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    Clippers’ Amir Coffey gaining confidence with expanded role
    • May 2, 2024

    LOS ANGELES — Amir Coffey has started twice in place of injured Clippers star Kawhi Leonard in their first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks and with each pass and basket made, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue has seen a change in his confidence level.

    “He’s always been able to attack in transition. He can make a shot,” Lue said. “He used to run more pick-and-roll when Kawhi (Leonard) and PG (Paul George) were out but he can defend. He can defend multiple positions.

    “So, just his confidence, I think his growth, understanding the NBA game, understanding what we need from him on a nightly basis, and he’s grown, and he’s gotten better and better. So, it’s just good to see that he could finally be in the rotation and get consistent minutes too.”

    Coffey started his third playoff game Wednesday as Leonard was ruled out the day before because of chronic inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee. Although he hasn’t posted big numbers (averaging 3 points, 1.8 rebounds, .5 assists), Coffey’s presence has bolstered the Clippers’ defense.

    “First couple of years I wasn’t playing as much, so it’s kind of just accumulated off the court in these past one or two games, being able to show my game to my coaching staff and my teammates,” Coffey said of his self-assurance after Game 1. “So, I guess it’s just kind of been growing a little bit.”

    His teammates have noticed. Terance Mann said Coffey never let doubt creep in, staying positive despite limited minutes.

    “A lot of guys in his position, they get uncomfortable with having to wait and they either just stop going to the gym or just start worrying about other things, letting the outside noise get into their ear,” Mann said. “He never did that. He stayed locked in, stayed patient throughout the whole way.

    “I think it was his third year, he had a great year, and then the next year he wasn’t able to play that much, and a lot of guys would let that get to them, but he stuck through it. He trusted the coaching staff, he trusted the front office and now look at us. So, it’s pretty cool.”


    Lue said Wednesday there wasn’t a sense of urgency heading into Game 5. The Clippers regained home-court advantage with their victory in Game 4 in Dallas that evened the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

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    “We understand what’s at stake. We understand we got home court back; we understand we gotta come out with a defensive mindset tonight to start the game. So just like we did in Game 4. Nothing changes.”


    The Clippers made an eye-catching 18 of 36 3-point shots in Game 1 and 18 of 29 in Game 4 that led to victories.

    “We have to do a better job in keeping the Clippers away from the 3-point line and making it tougher to get shots,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “They have shot 3’s really well in their two wins; we’ve gotta do a better job of taking them off the 3-point line.

    “When you’re talking about Paul George, he can make tough shots, (James) Harden can make tough shots. So even with running them off, they can make tough shots, or guarding them without fouling they can still make them. So, you just gotta make sure that there’s no freebies where they get easy ones. It’s the easy ones that can hurt you.”

    ​ Orange County Register