Newsletter: Clippers! Scoreboard watching is a hobby for every player
Hi, my name is Broderick Turner, and welcome back to the Los Angeles Times’ Clippers newsletter.
It is simply called scoreboard watching.
Clippers players are just as interested as fans in the outcome of games around the NBA, which teams are winning and losing, and how it affects them.
The Clippers reside in the Western Conference and they currently sit outside of the playoffs, just a half-game behind the eight-place Denver Nuggets. The Clippers defeated the Nuggets in Denver on Tuesday night and temporarily took over the eighth spot by a percentage point, but they lost to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday and slipped back out of the playoff picture.
So, yes, they will be keeping an eye on the games being played Thursday night, Friday night, this weekend and for the rest of the season.
“I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t watching,” forward Tobias Harris said. “I’m watching.”
Austin Rivers recalled watching the Phoenix Suns play the Portland Trail Blazers last Saturday night and how enthralled he found himself in that game.
First of all, the Trail Blazers are one of the teams the Clippers are trailing in the West, a team they hope they can catch for one of the playoff spots.
So as that game between the Suns and Trail Blazers grew intense, Rivers intensely watched and found himself doing something different.
“I’m trying to coach them from the TV,” Rivers said, laughing.
He could only shake his head when Portland’s Damian Lillard made a game-winning layup with a few seconds left to lift the Trail Blazers to the victory.
“I look at the teams we need to lose and I’m cheering against them,” Rivers said, laughing again. “That’s what you don’t want to be in. Any time you have to root against another team, that’s when you know you’re in a situation where every game matters.”
The Clippers have 22 regular-season games left.
They have what many consider winnable games against teams like the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets this weekend.
But the Clippers also have tough game against the New Orleans Pelicans, one of the teams ahead of L.A. in the West, and the Cleveland Cavaliers next week.
“I think as a player obviously you have to control what you can control,” Harris said. “That’s how we play, and a lot of it’s going to come down to us handling our business and taking care of what we need to take care of. But, at the same time, you want to watch. You want to see other teams and where they’re at, what they’re doing. Especially with how tight it is, you kind of got to watch. That’s just my approach.”
Only four games separated the No. 3 team in the West from the No. 9 team before Thursday’s games.
Obviously the playoff landscape changes almost daily. Teams are jockeying for position, playing these games with a fervor because they mean so much in the standings.
And the Clippers are keeping a close eye on everything.
“This is a tight race,” Harris said. “It’s going to come down to a small margin of error that’s going to be able to get us in or get a team out. So that’s we have to look forward to.”
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Clippers’ balanced offense creates headaches for opponents
(All times Pacific)
Friday vs. New York, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday vs. Brooklyn, 6 p.m.
Tuesday vs. New Orleans, 7:30 p.m., TNT
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