Doc Rivers didn’t even have to wait until Saturday to know that veteran guard Dahntay Jones was going to stick around with the Clippers.
"We’re going to keep him," Rivers said after the Clippers’ 123-84 win over the Nets.
Jones will be signed to another 10-day contract. The Clippers signed him while he was playing for the NBA Developmental League Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Even though Jones has logged most of his time on the bench, he’s helped immensely by cheering his Clippers teammates. And cheering is an understatement. He’s usually always on his feet the entire game, and in turn, the rest of the Clippers bench has followed his lead.
"He’s been great. He’s been great for the young guys, for Austin (Rivers) and C.J. (Wilcox) already. "You could see it (Wednesday) in practice. He’s a veteran. He’s happy to be here. He has a toughness about him as well that I think will be good for us."
Jones scored 2 points and had one rebound in nine minutes on Wednesday.
Jones arrived with the Clippers in time for last week’s game at Portland and that was probably the Clippers’ best win of the season. Jones’ spirited bench attitude has rubbed off on everyone.
"That’s the sign of a great teammate to be able to come in and get in the mix so quickly," Blake Griffin said. "He really shows he’s behind us and a part of the team. It’s huge, and it’s contagious."
Everyone on the bench scored Thursday, with the exception of Ekpe Udoh, and everyone got in the game. The bench scored 54 of the Clippers’ 123 points. This was against the Nets, who played without Kevin Garnett who was resting, but still, the Clippers bench needed a performance like that.
The Clippers opted for change to try to get their bench going and recently traded Jared Cunningham, Reggie Bullock and Jordan Farmar. They traded for Austin Rivers and signed Jones to a 10-day contract.
Asked what the difference is in the bench, Doc Rivers said: "I don’t know, but I want to keep it. You can clearly see it. The bench is alive. That’s nice. That hasn’t been the case all year. You can see the guys really enjoying each other as a group. That’s nice. Playing well helps, too. Even in the Cleveland game, we didn’t play great. I thought our bench was alive.
"It’s good that our bench guys are cheering for the starters and our starters are cheering for the bench guys. (Wednesday) we had an extremely spirited practice in a very good way. It’s good. It’s called growth. It’s good for our team."