Clippers’ Doc Rivers and Chris Paul are on the same page
They share a common bond because of the point guard position. That has helped strengthen the relationship between Clippers All-Star Chris Paul and Coach Doc Rivers.
Paul is widely considered the best point guard in the NBA, and Rivers played point guard throughout his 13-year NBA career, and so the two of them often think the same way when it comes to running the Clippers’ offense.
“We obviously are starting to get a better feel for each other, and our communication,” Paul said after Monday night’s game in New Orleans. “We’re two point guards always talking like that. At times we bump heads. But I think the thing that I love and I appreciate about Doc is that he is as involved in the game as I am. He wants to win just as bad as I do.”
Paul is leading the NBA in assists at 11.2 a game and his high basketball IQ has allowed Rivers to give Paul freedom to call the plays.
“I don’t have to get up to call a play because he knows the play that I’m about to call,” Rivers said. “He’s already calling the set and we’re into our sets with 23 and 22 seconds [left on the 24-second shot clock]. There’s no turning around to see what I want and we’re getting into the set with 16 seconds left. That’s a big difference.”
With 5:47 left in the first quarter of Monday night’s game against the Pelicans, Rivers pulled starting guard Jamal Crawford out of the game and put in reserve Darren Collison.
With 9:19 left in the second quarter, Rivers put Crawford back into the game to play with his reserves.
That’s the new strategy Rivers has used in recent games in an attempt to help his bench become more productive.
“Honestly, I’m still figuring out our bench,” Rivers said. “I do like that we’re subbing Jamal early and then bringing him back in. I think that’s helped the bench because now he’s playing with them more. We just need to keep working on it.”
Crawford, considered one of the best sixth men in the NBA, is starting because J.J. Redick remains out with a bulging disk in his lower back.
Crawford is averaging 19.1 points a game, and that scoring punch is what the Clippers’ reserves are missing.
“We do try to keep one more [starter with the reserves], either DJ [DeAndre Jordan] or Blake [Griffin],” Rivers said. “So instead of having five guys from the bench on the court at the same time, you have three. That’s really good.”
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