Now that the LA Clippers have officially moved on to the second round of the Playoffs, all eyes are on Tuesday’s night’s Game 7 between the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz, as the winner of that matchup will be LA’s opponent in the Conference Semifinals.
But as far as the Clippers are concerned, preparing for either Denver or Utah isn’t at the top of the agenda — at least, not today.
Instead, coach Doc Rivers says LA is taking the day to focus on self-improvement rather than worrying about who they’ll see later this week.
“They’re both just very good teams, both really — obviously really good players and very well-coached,” Rivers said on Tuesday. “I’m not even going to let myself go there yet because we can fix our own stuff now for at least today. We can just work on the Clippers and then get to whoever we have to play tomorrow.”
Rivers has the right idea here. As important as it is to prep for the upcoming series, there will be time for that. What’s most crucial right now is working out the kinks that showed themselves in LA’s first-round series with the Dallas Mavericks.
For example: The bench’s defense. Rivers consistently played Reggie Jackson, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell together, and that lineup was torn apart by the Mavericks. It was partially by necessity, as Patrick Beverley missed most of the series, but eliminating that lineup and others that are particularly weak on the defensive end will do a lot for this group.
Beverley is likely a big focus right now as well. He was progressing toward a return near the end of LA’s first-round series, and this extended period of time between the end of that matchup and the start of the next will only do him good. If he’s preparing to play on Thursday, then he’s probably getting some substantial run in practice today.
As for Denver and Utah, curious Clippers fans can tune-in to tonight’s Game 7 at 8:30 p.m. ET. It’s been an extremely competitive series thus far, and this final contest should be no different.