Doc Rivers will remember Kobe Bryant for his competitive greatness

first_img“When you lock in both ends of the floor, you get totally into the game and the energy is there,” sixth-man Jamal Crawford said. “Even when you make mistakes you can cover the floor with the energy you are playing with. The energy has been constant and we are just finding different ways to win.”Doc praises StephensonWhen Lance Stephenson has the ball in his hands and he’s coming down court, he’s like a freight train – a rather fast one. Playing 20 minutes in Sunday’s 107-99 victory over Minnesota, he had nine points, six rebounds, three assists, a steal and no turnovers.And, once again, he had as much energy as anyone on the floor.“Lance is as good as there is pushing the ball coast to coast with his power,” Rivers said. “He had that one stretch where he kept it and dribbled and dribbled and shot, and that is not what we want.“But when he comes down and plays downhill and makes decisions like magic, then he is really good.”Rivers made sure reporters knew he did not mean Magic Johnson. We’ve heard it called clutter-free basketball. Josh Smith referred to it as “agenda-free” basketball. It means a group of players not concerning themselves with anything but making the team they are on a more outstanding product.Smith said that includes not worrying about the future, such as “contracts, free agency.” For the Clippers, that’s vital because Smith is one of several players working with one-year contracts. In the case of Lance Stephenson, he is on a two-year contract, but the second year is a team option. The Golden State Warriors were 18-0 before their game Monday at Utah, and they play agenda-free basketball. The Clippers want to be this way, and they seem to be inching their way in that direction.“We just have to focus on one game at a time and then what can we do to better this team and apply that to each and every game,” said Smith, whose team had won three of its past four games ahead of Monday’s with the Portland Trail Blazers. “When guys are not focused on other distractions, I think that we could be possibly one of the best teams in the league.”Crawford sees differenceIt’s true that the three recent victories – over Denver, New Orleans and Minnesota – came against mediocre teams. But the Clippers – 9-8 before Monday – have been playing with more intensity from start to finish. L.A. Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Monday gave the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant perhaps the best compliment that can be given a player.“He has his games, he’s playing well and not that well,” Rivers said of Bryant, who Sunday announced he is retiring at the end of this season. “Obviously, he still stands for the same thing, though, when you watch him play. He’s still very aggressive, he’s still one of the most competitive players on the floor, whether he’s playing well or not.“And I think that’s, to me, what I’ll remember most about Kobe, is how competitive he was. I think we all remember the talent and all the crazy great things he’s done in his career. But I think it was all made possible with his ticker, the heart and the toughness that he had. I think that’s what made him great. I think that’s what separated him from everybody else.”Agenda-free basketballcenter_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img