Clippers Coach Doc Rivers hates distractions, but his team now has one after the team learned that forward Blake Griffin is being investigated by Las Vegas police for allegedly assaulting a man at a nightclub in Las Vegas in the early-morning hours Sunday.
Rivers offered support for Griffin, who started Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center after sitting out Tuesday night’s game at Golden State to get some rest.
“I trust Blake 100%,” Rivers said. “He’s a great kid. We’ll figure it out and get through it.”
Griffin played as if he didn’t have any issues hovering over him during the Clippers’ 108-105 win over the Suns.
He had 35 points on 14-for-26 shooting and seven rebounds in 40 minutes.
Chris Paul, who sat out Tuesday night’s game at Golden State to get some rest, was solid in helping the Clippers win their second exhibition game to improve to 2-5
Paul had 34 points, including a drive for a 106-103 Clippers lead with 7.8 seconds left and two free throws for a 108-105 lead with 5.0 seconds left.
More on Las Vegas investigation
A 39-year-old man identified only as Daniel filed a complaint on Sunday with Las Vegas police listing Griffin as a suspect, a spokesman for the department said Wednesday.
The spokesman said the report indicated that there was an altercation between Griffin and the man involving a camera at Tao nightclub in the Venetian resort.
The Clippers were in Las Vegas on Saturday night to play an exhibition game against the Denver Nuggets at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
TMZ quoted Daniel as saying that Griffin “slapped me in the right side of my face.”
The case will be assigned to a detective who will review the case to determine if “appropriate charges are necessary,” the police spokesman said.
The NBA has been made aware of the investigation and is looking into the matter.
“I can’t say much, but I feel very confident things will work out,” Rivers said. “I’ll put it that way.”
Barnes will be starter
Despite Matt Barnes’ shooting struggles, Rivers said he will be the opening-night starter at small forward for the Clippers.
Before Wednesday night, Barnes was just three for 31 from the field, one for 18 from three-point range.
Rivers said it is a “concern” that Barnes has shot so poorly in the exhibition season.
“I just need Matt to be a great defender, run the floor, be a great slasher,” Rivers said.
Barnes still couldn’t make a shot against the Suns, going 0 for 5 from the field, 0 for 4 from three-point range.
Jordan Farmar missed his second straight game because of lower back tightness. DeAndre Jordan and Jamal Crawford didn’t play because Rivers wanted to rest them. ... Clippers owner Steve Ballmer attended his first home game at Staples Center since he purchased the team.