He barely plays. He's benched for an entire game. He's in the starting lineup.
It's hard to know what to expect from
There was no need for a deep data dig to find the last Did Not Play — Coach's Decision of Stephenson's career before Thursday.
Stephenson's sitting out against the Warriors came only five days after he logged less than two minutes against the
"We don't have to talk to guys every game," Rivers said.
But didn't a DNP seem a little surprising after the Clippers traded for Stephenson in hopes he would become a playmaker and lockdown perimeter defender?
"Yeah, it happens, I swear," Rivers said.
Stephenson started Friday in place of
Stephenson appeared to take his benching against the Warriors well, standing and holding his arm aloft to celebrate a
Stephenson had not exactly made the most of the minutes he received in his first 10 games with the Clippers, averaging 5.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists on 37.3% shooting. Those numbers were all worse than the ones he had posted with the Hornets, albeit in a larger role for most of the season.
The Clippers' commitment to Stephenson is for only one season and $9 million because they hold a $9.4-million team option for the 2016-17 season.
Taking a breather
Rivers was tempted to list another reason besides rest for Pierce sitting out.
"Can you put age down as an injury?" Rivers quipped.
Resting the 38-year-old forward on the second night of a back-to-back situation was something Rivers had said he would do based on feel. Pierce had played in the Clippers' first two sets of games on consecutive days but appeared to tire late Thursday against the Warriors, missing a layup in the final minute.
"I think it's good for me," Pierce said of the rest, noting the Clippers are also in the midst of a stretch of three games in four days, including an afternoon start Sunday against the