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Clippers notes: Doc Rivers wants L.A. to pick up the pace against Jazz

Published April 19, 2017 3:21 pm

Clippers notes • Los Angeles wants to prevent Jazz from dictating game's flow with their deliberate style.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Los Angeles • From playoff experience to television advertisements, these Jazz and Clippers teams are stark contrasts.

And that holds true right down to how the two sides want to play once the ball is up in the air.

After watching the Jazz grind out a 97-95 victory in Game 1, Clippers coach Doc Rivers wanted to add a little more glitz and glam to their offense.



"We have to have more possessions," he said, "and we have to play at a better pace."

The Jazz, the NBA's slowest team, averaged just under 94 possessions per game during the regular season. The Clippers clocked in a shade over 98.

In Game 1, Utah dictated the flow, slowing things down and forcing L.A. to play in the half court.

"Teams like them and San Antonio are very tough because you have to play defense the whole 24 seconds," point guard Raymond Felton said. "You have a lot of teams that come down and like to take quick shots. Sometimes that's easy for a defense. Where it gets tough for a defense is when you have to play the whole 24. It's tough. They're running their sets and taking the second or third or sometimes fourth option."

If L.A. is going to emerge victorious, the Clippers know what they have to do.

"You definitely have to be locked in," guard Jamal Crawford said. "Like coming into the last game, we had beaten them 18 out of 21 times. So we know how they play. It's different from most teams because most teams want to get up and down fast, get a shot early in the shot clock. But for them, they play it differently, and that's fine too."

Stockton to Malone

If the Jazz bounce the Clippers from the playoffs, there are plenty who believe it will mark the end of an era for the franchise. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick can all become free agents this summer, which could leave Rivers, the coach and general manager, starting over. His case for keeping them together has roots in Salt Lake City.

"I always use Utah as a great [example]," Rivers told USA Today. "Thank God Karl Malone and [John] Stockton didn't listen to people, you know what I mean? They fell [in the playoffs], and kept trying and kept trying. And finally, late in their careers, they finally broke through to the Finals. They didn't win it [all]. But you know, that's the pursuit. I just think it's so easy to [say], 'Hey, they should break up,' from the outside. And I think that's such an easy opinion."

X-Factor

Even if Joe Johnson's buzzer-beater hadn't fallen, the Clippers would have still been left wondering how to best slow down the 35-year-old veteran.

"I played with Joe for two years [in Atlanta] so knowing Joe, Joe is veteran, he's been around," Crawford said. "Obviously he's been in that position a lot of times. He's had a lot of success with seven, eight, nine game winners. So he's had success in that situation. For us, obviously he's a good player. We're going to have to have our antennas up for him."

afalk@sltrib.com Twitter: @aaronfalk

 

 

 

 

 

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