The Los Angeles Clippers held practice Tuesday after taking Monday off following a 107-92 Game 1 win against the San Antonio Spurs.
Jamal Crawford had a big impact Sunday night at Staples Center, leading all bench scorers with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. Crawford said that winning the first game sets a good tone for the series, but that now isn’t a time to get complacent, especially considering the fact that the Clippers left some plays on the floor.
“It’s good and bad,” Crawford said of the 15-point margin of victory. “It’s obviously a good thing because we still won by 15. It’s obviously bad because you don’t want to think that there’s false hope, that if you keep making the same mistakes you’ll keep winning.”
Crawford also offered his thoughts on the Sixth Man of the Year award. Toronto Raptors guard Lou Williams won the award this year after leading the NBA with 1,242 total points off the bench. Boston guard Isaiah Thomas finished second in voting after averaging an NBA-high 16.3 points per game off the bench, while two-time winner Crawford finished third.
“I think (Williams winning) is well-deserved,” Crawford said. “I really do. Honestly, I could have made an argument for all three people. But he did play a lot of games. And Toronto, that’s the most wins they’ve had. I thought Isaiah Thomas had an argument, but it’s well deserved.”
Defensive Player of the Year candidate DeAndre Jordan had a game-high 14 rebounds and four blocked shots against the Spurs in Game 1. But like Crawford, Jordan was quick to suggest that there is room for improvement.
“Game 2 is going to be totally different,” Jordan said. “I think it’s important for us to protect home court – we didn’t do a good job of that last playoffs that we had. We lost Game 6 on our home court (against Oklahoma City in 2014).”
Jordan said that he talked to a former Defensive Player of the Year before he made it to the playoffs – but not about defense. Free throws were a past topic of conversation between Jordan and three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard.
“I would talk to Dwight about it a lot,” Jordan said. “You know, it frustrates guys, for sure. But, I mean, once you go up there maybe about three or four times and you get somewhat of a rhythm, you start to knock them down. But I don’t think guys really want to talk about it. It’s going to happen, so you have to be ready for it.”
Doc Rivers’ team is off for the sixth day in the last seven, with the only game being Sunday night’s win. Going into Game 2, Rivers said he isn’t looking to overdo it on the adjustments.
“I think the danger is anticipating adjustments,” Rivers said. “You make a lot of mistakes … you think about them, you anticipate them, I guess. But what you don’t do is make an adjustment early; sometimes teams don’t adjust to certain things, and you’re thinking outside your box. Next thing you know, you’ve changed something that they didn’t change, and you’re thinking, ‘Why did I change that?’ A lot of times it’s a wait and see thing, but you have to be prepared for it.”
Rivers, the 2000 NBA Coach of the Year, received two 3rd place Coach of the Year award votes this year. Rivers had high praise for this year’s winner, Atlanta Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer, who led the Hawks to a franchise-record 60 wins in his second season with the team. Budenholzer was an assistant coach on Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio since 1996, and when Rivers signed with the Spurs in 1994, Budenholzer was a video coordinator for the Spurs.
“They had distractions that people don’t understand,” Rivers said of the Hawks, alluding to the offseason scandals involving owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry. “The one thing I will say … Danny Ferry should get a lot of credit for this. I think he put this team together. Him and Mike really worked together. They were in San Antonio together. And that team is not a mistake. It really isn’t. I think they both deserve a lot of credit.”