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Clippers coach Doc Rivers focused on guards’ minutes

By in Press Enterprise on October 27, 2017

By Elliott Teaford

The Clippers didn’t practice Friday, sticking to Doc Rivers’ pattern of taking a day of rest following a game night.

It’s worked well so far this season, with the Clippers improving their record to 4-0 after a victory Thursday over the Trail Blazers in Portland.

Rest is important to the Clippers’ coach.

It became all the more critical to recover from games after point guard Milo Teodosic was injured during the Clippers’ victory Oct. 21 over the Phoenix Suns. The Clippers’ guard rotation dropped to three experienced players after Teodosic injured the plantar fascia in his left foot.

Juggling his guard rotation meant Rivers had to increase the minutes his veteran guards played. He admitted he overworked them during the Clippers’ victory Tuesday over the Utah Jazz and he scaled back their workload for their 104-103 win Thursday over the Trail Blazers.

Patrick Beverley played 42 minutes, 28 seconds against the Jazz, Austin Rivers played 34:39, Lou Williams played 18:53 in a reserve role and rookie Sindarius Thornwell played 4:11. Jawun Evans, another rookie, did not play against Utah.

“Too many minutes,” Doc Rivers said after the Clippers’ 102-84 win over the Jazz. “I didn’t like the minutes. That’ll change. It’s just got to expand it. What we’ve got to figure out is giving Patrick and Austin (adequate) rest, playing Lou and Sindarius, but making sure we have Blake or Gallo with them.”

Doc Rivers referred to Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari, two forwards who can play the role of facilitator, so Williams and Thornwell aren’t asked to play an unaccustomed role. Williams, in particular, is known as a shooting guard, but he has averaged 4.3 assists after four games.

Two nights later, Doc Rivers managed his guards’ minutes better against Portland. Beverley played 34:16 against the Trail Blazers, Austin Rivers played 34:34, Williams played 18:31 and Thornwell […]    

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