Coach Doc Rivers has an ambition for the Clippers to become a “free team,” something he described the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers as being.
At times, Rivers has seen the Clippers be such a team. But other times they are not.
But it’s a goal he has for a squad with which he’s beginning his fourth season.
“There’s only a few of those in the league, meaning that they’ve all kind of got what they should do,” Rivers said. “They’ve all accepted it. They all buy in to it and they all do it whether they do it well that night or not.”
The Clippers didn’t do anything well Tuesday night at Golden State, getting blown out from beginning to end. Rivers said the team watched about “five minutes” of the tape from the debacle because the film “never lies.”
So the plan was for the Clippers to compete Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors in the second of back-to-back exhibition games.
And the Clippers did, put-ting on a much better showing during a 104-98 win.
Blake Griffin set the tone for the Clippers, scoring 24 points on 10-for-13 shooting, grabbing eight rebounds and handing out five assists. He even made two of three three-point shots.
DeAndre Jordan had a double-double, with 14 points and 10 rebounds. And he even made four of six free throws.
Chris Paul, who had more fouls (five) than points (one) against the Warriors, had 15 assists along with seven points and six rebounds against the Raptors
Still, Rivers will push his team all season to become one of the free teams.
“I would say Cleveland and Golden State [are free teams]. I don’t think there’s anybody more than that,” he said. “You can look at all kinds of series last year and you can see it. When things get tough, things changed. It takes a while. That’s a tough one.”
Rivers was asked what it’s going to take for the Clippers to become a free team.
“It just happens. It really does,” Rivers said. “I would love to say tomorrow we have it. And then you lose two games in a row and you don’t have it. You get it. I think we’ve had it at times, in spurts. But I want to get to a point where we keep it.”
Rivers said he had planned on not playing J.J. Redick against the Raptors “because he wanted to take it slow” with his shooting guard. Raymond Felton (17 points) started instead. … Rookie forward Brice Johnson limped to the locker room in the fourth quarter, joined by a member of the team’s training staff.
Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner