Clippers, Rivers seek to get back into win column vs. Mavericks
LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers want Blake Griffin to shoot more. The Dallas Mavericks merely want Seth Curry to play more.
Those are the want lists of the two Western Conference teams that meet Wednesday at the Staples Center.
The Clippers have lost two straight games after opening the season 4-0, and there was nothing in the defeats coach Doc Rivers wants to see again anytime soon.
In a 95-87 loss to Detroit on Saturday, the Clippers coach said his team lacked energy. His players didn't necessarily agree, and they were coming off a one-point Thursday win at Portland in which the five starters all played 34 minutes or more. Those are late-season minutes for an October game, and the Clippers looked a bit spent against the Pistons.
The Clippers were drubbed 141-113 by the Golden State Warriors on Monday, a game in which the reigning NBA champions shot 58 percent, smothered the shooting game of the Los Angeles guards and holding Griffin to 16 points and just 10 field-goal attempts
With Chris Paul gone, Griffin is now the leader of the offensive attack, and Rivers does not want him to be the least bit shy. However, other teams know that, too. The Warriors chose to double-team Griffin early and often, and then they beat the Clippers severely in transition.
"They came pretty early," Griffin said. "Some teams wait for the first dribble, some teams wait until you have a foot outside the lane. They doubled pretty early and pretty consistently throughout the game."
Rivers said, "Whenever we talk about Golden State, we only talk about their offense. And I think their defense is what sets them apart."
The Clippers are still in transition after a roster overhaul that saw them bring back only five players back from last season, and they are down a guard with Milos Teodosic out indefinitely due to plantar fasciitis. Guards Austin Rivers and Lou Williams were a combined 5 of 18 from the field Monday.
The Mavericks won just 33 games last season and are 1-7 thus far in 2017-18, the worst record in the league. Curry has yet to play due to a leg injury, and rookie Dennis Smith Jr. has struggled as rookies forced to start often do.
Curry has been limited to individual practice sessions, and there is no timetable for a return.
The Mavs rank 28th in the league in rebounding and have committed 56 turnovers in their past three games -- 14 against the Memphis Grizzlies, 18 versus the Philadelphia 76ers and 24 in a 109-89 loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday.
"We need to focus on improvements in all areas," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said Tuesday. "The turnover problems have been huge. We're continuing to work on the rebounding, and we've just got to keep the ball moving and play through tough spots. We've got to put everything together to give ourselves the best chance."
"We've played some tough defensive teams," Smith said. "Golden State, Memphis, Utah. It's an adjustment. It's something I've never seen before, but I've got to keep being aggressive the way I can be. I've got to do a better job of controlling the tempo of the game. I can't let them force us into anything we don't want to do."
The Mavs are in the middle of a seven-game span featuring five road games. The Clippers have two more home games after Wednesday before playing eight of their next nine on the road.