Clippers coach Doc Rivers might rest players down the stretch

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Paul will be 30 in May and, as the quarterback, his season is as much a grind as anyone’s. Rivers said if a game off is best for Paul, then so be it.“The 82 thing is an individual thing,” Rivers said of Paul’s goal to play all 82 games. “That does nothing for our team. If resting him at some point we feel is the best thing for him, then he’s going to have to take that hit.”Team waiting on CrawfordPaul was asked Monday if the team is starting to find the consistency it would like to have. Paul quickly brought the injured Jamal Crawford into the conversation. Crawford, the Clippers’ sixth man who is averaging 16.4 points, has missed the past 10 games with a calf injury.“We’re still trying to find it,” Paul said. “And like I’ve said, we can play as well as we want to right now. But ’Mal is a huge piece of this team. So I don’t care what anybody says, we’re not going to see who we really are until ’Mal comes back.” Clippers coach Doc Rivers has yet to sit players this season to give them rest, like so many other head coaches around the league have done in what has become a new-wave strategy.Rivers spoke openly about that prior to Sunday’s victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Starting point guard Chris Paul has never played in all 82 games of a season, and he has played in all 71 so far. Starting small forward Matt Barnes is 35. Blake Griffin is five games into a return after being out five weeks with an elbow injury.All could be candidates to take off a game or two in this final stretch of 11 regular-season games, which begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday at New York. And if Rivers believes resting them or anyone else will help the team in the playoffs, “then we’re going to rest.”DeAndre Jordan has played in 311 consecutive regular-season games, the longest active streak in the league, so he likely would never want to sit, and at age 26, the energetic center probably might not need it.center_img Hawes strugglingBackup center Spencer Hawes is having a miserable time. When Blake Griffin went down, Hawes got the start. Since Hawes had started much of his career before coming to the Clippers this season, it seemed that would benefit him.He had his moments, but overall it did not work out that way.Hawes is averaging just 6.1 points and 3.8 rebounds. In 12 games this month, he’s averaging 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting just 30.1 percent from the field, 31.3 from 3-point range.Rivers isn’t sure how to get him going.“I don’t know, I really don’t,” he said. “I’m working on it. I haven’t been successful yet. But I believe that Spencer Hawes will help us, and I keep saying it. But I’ve gotta do better, too. It’s not just all on him.” Road tripAfter Wednesday’s game at New York (14-57), the Clippers (46-25) play Friday at Philadelphia (17-53) and Sunday at Boston (31-39). It would seem like this road trip should be a cake walk. But Paul intimated no one will be thinking like that.“We’re going as far East as we possibly can and it’s gotta be a business trip for us,” said Paul, whose team has won four consecutive games. “It’s about us. It’s about us getting better defensively and continuing to get better offensively and start finding our way before the playoffs.”last_img

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