glen Davis (82) and Hedo Turkoglu (98) have appeared in more career playoff games than Redick (61).
“I think playoff experience is big,” Redick said. “I don’t necessarily think it’s underrated or overrated – I just think it’s a factor. It can pop up at times, it can matter. I think for me, the thing I’ve learned the most from the playoffs is to just keep an even keel, whether you’re down in a series or down in a game. You just keep playing and you trust what you do.”
Head coach Doc Rivers also spoke about the level of experience that the Spurs have compared to the Clippers. He acknowledges that what the Spurs have as far as chemistry and continuity is unmatched across the league, even though the Clippers have players who have been through their own postseason trials.
“We can’t match (San Antonio’s) experience. We’re not going to try,” Rivers said. “We have our advantages, they have their advantages. That advantage (San Antonio’s championship experience), we can’t match.”
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