Doc Rivers pondering whether to rest Clippers starters

Blake Griffin, Chris Paul
Blake Griffin, left, and Chris Paul are the two most likely Clippers players to get a rest before the playoffs.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Rest or not to rest.

That’s something Clippers Coach Doc Rivers has pondered with two regular-season games left.

Rivers has thought about sitting some of his starters in one or both of the next two games.

But Rivers said, “No,” when asked if he had decided whether to sit any of his players when the Clippers play the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night at Staples Center or Wednesday night at Portend in the regular-season finale.


“I think some of them want to play,” Rivers said. “You always go back and forth. You just try to get a feel. The difference here is we’re younger. The other difference is we got a lot of rest. You don’t want to rest your guys too much. You don’t want them to ever lose rhythm.”

All-Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are the most likely Clippers Rivers will consider resting.

Paul still wears a pad to protect the right shoulder he separated that forced him to miss 18 games.

“When we talk about it, I’m sure it’s all going to work out,” Paul, who averages 35.1 minutes per game, said about the conversation he expects to have with Rivers about playing. “Either way, we’re going to be in the playoffs in a few days.”


Griffin dealt with back spasms this season, but missed just one game.

“Whether we play or not, it’s up to him [Rivers],” said Griffin, who averages a team-high 35.9 minutes per game. “I could play right now or sit. It’s whatever he thinks is best.”

Rivers talks NBA championship

When Rivers first arrived on the scene, he talked to his players about winning an NBA championship — this season.

Over the course of 80 regular-season games and countless practices, Rivers continued to drive home that point.

The Clippers, who have never won an NBA title, are about winning a title in 2014.

Rivers won an NBA championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008 and lost in the 2010 NBA Finals to the Lakers.

So with the playoffs about to start this weekend and the Clippers likely opponent to be the Golden State Warriors, Rivers hasn’t stopped talking about being champion.


“We talk about it and I think we should have that urgency, yeah, I believe that,” Rivers said. “I don’t believe you can win a title thinking about, ‘Well, we’re getting better this year and this is a good year and we’re building and some day we’re going to be good.’ You can’t win that way. So, yeah, we talk about it a lot.”


Rivers said that Danny Granger, who has been out the last seven games with a strained left hamstring, has made strides but there is no timetable for his return.

“He’s getting closer,” Rivers said. “The fact that he’s shooting is good.”

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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