Clippers’ Lance Stephenson tries to stay positive despite lack of playing time

Lance Stephenson shoots before the Clippers played Houston on Nov. 7.

Lance Stephenson shoots before the Clippers played Houston on Nov. 7.

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

No healthy player logged fewer minutes than Lance Stephenson in the Clippers victory over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center. That included Luc Mbah a Moute, who is so seldom used that he began his postgame interview with reporters with, “Nice to meet y’all. My name is Luc.”

But Stephenson bristles at past accusations that he is a bad teammate, and so, despite 1 minute 42 seconds of playing time, he said there were no hard feelings.

“You’ve got so much depth,” Stephenson said. “The main thing is to be positive on the bench. Don’t show any negativity. I’m just happy we won. That’s all that matters, winning the game. As long as we win, I’m happy.”


The Clippers played without guards Chris Paul and J.J. Redick. That made Stephenson a candidate to start.

Instead, Coach Doc Rivers opted for 38-year-old Paul Pierce, who played 30 minutes. Wesley Johnson and Pablo Prigioni were the primary backcourt options off the bench.

“With C.P. and J.J. out, I wanted as much spacing as I could get,” Rivers said.

Rivers said that doesn’t necessarily mean Stephenson will see more time when Paul and Redick return.

“Yeah, we’ll see,” Rivers said. “I’m going to get into practice and see what unit we like. As I’ve said before, that position will be a revolving position much of the year. If we do go with Paul [Pierce], you don’t expect Paul to play every night. I know he’s not playing 82, I can guarantee you that.”

Stephenson said he understood why Pierce started. His shooting filled Redick’s role, he said.

“Some nights will be Paul’s nights, some nights will be mine,” Stephenson said.

For Stephenson, the night was brief. He entered 34 seconds into the second quarter. Stanley Johnson picked his pocket for an easy layup 71 seconds later. Thirty-one seconds after that, Stephenson was pulled. He did not return.

His final line: zero points, assists or rebounds. One turnover. The Pistons added eight points to their lead while he was in the game.


“He came in, I didn’t think he was ready,” Rivers said. “We were already down. We didn’t have enough time to wait.”

Stephenson’s previous low this season was 18 minutes. He’s averaging 6.2 points per game.

Last season, when he was with the Charlotte Hornets, the Boston Globe reported that Stephenson “clashed with teammates.” But Stephenson said that characterization is unfair.

“It was just all rumors,” he said. “All the people that play with me on the same team, they know how I am, they know I’m a cool guy.”

In limbo

Rivers did not provide a timetable for the return of Paul and Redick.

Both have have now missed two consecutive games, Paul because of a groin injury and Redick because of back spasms.

“No update really,” Rivers said. “They’re just in limbo.”