Steve Clifford Rumors
Clifford is in Orlando now, and he understands better than ever the importance of taking care of himself and monitoring his own health in a business where keeping your job depends largely on winning. He took significant steps to improve his sleep patterns and overall health, this after a previous heart scare as well. The 57-year-old Clifford said the support from Kerr helped. “It was great,” Clifford said of Kerr’s phone call. “He was one of the guys who reached out and obviously we had the health issue in common. It was a terrific gesture.”
“His play has been good because of his offseason,” Clifford told me recently. “He had a terrific August and a terrific September. I noticed he started really amping things up in July. He came into camp in a good place. When you work really hard at something and you’re talented, you play well. “It’s not very hard to find ways to get him shots,” Clifford continued. “His elevation. He has explosiveness. And he does not need much room to get a good shot off. Off staggers or pin-downs or whatever it is, you can’t let him get loose. Because if he makes his first couple, it’s over.”
Do you look at (Nikola Vucevic) as being an All-Star player, Steve? Clifford: Definitely. He’s also a much, much, much better defender than I had realized. He’s very smart, his pick-and-roll defense has been good, he’s a very good defensive rebounder – he always has been – and he’s a terrific competitor.
Josh Robbins: Steve Clifford said he liked his team’s energy & focus yesterday and this morning. Clifford said: “I’ll be surprised if we don’t play well tonight. I’m not saying, ‘We’re going to come out and do this (or that).’ I’ll be surprised if we don’t play hard and play a lot better.”
Coach Steve Clifford has tried multiple lineup combinations to find a second unit that can compete. On Monday night in Sacramento, he opened the second quarter with Simmons, Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and Mo Bamba on the floor, but even that quintet struggled, allowing a 14-2 run to the Kings. The Magic never recovered. “It was a problem, and we just struggled to score,” Clifford said. “You have to find a way. I just have to find one. I don’t know how to do it. We’ve got to find a way so we have enough shooting on the floor all the time to create spacing. It’s a problem. There’s just not a lot of room with some of the lineups out there for anybody to have a place to go, and it makes it hard.”