Several Clippers can now say they’ve attended a banner ceremony inside Staples Center.
Next time, they would prefer the banner belonged to them.
Forward-center Spencer Hawes was among a group of players who crowded into a suite inside their home arena Wednesday to watch the Kings raise their NHL championship banner toward the rafters.
Hawes also made sure to get a picture of himself with the Stanley Cup. Championship celebrations are becoming something of a routine for Hawes, who also attended the recent banner ceremony of his hometown Seattle Seahawks.
“That’s the ultimate goal as an athlete,” Hawes said Friday, “and when you’re that close to it, it makes you want it even more.”
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers arranged for the suite to help his players visualize winning a title. Last year, he distributed maps of downtown L.A. and told his players to pick a championship parade route.
Rivers said his belief in visualization techniques was sparked by Coach Pat Riley.
“He really made you visualize it,” Rivers said. “I mean, it had an impact on you. You would run through a wall. [But] it’s got to be a true visualization. I can’t have them visualizing that tomorrow we’re going to build a rocket ship and go to the moon. They wouldn’t believe that. It has to be believable.”
In the running
The Clippers didn’t practice Thursday, but it was hardly an off day. Rivers asked his players to come in for a conditioning session after a lackluster performance in their exhibition opener against Golden State.
“I think it kind of hearkened back to the college days a little bit,” Hawes said of all the running.
Rivers said he did not like the casual approach the Clippers brought into the game against the Warriors. His team largely slogged through the exhibition game, committing 37 fouls and sending Golden State to the free throw line 47 times.
That the star players logged limited minutes did not serve as an excuse, Rivers said.
“If you’re going to play 15 minutes, play them the way you’re going to play in the [regular-season] game just to get good habits,” Rivers said. “That’s what we have to do.”
Rivers said he would stress that his players do everything with more intensity in practice.
Slow down, big fella
Hawes could be a valuable member of the Clippers’ fastbreak … by lagging behind his teammates.
It’s true. Rivers said Hawes’ ability to shoot three-pointers could cause problems for opposing centers who typically hover around the basket in transition defense.
“What happens is, you score once [on a three-pointer] and that big stops running and he’s worried about Spencer and now we can get other stuff,” Rivers said. “So [Hawes’] value is very, very big in that aspect. It actually helps our break.”