Best to keep your en­e­mies happy

Doc Rivers of­fers some All-Star Game ad­vice to coach Steve Kerr

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY BRIAN MAHONEY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

If Doc Rivers had any ad­vice for Steve Kerr, it would prob­a­bly be to for­get about Kevin Du­rant and Stephen Curry at the All-Star Game.

Worry about mak­ing Rus­sell West­brook happy, in­stead.

Rivers said his strat­egy when he coached the mid­sea­son game was to make sure the guys who could beat him later weren’t mad at him, even at the ex­pense of play­ing time for his own play­ers.

“I made sure they loved me, the other ones,” Rivers said. “I knew my guys liked me. That was not my con­cern.”

Kerr will coach the West­ern Con­fer­ence in Sun­day’s game in New Or­leans, and his team in­cludes four of his own Golden State play­ers and West­brook. Judg­ing by the way Du­rant and West­brook barked at each other Satur­day when the War­riors played in Ok­la­homa City for the first time since Du­rant switched teams over the sum­mer, it’s clear some icy feel­ings re­main.

Rivers coached the East in 2008 and 2011 while with Bos­ton, and he didn’t bother ask­ing his Celtics who they wanted to play with, or how much they wanted to play.

“Like, I would bench them,” Rivers said. “But I didn’t want some guy try­ing to score 50 on us when we played them, so I was re­ally good at that and I went to each guy, ‘How much do you want to play? Do you want to play?”’

Kerr led the West to vic­tory in 2015 as a rookie coach. He re­mem­bers con­grat­u­lat­ing the play­ers se­lected and pok­ing fun at them with a light-hearted video - which may not work again with West­brook’s in­ten­sity - and re­calls do­ing lit­tle coach

“I re­mem­ber hand­ing the ball to Chris Paul seven straight times and turn­ing to the as­sis­tants and say­ing, ‘You know, what a phe­nom­e­nal coach­ing job that was, giv­ing the ball to Chris like that,”’ he joked. “No­body else could have thought of that.”

NO LOVE ON VALEN­TINE’S DAY Kevin Love will sit out Cleve­land’s game against Min­nesota on Tues­day be­cause of a sore left knee that will re­quire treat­ment dur­ing the week and may put his abil­ity to play in the Al­lS­tar Game in jeop­ardy.

OTHER ALL-STAR IN­JURIES?

Be­sides Love, a cou­ple play­ers with All-Star week­end plans are bat­tling in­juries. Or­lando’s Aaron Gor­don, back in the dunk con­test af­ter los­ing a thriller to Zach LaVine last year, is bat­tling a bone bruise in his right foot. Philadel­phia rookie Joel Em­biid, set for the Ris­ing Stars Chal­lenge and the Skills Chal­lenge, has missed nine straight games with an in­jured left knee.

KLAY’S OK Klay Thompson will de­fend his 3-point ti­tle af­ter out­du­el­ing team­mate Stephen Curry last year in Toronto. Curry is not en­tered but three other All-Stars are in the field: Kyle Lowry (Rap­tors), Kyrie Irv­ing (Cleve­land) and Kemba Walker (Char­lotte). BIG CHAL­LENGE For the sec­ond straight year, big men will com­pete in the Skills Chal­lenge, the timed ob­sta­cle course fea­tur­ing drib­bling, pass­ing and shoot­ing. An­thony Davis, DeMar­cus Cousins, Em­biid and Kristaps Porzingis will try to make it 2 for 2 af­ter Min­nesota’s Kar­lAn­thony Towns won last year. The guards en­tered are Isa­iah Thomas, John Wall and Devin Booker, along with small for­ward Gor­don Hay­ward.

NORTH­ERN CAL­I­FOR­NIA RIVALRY Golden State and Sacramento meet again Wed­nes­day for the first time since the Kings knocked off the War­riors in over­time on Feb. 4 in their last meet­ing.

STAT LINE OF THE WEEK Dray­mond Green, War­riors: four points, 12 re­bounds, 10 as­sists and 10 steals in Golden State’s 122-107 vic­tory over Mem­phis on Fri­day. The Al­lS­tar for­ward be­came the first player in league his­tory to have a triple-dou­ble with fewer than 10 points.

AP PHOTO

Los An­ge­les Clippers head coach Doc Rivers re­acts to a call dur­ing Satur­day’s NBA game against the Char­lotte Hor­nets in Char­lotte, N.C.

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