The Los Angeles Clippers seemingly have turned into the team every NBA fan loves to hate. And now, according to J.J. Redick, you can throw pretty much the entire NBA into the mix of those who dislike the Clippers.
"I don’t know that we’re villains, I don’t think we’re well liked, though," Redick told Grantland’s Zach Lowe on Thursday. "We discussed that as a team. Doc (Rivers) talks about that. "First of all, we’re not liked by the referees at all, and that’s backed up by our behavior. We lead the league in techs, for a reason."
Redick isn’t wrong, the Clippers do lead the NBA in technical fouls, with a whopping 81, nine more than the next team on the list. It’s really no surprise the Clippers are perceived by most around the league as a bunch of whiny babies.
Doc complains too much. CP3 tries blatantly tries to draw fouls that aren’t there. Blake’s face is in so many commercials that it’s starting to haunt people’s dreams. Redick makes more than he misses, and he went to Duke. DeAndre misses free throws? OK, fine, maybe DeAndre likes to argue foul calls a little too much, only a little bit too much, though.
In theory, the Clippers should be a likable team — the keyword there being "should."
CP3 is having an MVP-caliber season. Redick is averaging career shooting highs from the field and the three-point line. Matt Barnes is, well, Matt Barnes, being pesky out there, always annoyingly in the face of the opponent. Blake has battled injury, but his game now evolves with each season that passes. And DeAndre, what is there not to like about DeAndre! He is an equal opportunity dunker. There’s something to be said for that.
‘Before the Bigs: J.J. Redick’ airs TONIGHT at 8 p.m., only on PrimeTicket!
Despite what’s likable, the dislike is real, very real, from the opposition and the officials.
"We’ve all talked about it," Redick said. "It’s been said since training camp, like ‘we’ve got to get better there, we’ve got to get better there.’ That’s our personality, I think. I don’t know that we’re ever going to get better with the referees. That’s just something we’re going to have to deal with.
Whether or not getting along with the officials is part of the Clippers personality, there’s no avoiding the fact that Doc and his band of merry men can’t expect to be successful in the postseason if the officials have their whistles ready to fire the moment some back talk comes out of Doc’s mouth.
"There was a referee in a playoff game last year who said, ‘I’m not going to talk to Doc.’ He told Doc that. Your hope is they don’t take it personal, and we don’t take it personal with certain referees. "But listen, we’re all human. I come out for warmups. They come out for warmups. I look at the crew. I say ‘OK, tonight’s going to be… this goes, this isn’t going to go. I’m keeping my mouth shut tonight.’ You know that stuff. Every player knows that stuff."
There isn’t much time left for the Clippers to fix their collective image. The season is winding down — only 10 games remain, three of which will come against likely playoff teams, and one against the Phoenix Suns. The biggest game left on the calendar comes next week, Tuesday, when the Golden State Warriors take the Staples Center floor.
Now there’s no catching Steve Kerr, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson for the top seed in the conference, as the Warriors have locked up the Pacific Division, but there’s plenty of other goodies for which to play. You remember the last time the Clippers and Warriors squared off, in Golden State, when Clippers journeyman reserve guard Dahntay Jones bumped Draymond Green as the Warriors’ power forward was in the middle of a postgame interview. Jones eventually was fined for the bump.
When asked for comment, Doc said, "I guess that tough guy in Golden State, the bump was too hard for him, clearly, the way he reacted. My goodness. I thought the guy was tough. Anyway, that’s my take on it."
And it didn’t stop there. When Green heard about Doc’s comments, he simply said, "Cool story, Glenn," referring to Doc by his given name.
A sign of disrespect? Maybe. But it’s more of a sign that this budding rivalry isn’t going anywhere.
Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis has fun on the court … and in the nail salon, too!
When Redick was asked about Green and the bump, the former Blue Devil heaped nothing but praise onto the Warriors’ Defensive Player of the Year Award candidate.
"We obviously had some battles last year, seven-game series," Redick said. "Draymond is a guy who I respect a lot. It’s hard for me to really not like a guy who works and plays hard. And he works and he plays hard. He’s a guy you want on your team. You look at him and say ‘I want him on my time.’ Having said that, if we play them, I want to kick his ass, for sure. Just like I’m sure he thinks the same way about me, and the same way about Blake."
As the standings currently sit, the Clippers are the fifth seed and are in line to fall on the same side of the bracket as the top-seeded Warriors. So, along with Tuesday’s contest, there’s a chance these two teams still could meet eight more times! Yes, eight more times!
The success of the Clippers all will come down to which team shows up in the postseason. Will it be a more calm, cool and collected team that is finally ready to take the next step in the maturity standings? Or will we see the same team we always see, the team that whines and moans every times a bad foul is called or when a foul isn’t called.
"Our team’s personality, we’re mercurial…. We have the talent, so then people are saying, ‘Why aren’t they doing what the Warriors are doing?’ … It seems like the inconsistency is part of it. Some people write us off, and some people don’t like us."
It can’t matter anymore who likes or doesn’t like these Clippers. The time has come for Doc and his team to evolve. With CP3, Blake, DeAndre and Redick, this team has too much talent to let this season slip away — because, soon enough, this run, with this group, will be over.