Why Doc Rivers wants to keep playing his starters in the Clippers’ final two games
Pride is all the Clippers have left to play for in their last two games.
Their chase for a playoff spot was halted Saturday afternoon when the Denver Nuggets eliminated them from contention.
The Clippers play the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center on Monday night and host the Lakers on Wednesday on the final night of the regular season.
“I don’t even know how I’m going to approach those games,” coach Doc Rivers said Saturday afternoon. “I may play all our starters. I may play all the young guys and let them just get minutes.
“I think I have to play the guys against New Orleans, honestly. I think we have to really go after that game. I just believe in protecting the league, you know what I’m saying? I just think that’s what we should do and I hope we do that.”
Rivers said he’ll be cautious with DeAndre Jordan because the center has been dealing with a left ankle injury suffered in January. Jordan sat out five games and has gutted through the rest of the season despite persistent swelling in the ankle.
Jordan, the Clippers’ iron man, played in 404 of a possible 410 regular-season games the previous five years.
“We put a lot on his shoulder, too,” Rivers said. “He’s been laboring with his ankle for almost a month and no one knew that and we didn’t share it with anybody. But he has been. Literally, you could see it and yet he kept playing. He doesn’t miss games. I swear with that ankle, he was never right once he came back. I’m going to tell you most guys would have missed 10 more games at least, and he just wanted to play and be out on the floor. I’ll ask him [if he wants to play].”
Rivers said Lou Williams suffered a sprained right ankle against Utah on Thursday and is listed as doubtful. Austin Rivers is listed as questionable with right elbow soreness as the Clippers wind down a season defined by injuries.
iffy going into the game and he just said, ‘I want to go and see what I can do.’
“My guess is probably no Lou next game,” Doc Rivers said. “But I’m going to try to get them all to play. I think we got to try to protect the integrity and try to go and make it hard for the Pelicans to get in [the playoffs].”
VS. NEW ORLEANS
When: Monday, 7:30 p.m.
On the air: TV: Prime Ticket, ESPN; Radio: 570.
Update: The Pelicans are fifth in the Western Conference, but they have not secured a playoff spot. New Orleans center Anthony Davis is second in the NBA in scoring (28.2 points), fifth in rebounding (11.1) and first in blocked shots (2.5).
Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner
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