first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error One thing the Clippers have had issues with in recent postseasons is maintaining a sense of urgency. They blew Game 5 in Oklahoma City two years ago when they thought they had it won, then lost the series in Game 6 at Staples Center. They fell apart in Game 6 at Staples Center this past season when they relaxed with a big lead, then lost Game 7 at Houston.Both were Western Conference semifinal series, meaning each time a chance to advance to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history was lost.The Clippers currently lead the Portland Trail Blazers 2-0 in their first-round series, which resumes Saturday in Portland. Power forward Blake Griffin believes his team will continue playing with desperation because it has not forgotten what’s happened in the past.“I think it’s in all of our minds,” he said Thursday. “Some guys, obviously, weren’t here. But for the guys that were, the guys that went through it, I think it’s hard to forget something like that and I don’t think you should. Best defenseA lot has been made about how strong the Clippers’ defense has been. At the moment, they appear at the top of their game. According to Griffin, this is the best defense he has seen in six seasons with the team.“Yeah, I mean, I think we’ve really bought into the whole trust thing,” he said. “I think it shows a little bit on the court – just running guys off, next guy is there and the next guy has that guys’ back and the next guy has that guys’ back.”The Clippers held the Trail Blazers to 39.8 percent shooting in a 115-95 Game 1 victory and to 34.1 percent in Wednesday’s 102-81 win.Redick’s sore heelShooting guard J.J. Redick bruised his left heel on April 12 against Memphis. It’s still bothering him, Rivers said.“Yeah, it definitely has an impact, I think with his movement, for sure,” he said. “I think as the game goes on I’m trying to figure out how to rest him.”Rivers said he wasn’t sure if giving him a longer rest than usual in Game 1 helped.“I actually thought he didn’t move that well coming back in, so we may adjust that,” he said.Redick scored 17 points in Game 1 on 8-of-12 shooting, he scored 17 on 7 of 15 in Game 2. He played 26 1/2 minutes and 28 1/2 minutes, respectively. He averaged 28 minutes during the season.Rivers on PrinceRivers was bummed out about the death of Prince on Thursday at age 57.“Yeah, it’s really sad,” he said. “Him and Michael (Jackson) were my two guys and to lose them both this early is just crazy to me. Growing up, it was Prince or Michael. Sometimes, you had to take sides.”Rivers said he saw Prince “two or three times” in concert.center_img “That’s kind of how you learn from it and get kind of better. … Each year we’ve lost in kind of a different way and if there is one thing we’ve done and we know how to do is, it’s lose. So we’re not going to do the same things that we’ve done in the past. I think this year we’ve kind of embraced that, of not being a team that does what, quote en quote, losers do.”Coach Doc Rivers scoffed at the notion his team is playing with urgency because of past postseason failings.“I always say everybody fails in the playoffs if you don’t win it,” he said. “You call it failing, we call it growing and just trying to get better.”Playing all-out should be automatic, Rivers suggested.“You can’t not have an urgency about you,” he said. “We try to get our guys to understand single-possession, 48 minutes are the keys to winning in the playoffs. There are games where I think we do that, then there are games that we don’t. But if we want to be great, we have to learn how to do it all the time.”last_img

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