Alexander: Clippers are going against NBA grain, and it’s working

first_imgThey’ve won eight of nine (and eight in a row) at home. They’ve knocked off Milwaukee, Golden State, Houston, Oklahoma City and now Memphis, all teams with double-digit victories already, and they’re 3-0 when pushed to overtime.Harris (20.8 points, 8.6 rebounds) would probably be considered their best player, but Williams and Danilo Gallinari (whose three free throws with 1.6 seconds left in regulation sent the game to OT) both average 18.6 points and Montrezl Harrell, a 6-foot-8 bundle of energy off the bench, averages 15.9 and 7.2 rebounds.Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the first-round pick from Kentucky, averages 10.4 points and 2.9 assists, and his growth will be fascinating to watch. Avery Bradley (13 points in 32 minutes Friday, just his third game back from injury), Mike Scott, Patrick Beverley and Marcin Gortat round out a solid nine-man rotation – and the matchups against the Grizzlies on Friday even allowed 7-3 Serbian center Boban Marjanovic to get some first-half minutes, to the delight of the savvy ones in the crowd of 15,418.“All my teammates are superstars,” Gallinari said when asked if the lack of a dominant player might actually be a strength. “To be honest, that’s the way that I see them. That’s the way that we see each other, and that’s why we have a lot of confidence in ourselves. Doc gives us a lot of confidence, and when a player has a lot of confidence, the sky’s the limit.”Related Articles “Guys who grew up there know you don’t always pick the best guys. You pick the guys you can keep playing the next game and the next game with. We have a lot of guys you would pick in a pick-up game.”That profile would include, among other things, tough-minded, unfazed by adversity, willing to look out for each other, not hesitant to take chances in order to make plays.There is no dominant player, no star or automatic go-to guy, though reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams is probably as close as anyone to the guy in whose hands you want the ball late in the game. But whether it’s Williams or Danilo Gallinari or Tobias Harris or Montrezl Harrell or … we could go on but you probably get the point by now.“We know as a team we need each other, so we’re (feeding) off each other out there on the floor,” Harris said. “Guys want to make plays for each other. The better someone else is playing or the better someone else is shooting, that helps myself. That helps other guys on the floor, so we know we’re pulling each other along.”Attention, all of you who stopped paying attention to the Clippers when they broke up the Lob City crew: You have time to rectify that mistake. This bunch is 12-6 and with their victory Friday afternoon they share the best record in the rugged Western Conference with Memphis and Oklahoma City. LOS ANGELES — In an NBA seemingly obsessed with collections of stars, creating space for max contracts and/or assembling lottery picks, the Clippers are attacking this in another, counterintuitive way.It’s the old-fashioned way, the way that coaches have preached almost from the moment Dr. Naismith slammed home the last nail on those very first peach baskets, emphasizing team and downplaying individuals.To use a more contemporary analogy, it’s the way you might pick your team at the schoolyard to ensure that you’ll continually have next.“If you were picking teams on the blacktop, we have a lot of guys that you would pick,” Coach Doc Rivers said before the Clippers’ 112-107 overtime victory over Memphis on Friday afternoon at Staples Center. What the Clippers are saying the day after Luka Doncic’s game-winner tied series, 2-2 Kristaps Porzingis ruled out as Clippers, Mavericks set for Game 5; Follow for game updates For Lakers’ LeBron James, Jacob Blake’s shooting is bigger issue than a big Game 4 victory center_img Clippers hope they can play to their capabilities, quell Mavericks’ momentum How high is this sky, actually? There’s still a debate among the pundits as to whether these Clippers are playoff timbre, and while 12-6 is better than expected, there’s still a long way to go.But the road ahead should be fun. Coming off a loss in which they’d blown a 24-point lead at Washington – as Rivers put it, if the Clippers had had a superstar that night “that guy would have been bad too” – they trailed Memphis 52-44 at halftime and seemed to be letting the Grizzlies pretty much have their way at the offensive end.“We were frustrated because we weren’t scoring, so we were not playing defense,” Rivers said. “They’re thinking more about them not scoring than about going down and playing defense. We said, ‘We’re making zero offensive adjustments. We’re just going to play harder defense, and if we get stops we’ll score.’ And that’s what we did.”Memphis shot 52.3 percent in the first half, 38.5 in the second half. Any coach in America would appreciate that, [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter Clippers vs. Mavericks Game 5 playoff updates from NBA beat reporters Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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