Hi, my name is Broderick Turner, and welcome back to the Los Angeles Times’ Clippers newsletter.
The Clippers are perfectly fine with how they play and how they are perceived as playing a tough brand of basketball.
They are devoid of the talent they have had in past seasons, and their best talent this season remains sidelined with injuries.
So playing hard has become the Clippers’ talent.
They don’t mind getting after teams, picking them up full court. They don’t mind grinding out a game. They don’t mind getting into the face of an opponent.
And if the opposition doesn’t like the Clippers’ approach, so be it.
“Let’s be honest. The way we play does get under people’s skin,” coach Doc Rivers said. “We play hard. We’re attacking. We’re blocking shots. We’re a physical team. But that’s who we are and we have to be who we are.”
DeAndre Jordan, at 6-11 and 265 pounds, is an athletic physical marvel.
Blake Griffin, at 6-10 and 250 pounds, is a physical and pounding player.
Austin Rivers is an attacking and sometimes trash-talking player
Lou Williams is a smooth operator who drives opponents crazy with his easy way of scoring.
Montrezl Harrell plays with energy, and he plays hard all the time.
Little 6-0 point guard Jawun Evans annoys other guards with his full-court pressure on defense.
On it goes for these Clippers, all refusing to back down despite all their injuries.
They miss the toughness of Patrick Beverley, who is out for the season after having right knee surgery.
They miss the scoring of Danilo Gallinari, who is out with a glute injury.
They miss Austin Rivers, who is out with an ankle injury.
They are now missing Jordan, who is out with an ankle injury.
They even miss C.J. Williams — a player signed to a two-way contract that was productive — who is out with a sprained ankle.
Despite all that, the Clippers find a way to stay in games and that in turn gives them an opportunity to win.
They have won close games too, beating the Washington Wizards by one and the Toronto Raptors by five. They have defeated the Houston Rockets twice and the Golden State Warriors in Oakland.
The Clippers have won 12 of their last 15 games, proving to themselves and the rest of the NBA that they are not going away easily.
“Listen, we can’t run away from anyone,” Doc Rivers said. “It’s not like we have the firepower. When we’re at full [strength], we can blow teams out. But we’re not going to win any games probably right now by 20 or 30 points. That’s not going to happen. We’re going to win them by one and two.
“So execution for all these young guys is invaluable. And it’s important for their careers as well. To go through this many close games with this group is nice.”
In case you missed it
Rockets’ Trevor Ariza, Gerald Green suspended two games for postgame altercation with Clippers
Heated game between Clippers and Rockets spills into the locker room
Chris Paul will probably never be cheered at Staples Center again
(All times Pacific)
Saturday at Utah, 6 p.m.
Monday vs. Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday vs. Boston, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
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