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LA Clippers’ Blake Griffin won’t discuss free agency

first_imgThe five-time All-Star can opt out of his contract at the end of the season, as can Chris Paul, a fact adding to the possible long-term ramifications of another early playoff exit this spring.After his 36 points carried the Clippers on Saturday, Griffin would not say whether he hopes to stay with the Clippers.“I’ve loved my time here, absolutely,” Griffin said. “But my main focus right now is the season. I said this before the season, I’m not doing the whole free agency talk. I’m not talking about any decision I can’t make right now. Like I said my main focus is getting this team right and moving forward and being right heading into the playoffs.”A former first overall pick, Griffin is the first Clippers player to deliver on the high expectations that greeted him when he arrived. He is the symbol of the franchise’s turnaround.The Clippers have been one of the best teams in the Western Conference since 2011, although they are yet to advance beyond the second round. LOS ANGELES >> With a mid-range jump shot 30 seconds into Saturday’s 115-104 victory over the Lakers, Blake Griffin became the first Clippers player to reach 10,000 points with the franchise.For an organization with a barren collection of history, the scoring milestone was representative of all Griffin has meant to the Clippers. Across the court were the Lakers, with 10 players in team history to score 10,000 points in the purple and gold.The Clippers have Griffin.At least for now. “Obviously with free agency coming up,” Rivers said, “I don’t know if the results matter more or not. I think that will be up to the individual players, to be honest.”Although Randy Smith scored 12,735 points with the Buffalo Braves and Clippers from 1971-79, Griffin is the franchise’s leading scorer since the franchise left harsh winters behind and moved to San Diego and rebranded the franchise after a boat.By comparison, Elton Brand scored 9,336 points in seven seasons with the Clippers.“Man, that’s impressive,” Chris Paul said. “To think the games and the time he’s missed, it should be more. He’s got a lot more ahead of him.”“That’s a lot of points,” Coach Doc Rivers said. “I know that and he’s still really young, which is amazing as well. Blake is an amazing player and yet he’s still going to get better which is what’s scary for everybody else.”Not overconfidentWith his team struggling in the middle of the 1999-00 season, Rivers, the first-year head coach of the Orlando Magic, tried something bold.“I scrapped the entire offense,” Rivers said.The veteran coaches on Rivers’ staff advised him that it was a bad idea. “You don’t do that in this league,” they insisted.“And I kept saying, ‘Well why not?” Rivers said. “Our offense sucks and I think it’s the wrong offense for this team.”The Clippers win Saturday was the 800th of Rivers’ career, making him the 15th coach in league history to reach the mark.Rivers said he still has the game ball from his first victory, Nov. 3, 1999, against the Detroit Pistons. In those days, Rivers would “probably overreact to everything early on in my career and I’ve learned everything is a big deal but you don’t have to sweat it all.”If there’s one thing Rivers believes he has been good at as the coach of the Magic, Celtics and Clippers, it’s staying even throughout adversity.“Keep your team targeted on the next game,” he said. “Marching on to the next goal.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

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Dodgers’ Max Muncy persevering through a rough final month

first_imgKELLY STATUSAfter saying Tuesday that reliever Joe Kelly would “hopefully” pitch in a game on Thursday, Roberts said Wednesday that Kelly is tentatively scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Friday and probably won’t pitch in a game until Sunday, the final day of the regular season.Kelly has not pitched since Wednesday of last week and has only faced seven batters in the past two weeks. The Dodgers have offered no explanation for Kelly’s downtime other than Roberts saying it is “an overall-body situation.”“His body is responding well,” Roberts said. When prompted on what it was responding to, Roberts only said, “Rest and treatment.”If Kelly pitches just once more this season, that will have to be enough to assuage any concerns the Dodgers have before setting their postseason roster for the first round. Roberts said he remains confident Kelly will be ready to not only pitch in the postseason but handle whatever workload the Dodgers need from him.“I think one part of it is his confidence. He’s done it before,” Roberts said. “I’ve talked to Joe and he could pitch right now. But I think managing Joe so we could look out over the next four weeks and make sure he can manage the workload that is coming – when a player talks about that, you’ve got to listen. I’m all ears and we’re in lockstep.”HILL PLANLeft-hander Rich Hill reported no problems with his injured knee (or flexor tendon) a day after pitching two scoreless innings against the Padres. Hill will throw a bullpen session in the next day or two then start against the Giants on Sunday. He is expected to pitch three innings Sunday, his final chance to make his case for the postseason.If it is decided Hill is not ready to pitch in the NL Division Series, Roberts held out the possibility that he could join the rotation for the NLCS if the Dodgers advance.“Absolutely,” Roberts said. “The goal is to have him on the DS but Richie … is not going to want to be a part of something if he feels he can’t perform up to his ability.“Regardless if it works or if it doesn’t – our goal obviously is for it to work out – but if it doesn’t certainly we’re not going to punt on the season for him and the CS would then be the next option.”UP NEXTDodgers (LHP Clayton Kershaw, 15-6, 3.15 ERA) at Padres (LHP Joey Lucchesi, 10-9, 4.28 ERA), Thursday, 12:40 p.m., SportsNet LA (where available), 570 AM “It’s been very difficult,” Muncy acknowledged, admitting there is still pain in his healing wrist. “I feel like over this stretch coming back from the wrist the swing felt good but there were a couple little things which were off mechanically which was messing with my timing – which just kind of happens. Not only does it happen but it was against some of the better pitchers in the league.“You obviously want to get things right. But sometimes you just have to realize, you know, you’re not supposed to get hits off those guys. For me, that’s hard to just accept. So you start diving into it and you get to a point where you finally start feeling good. Then the quad pops up and you’ve got a couple more days off. It felt like there was a little bit of a scuffle in there, but we’re slowly getting back into it.”Muncy took some more abuse in his first plate appearance Wednesday, getting hit in the foot by a pitch. It was the eighth time this season Muncy has been hit by a pitch – half of them against the Padres.Despite the physical ordeal, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Muncy is “actually right where we need him to be” heading into the postseason.“I think it’s a hard gauge when you come off the IL for a week and you’re facing Syndergaard and deGrom and Wheeler,” Roberts said. “Munce is going to be fine. I think he’s looking over the ball well. Just his presence, as we’ve talked about, in the lineup impacts our club.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img SAN DIEGO — The past month has not been easy for Max Muncy.He took a 95-mph fastball off his right wrist on Aug. 28, suffering a slight fracture. He returned to action just 16 days later but found himself running a pitching gauntlet – the starters in his first four games back were Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Blake Snell.Not surprisingly, Muncy went 1 for his first 15 with six strikeouts in his first four games after returning. Things were looking up in his next two games when he went 3 for 10 with a pair of doubles – then he missed two games with a minor quadriceps injury in his left leg.He returned from that Tuesday and hit the first grand slam of his career – then had to step in against Padres reliever Matt Strahm. It was Strahm who broke Muncy’s wrist with that pitch last month. He uncorked a high fastball that had Muncy shaking his head and later admitting he stood “two feet farther away” from the plate than normal while striking out.last_img read more

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