Fatigue a concern for Clippers' starters

Fatigue a concern for Clippers' starters
Chris Paul had 19 points with seven assists and five steals in the Clippers' 107-104 loss Tuesday to the Atlanta Hawks. (Erik S. Lesser / EPA)

In his last five games, Clippers point guard Chris Paul hasn't played less than 34 minutes. In his last five games, power forward Blake Griffin hasn't played less than 34 minutes. In his last five games, center DeAndre Jordan hasn't played less than 34 minutes.

And because they have played such a heavy amount of minutes over a stretch of five games in seven days, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers had become concerned.

Jordan played a game-high 38 minutes, 30 seconds against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night. Paul played 38:58 and Griffin 36:24.

"I was disappointed that I had to put in CP and Blake too early [in the fourth quarter]," Rivers said. "To put them in at the 9:30 mark was too much. And I was worried that if it was a close game down the stretch, that's where fatigue would happen."


Rivers has talked about resting his starters, but Paul, who is averaging 34:50 per game, was opposed to that idea.

"I wasn't sitting," Paul said.

Jordan averages 34:03 per game and Griffin a team-high 35:05.

"I'm just tired," Griffin said. "You've just got to take care of your body and find the energy. I kind of keep saying it, but every team goes through bad stretches, stretches where they're traveling a lot and going all over the place."

Griffin hurt his back when he was shoved mid-air while trying to get a rebound in the fourth quarter.

"At the time, I didn't think it was much," he said. "But now I feel it a little bit. But I should be fine."

Still interested

The Clippers are still interested in trying to acquire free-agent forward Josh Smith, but so are a lot of other NBA teams.

Smith was waived by the Detroit Pistons on Monday, still owed $26 million over the next two seasons.

He can clear waivers Wednesday at 2 p.m. PST, allowing him to choose the team of his liking.

Rivers was asked Tuesday whether the Clippers have made any inroads on Smith.

"No," Rivers said. "But neither has anyone else."

The Houston Rockets, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings reportedly are the other teams interested in the 6-9 Smith, who averaged 13.1 points and 7.2 rebounds with Detroit.

Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner