Doc Rivers wishes Clippers' bench could practice 'until midnight'

Doc Rivers wishes Clippers' bench could practice 'until midnight'
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers gestures during a win over the Philadelphia 76ers at Staples Center on Jan 3. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Wednesday marked the first day that Clippers newcomers Austin Rivers and Dahntay Jones practiced with the team.

According to Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, the practice couldn't have come fast enough.


Austin Rivers, who was acquired in a three team trade last week, and Jones, who was signed to a 10-day contract Jan. 13, have both been playing with the team despite not knowing the Clippers' plays.

Doc Rivers said the other day that he was watching his team's game against the Sacramento Kings on film, and saw that when Chris Paul called a play, both players just threw their hands up in the air.

"Fortunately they were smart enough to get out of the way," Rivers said. "The play worked."

Rivers said the team has about 30 sets, of which the younger Rivers and Jones know only two.

"From my standpoint, I can't overdo it," Doc Rivers said. "The checklist that I have for that group, we would be here until midnight."

Doc Rivers said he is going to have the second unit run drills together Wednesday with the hope that they can develop some rhythm, but he knows that strategy is faulty because it doesn't emulate game-play.

"The problem is they never just play with each other," Rivers said. "They play with two of the starters."

The Clippers arguably have one of the top starting lineups in the league in superstars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, league-leading rebounder DeAndre Jordan, sharp shooter J.J. Redick and all-around menace Matt Barnes.

But there's been a huge drop-off with the second unit in both productivity and pace, despite the team having reigning sixth man of the year Jamal Crawford.

The Clippers tried to shake things up by dealing Reggie Bullock to the Phoenix Suns and Chris Douglas-Roberts to the Boston Celtics last week to acquire Austin Rivers. They also waived backup guard Jordan Farmar and signed Jones.

The coach hopes this new second unit will gel better.

"They have a lot of catching up to do," he said.