Clippers have variety of ways to combat Denver's altitude

Clippers have variety of ways to combat Denver's altitude

Published Dec. 18, 2014 10:53 a.m. ET

Let the altitude games begin.

The Clippers play the Nuggets in Denver on Friday (starting at 5:30 p.m. on Prime Ticket), and there are all sorts of schools of thought and mind games athletes and coaches play on dealing with altitude in the "Mile High" city.

"I have not learned anything from playing in Denver," Doc Rivers joked. "I told my son Austin (Rivers who plays for the Pelicans) that when he plays in Denver to warmup very hard, then he will be all right. He told that he did that but during the layup line he had to sit down. That clearly didn't work. I have heard many stories and theories of how to play in Denver."

He said one coach -- whom he chose not to name but said he was a championship coach -- figured the best way was to fly in the day of the game and head straight to the arena. Teams can't do that, however, since they can't fly in the day of a game.


Jamal Crawford said he's heard you should continually drink water, so he does.

"You can feel it, even just walking around in your room," Crawford said. "... Drink a lot of water, even when you're not thirsty."

J.J. Redick doesn't believe in the altitude hype.

"Never bought into it," Redick said. "We're getting in early. To me, the only time I've ever felt anything is on a back-to-back. Then, it's like, well, I'd always normally feel something on a back-to-back."

DeAndre Jordan, who has asthma, joked he might play with his inhaler in his sock.

"I think Denver is tough for everybody," Jordan said. "I think after the first eight minutes everybody thinks they have asthma. I know my lips are super chapped after the first timeout ... Either way, it's going to burn. I tried to do cardio before the game a couple of times and I think that made it worse.

"The first four minutes will be a shock, like I haven't done any cardio all season, that's what it will feel like. After that, it will be all right."

Asked how much of playing in the altitude is a mental exercise, Jordan said: "I think it's mental, and the fact you can't breathe. I'm going to have my inhaler in my sock the whole game."