30 teams in 30 days: Don't call it a rebuild for Clippers (but it is)


30 teams in 30 days: Don't call it a rebuild for Clippers (but it is)

When Doc Rivers left Boston in 2013 for Los Angeles, he did so in part because he didn’t want to go through another rebuild.
You won’t hear the word "rebuilding" when it comes to describing what he’s doing now with the Clippers.
But when you lose an All-Star (Chris Paul), one of the most accurate 3-point shooters in the league (J.J. Redick) and one of the best sixth man (Jamal Crawford) of this era – in one offseason, mind you – that is what we refer to as a team that’s rebuilding.
Regardless of the semantics, there’s little doubt that the Clippers are no longer among the favorites to contend for a title out West.
With so many new faces on the roster, developing chemistry trumps chasing titles at this point for Rivers whose GM duties will now be handled by longtime friend Lawrence Frank.
The Clippers are now a team that will be built in part around the talents of Blake Griffin and new addition Danilo Gallinari.
And like most teams, Rivers is looking to field lineups that are high on talent and versatility, even if it at times means playing smaller lineups.
“I also believe in size but it has to be versatile,” Rivers said. “If you’re gonna beat some of these other teams you’re going to have to stand out some other way.”

Leading Rivers’ versatility movement will be the 1-2 frontcourt punch of Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari.
Griffin, a five-time All-Star, will be at the epicenter of the Clippers’ efforts to remain among the better teams in the Western Conference while Gallinari arrives from Denver, where the 6-foot-10 forward has established himself as one of the better inside-outside bigs. He was pursued by a number of teams, including the Celtics, this summer in free agency.
Whether you use the term rebuilding or reshaping in describing the Clippers, the bottom line is they will play a different brand of basketball that relies more on the collective sums of their parts rather than a handful of superstars, which has been the case in recent years.
“The fact that we have versatility plus size, I feel we’ll create mismatches that way,” Rivers said.
Key free agent/draft/trade additions: Danilo Gallinari (Denver); Patrick Beverley (Houston); Lou Williams (Houston); Milos Teodosic (Serbia); Montrezl Harrell (Houston); Sam Dekker (Houston).
Key losses: Chris Paul (Houston); J.J. Redick (Philadelphia); Mo Speights (Orlando); Jamal Crawford (Minnesota); Raymond Felton (Oklahoma City); Paul Pierce (retired).
Rookies of note: Sindarius Thornwell
42-40 (second in the Pacific Division, eighth in the West)

Gordon Hayward will start traveling with Celtics in March

Gordon Hayward will start traveling with Celtics in March

LOS ANGELES – The Boston Celtics have made a point of trying to change up Gordon Hayward’s rehabilitation routine as to avoid the boredom that’s often associated with the recovery process from a long-term injury such as his.

How about a few days in Southern California?

Hayward is with the team here in Los Angeles, and will stay behind for a few days afterward according to head coach Brad Stevens.

“One of the things we wanted to do was change his environment,” said Stevens who added that Hayward may begin traveling with the team in March. “So, he’s going to be here for these two games, and he will stay here in Southern California for a week to 10 days with a couple of our staff and re-join us in Boston.”

The key to him re-joining the team for road games hinges on whether he can do is rehabilitation work without the need for an ultra-gravity (Ultra-G) machine which he has been using.

Stevens later explained why the team felt the need to try and switch up Hayward’s regimen.

“People that have been through this, you know, long process ... One of the things about us, we’re jumping on a plane every four or five days,” said Stevens who added that Hayward still has “a long way to go” before returning to play in an actual game. “And he’s used to that and he has been in the same routine doing the same thing for three or four months without that. So, we just wanted to have him here for a couple games while we’re out West and for a few days later, leave him out here.”

Al Horford is among the Celtics eager to have Hayward join the team on road games, even if his timeline for returning to action is still targeted for next season.

“We’re happy, anytime, for Gordon to be around us,” Horford said. “For him, it’s his process to getting back to where he needs to be. Obviously, we’re respectful of that. But any chance that he gets around us, it’s good to share with him. He’s still a part of this. That’s the cool thing about it.”


Al Horford joins Kyrie Irving at the all-star game, selected as reserve


Al Horford joins Kyrie Irving at the all-star game, selected as reserve

LOS ANGELES – Kyrie Irving won’t be all by his lonesome during all-star weekend next month, with teammate Al Horford being selected as an all-star reserve.

For Horford, this will be his fifth all-star selection but first as a member of the Boston Celtics after joining the team in 2016.

Horford’s play, particularly on defense, has been instrumental to the Celtics (34-13) having the best record in the Eastern Conference, and third overall in the NBA.

This season, he has averaged 13.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while shooting a career-best 43 percent from 3-point range.

Horford’s numbers don’t always speak to his impact on teams and more important, winning games.

“He’s a big part of our team in order for us to be number one in the East and hopefully sustain that spot,” Irving said earlier today. “We know how valuable he is. The Celtics organization, our team, everybody. He definitely has a case; he’s got my vote.”

Horford is grateful and appreciative of being named an all-star.

But his focus, as you might expect, is on what he views as a much more significant prize – a victory tonight which would snap Boston’s season-long losing streak which stands at three straight.

Horford is more concerned about the Celtics setting the tone defensively tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers.

“That has to be our mindset,” he said. “And sticking together. So this is a great time for us to make sure we’re together and we do it as a group.”