The new wave of analytics determining when NBA players rest rather than play is why Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin stayed home in Los Angeles instead of joining their teammates here for Thursday night’s game against the Nuggets.
Neither player fought the decision, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said. And Rivers didn’t have a vote.
He left the matter up to Mark Simpson, the Clippers’ director of performance; Jasen Powell, the team’s director of medical services and head athletic trainer; and the rest of the basketball support staff.
“I never expand much on it because I don’t have a lot to do with it, to be honest,” Rivers said. “They come to me, our guys. They throw out names and we go over them and those were the two names. DJ was definitely and then Blake was the secondary one.”
The Clippers have just two more back-to-back sets this season — against New York at and the Lakers in Los Angeles, and Washington (at Staples Center) and Phoenix (on the road). The Clippers also travel to Dallas next week.
Rivers said they will “probably sit two guys” in the coming days.
Griffin leads the Clippers in scoring (21.3) and is second in rebounding (8.5), and Jordan leads in rebounding (13.5) and is fourth in scoring (12.3).
Jordan had played in the first 68 games.
“I thought Blake and DJ handled it very well,” Rivers said. “Especially with DJ because of that, I didn’t pose it as a question. So I thought that was a better way of doing that.”
Jordan played in the NBA All-Star game on a Sunday in New Orleans, participated in the dunk contest the previous day and took part in the activities the league lines up for players over the entire weekend.
Rivers said Jordan had other personal issues to deal with that forced him to fly home to Houston and back to L.A., adding to his center’s weariness.
“He’s had no rest all year,” Rivers said. “He also went to the All-Star whole weekend and I got a feeling DJ enjoyed that entire weekend, if I know my DJ. He also had to fly back and forth, unbeknownst to you guys [in the media]. … He had some family issues back in Houston, so he’s done more travel than us these last two weeks, which is almost impossible. So he’s the one, he definitely needed the day off.”