New Year’s resolution for Clippers: Stop getting technicals
DeAndre Jordan clearly disagreed with a foul that was called on the Clippers center with 2 minutes, 40 seconds left in Wednesday night’s 115-106 win over Memphis, one that resulted in two Marc Gasol free throws that pulled the Grizzlies to within two points.
The pre-2017, combative Jordan, who ranks third in the NBA this season with eight technical fouls, would have lashed out at the referee. This Jordan — call him the benevolent big man — covered his mouth and played on.
“It’s extremely tough, but we have to do a better job,” Jordan said of the difficulty of controlling emotions. “We’re on the officials a lot … all of us. Even if we don’t agree with the call, we’ve got to let stuff go and just play.”
Meet the new magnanimous Clippers, who made a New Year’s resolution to give the referees a break.
Coach Doc Rivers said he “had a long talk with the team” on Wednesday after spending Tuesday reviewing every one of the Clippers’ 32 technical fouls. Only the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks have drawn more technicals.
“I told them, ‘That doesn’t represent us,’ ” said Rivers, who has six technicals, second-most of the coaches in the league, and three ejections. “I have to be the leader of this team, so my actions have to come first. … We’re reversing this. I’m getting no more, and I’m holding everyone accountable.”
Rivers said he will donate the amounts of his past — and future — fines to the Los Angeles-based Violence Intervention Program, which helps more than 18,000 victims of physical, sexual abuse and neglect each year. He ordered players to choose a charity and do the same.
“I’m not gonna change. I’m gonna be feisty and fight for my team every night. But I also want us to be better. I started well [Wednesday]. No techs.”
Guard Austin Rivers, who scored a season-high 28 points in a season-high 44 minutes Wednesday, said his father’s talk resonated with players.
The Clippers haven’t reached the season’s midway point, and Austin Rivers has drawn four technicals, which equals the most he’s drawn in any of his previous four seasons. Both Rivers have also been ejected in the same game twice this season.
“For the rest of the year, I’m not getting any more [technicals],” Austin Rivers said. “I’ve never been a guy to get a lot of technicals. I guess it’s just emotion. We’re competitive. We just have to channel it in a better way.”
Reserve center/forward Marreese Speights leads the NBA with 20 charging fouls drawn, surprising considering he’s averaging only 16.4 minutes of playing time a game. The 6-foot-10, 255-pound veteran was not eager to discuss his strategies.
“It’s positioning, anticipation,” Speights said. “I watch a lot of basketball, so I know what a lot of players do. A lot of them come through the lane and jump to make the pass, and that’s the best time to take it.”
Speights then paused and chuckled before saying, “I’m done telling my secrets.”
How does such a big man who doesn’t play starters’ minutes lead the league in such a category?
“It’s because he can’t jump,” Doc Rivers said with a laugh. “You can either block the [opponent] with athleticism, or you get your body in the way. Mo has decided he can get his body in the way, and he’s good at it.
“Mo is one of the rare bigs who can draw [the charge] off passers. If you run through the lane and Mo’s around, he’s gonna put his body in the way, and it’s a smart move. It’s similar to blocked shots. When you drive and you run over somebody, it makes you not want to drive anymore, so it’s been good for us.”
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday.
Where: Golden 1 Center.
On the air: TV: Prime; Radio: 570, 1330.
Records: Clippers 24-14, Kings 15-20.
Record vs. Kings: 1-0.
Update: Clippers point guard Chris Paul, who has missed seven of eight games because of a left hamstring injury, completed a full workout on Wednesday and was optimistic about returning Friday night, but he was still listed as “doubtful” on Thursday. After winning four straight games in late December, the Kings have lost three of four, and they might be without second-leading scorer Rudy Gay, a 6-foot-8 forward who is averaging 18.5 points but missed Tuesday’s win over Denver and Wednesday’s loss to Miami because of a hip injury. Sacramento is led by 6-11 forward DeMarcus Cousins, who is averaging 28.6 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots a game.
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