After four of his starters played over 40 minutes Wednesday night in their 116-112 loss against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers gave his team the day off Thursday.
Jamal Crawford, starting at shooting guard in place of J.J. Redick (sore right hip) and also playing some backup point guard, played a team-high 46 minutes 38 seconds. Crawford finished with 31 points and six assists against the Heat.
Blake Griffin logged 42:17 while scoring a season-high 43 points and having to defend LeBron James at times.
DeAndre Jordan played 40:32 and Matt Barnes 40:19.
"No practice tomorrow," Rivers said with a smile after Wednesday night's game.
Then Rivers talked about why he played Crawford, Griffin, Jordan and Barnes so many minutes.
"That's trying to win a game," Rivers said. "You can do that every once in a while. You can't do it every night."
Given that the Clippers have played 12 games in 20 days in 10 cities, it made sense for Rivers to cancel practice for his weary team.
Room to improve
Rivers looks at teams such as the Heat and four-time NBA champion San Antonio and constantly reminds his team that it has much room for improvement.
"Teams like the Heat, San Antonio, they have the ultimate trust in each other, in their systems, in their rotations," he said. "They very rarely make a mistake. As a matter of fact, you can tell when they make a mistake because they look at each other like they want to kill each other. And we're still in the middle of that."
Rivers said he liked the way the Clippers responded after falling behind by 19 points against Miami, only to pull to within two points late in the game.
"They're good and we're good," he said. "We'd like to see them again. I think everybody in this room would be happy with that. I would be."
Of course, that would mean the Clippers and Miami would have reached the NBA Finals.
The teams have played their two regular-season games — and Miami won both.
Forward Hedo Turkoglu suffered a bruised right knee against the Heat, Rivers said.