He was in a more complimentary mood after watching the
"Right now the Clippers are the 4th seed," Johnson tweeted, referring to their standing in the Western Conference. "If they can move up, I like their chances of making it to the Western Conference Finals."
The Lakers legend was alluding to the Clippers' avoiding a matchup that would entail them facing the defending NBA champion
Rivers went on to say he wasn't as concerned about where his team finishes as he was about continuing to win games and get all of his players back. Forward Blake Griffin is out until next month because of a broken hand and a four-game suspension for punching a team assistant equipment manager and guard
The Clippers seem almost locked into the No. 4 spot. They entered Saturday 3 1/2 games behind the Thunder and four games ahead of the fifth-place
Johnson hasn't always been so impressed by the Clippers. He poked them a bit last spring after they lost the final three games of conference semifinals against the
"I thought the Spurs taught the Clippers how to win after a tough 7 game series," Johnson tweeted. "I was wrong. The Clippers are still the Clippers."
Nine months later, Doc Rivers still remembered those words.
"The last tweet, I didn't like so much," he said. "Right now, he's on fire."
Feeling a draft
The Clippers completed their trade for
"That one wasn't a tough one because the way we looked at it was it's protected," the coach said, "so if we're bad enough to be a lottery team we get the pick. That wasn't that awful for us."
The pick is lottery-protected in 2019 and 2020, becoming a second-round pick in 2022 if it is not conveyed in either of the first two years.
The Clippers have been as much onlookers as participants in the draft in recent years. They sent their 2015 first-round pick to Boston as compensation for Doc Rivers' leaving the
As expected, the Clippers signed forward Alex Stepheson to a 10-day contract. The former USC and Harvard-Westlake High star played in preseason games with the Memphis Grizzlies but had not appeared in an NBA regular-season game before playing the final 1:39 on Saturday against the Warriors.
Doc Rivers said the Clippers decided to sign Stepheson instead of adding backcourt depth because "we couldn't find a defensive guard that we were kind of looking for."