They are the Clippers’ Big Three in playoff experience.
Glen Davis, J.J. Redick and Hedo Turkoglu have a postseason pedigree none of their teammates can match, which comes in handy when doubts arise in the midst of a series involving less-experienced players.
That’s when Davis can talk about what it took to win a championship in 2008 and make it back to the Finals two years later with the Boston Celtics. Or Redick and Turkoglu can reference experiences that helped them reach the Finals in 2009 with the Orlando Magic.
“I just try to pick and choose when I feel like the moment’s right to lead from my experiences,” Davis said during the Clippers’ shoot-around Thursday before Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets.
“Moments where you can feel discombobulated in ways and you need a little bit of energy to get back, you remember those moments when you used to play, especially in the Finals and big games. You remember those times, so when I feel it, I express it.”
The same goes for Redick, one of the most articulate speakers on the team.
“I’ve brought up some things in the past two years as we’ve kind of gone through our playoff runs,” Redick said.
One experience Redick said he wanted to go through the inverse of was facing a 3-1 series deficit with Orlando in 2011 during a playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks. The Magic blew out the Hawks in Game 5 at home before falling on the road in Game 6 to lose the series.
“I’m hoping we’re Atlanta,” Redick said, “and they’re Orlando.”
It could be a costly defeat. Literally.
If the Clippers drop Game 7 against Houston on Sunday and fail to advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history, they will forfeit a potential players’ playoff pool allocation of $410,827.
The Clippers already have pocketed $211,990 for finishing as the third-seeded team in their conference, $208,940 for making the playoffs and an additional $248,611 for advancing to the second round.
The 15 players on the roster are allowed to divvy up the playoff pot as they wish, distributing part of the money to trainers, video coordinators and other team employees.
The total NBA playoff pool of $14 million has doubled since 1996, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers’ final season as a player. Should the Clippers advance to the Finals, they would collect another $1,642,863 for finishing as runner-up or $2,479,327 for winning the title.
Dealing with it
Clippers reserve guard Austin Rivers had a special remedy for the hip pointer that he described before Game 6 as “all purple and black down there.”
“Just some old-fashioned ice and laying in the bed and watching basketball and movies and getting my mind free,” said Rivers, who suffered the injury in the third quarter of Game 5. “I’m ready to go.”
So was reserve forward Davis, who pronounced himself fully healthy for the first time in the series after dealing with a sore ankle he sustained late in the Clippers’ first-round series against the San Antonio Spurs.