Emotion evident in Clippers-Warriors

Updated: April 18, 2014, 9:33 PM ET
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- Two days after Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson called out Clippers star Blake Griffin for flopping and playing out of control, L.A. coach Doc Rivers said he wants Griffin to keep doing what he's been doing this season, even if that includes flopping.

"That's Klay's opinion; I don't really care," Rivers said Friday. "I just keep looking at what Blake's done. If he's flopping, then keep doing it because those numbers look awful good to me. So flop on. That's the way I look at it. Whatever he's done this year, I want him to keep doing exactly that. When the votes come for MVP, he'll be in the top three.

"I'm good with anything anybody says. Blake, you just keep doing what you're doing. What's happening is Blake is kicking a lot of people's butts and they need something to say about him."

Griffin didn't want to get into a war of words with Golden State but acknowledged it would be impossible to leave his emotions behind when the Clippers and Warriors open their Western Conference first-round series Saturday.

"I don't think you can leave the emotions behind," Griffin said. "I think both teams need that to a certain extent. You can't be too emotional where it's affecting your play, but you have to play with some emotion. You can't take that out of the game."

Griffin wouldn't go as far as to say the Clippers hate the Warriors, but he did say there was a dislike between certain players on both teams.

"I don't know if 'hate' is a great word," Griffin said. "This is basketball. We have to go against each other. The dislike may be there for some guys on both teams, but I don't know about hate. I don't know if I would hate a basketball player because I play against him."

Clippers forward Matt Barnes didn't have as much of a problem saying there was some hate involved in what has become one of the more contentious rivalries in the league.

"We're two similar teams that historically have been towards the bottom and have a chance to fight for the title now," Barnes said. "So there's going to be some animosity, hostility and hatred."

When the teams met last month in Oakland, Jermaine O'Neal confronted Griffin in the hallway near the Clippers' locker room, and Griffin told O'Neal to "leave that s--- on the court."

On Friday, Griffin said he wasn't sure if O'Neal still had issues with him.

"I don't have Jermaine's number," Griffin said. "I don't really talk to him so I don't know if there's a lingering issue or not."

If it were up to Barnes, the series would be a throwback to the physical 1980s series showcased in ESPN's "30 for 30" documentary "Bad Boys" about the Detroit Pistons of that era.

"Hopefully the refs will let us be more physical," Barnes said. "I think that's what the playoffs are for. After watching 'Bad Boys' last night, I just wish we could go back 20 years and play that way, but hopefully it will be a little more physical.

"You just wish the game could be more physical. If I did some of the fouls I saw [in the documentary], I'd probably have to find a new job. I'd have to take my kids out of private school and cut my wife's allowance."

Arash Markazi

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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