Clippers Coach Doc Rivers reacts to a call in the second half of the game against… (Don Ryan / Associated Press )
Don't even try to sell Clippers Coach Doc Rivers that his team has become the "hunted."
"There's only one hunted team — Miami," Rivers said, laughing. "That's it. I mean, come on."
And if his players are trying to sell that notion to the media, Rivers quickly dispelled that thought Tuesday at practice.
The Miami Heat is the two-time defending NBA champion, and is hunted every time it plays, Rivers said. He added that after his Boston Celtics won the championship in 2008, they became a hunted team the next season.
Rivers said his team wasn't being hunted by the Phoenix Suns on Monday night. Instead, the Clippers just got beat down by the Suns, 107-88.
"If we think we we're the hunted, they have no idea what the hunted is," Rivers said. "I've been on a hunted team before and that's the year after you win a title. That team is hunted. All the other teams are delusional if they think they are."
So, Rivers was asked while he was laughing, are his players delusional?
"If anybody thinks we're the hunted, yeah. Absolutely," Rivers said, laughing. "That doesn't mean teams aren't up for us. They want to beat us, clearly, because we are one of those teams that are supposed to be good.
"And we have proven so far that we are pretty good. So of course you get excited to play [us]. But there is a whole other energy that comes with playing the Miami Heat, I can guarantee you that. We would love to see that."
Redick making progress
J.J. Redick walked onto the Clippers' practice court Tuesday without a cast, something Rivers said his shooting guard hasn't worn in a week.
Rivers said Redick, who has been recovering from a broken right wrist and torn ligaments on the right side of his hand, is not close to returning yet.
When Redick was injured against the Sacramento Kings on Nov. 29, he was scheduled to be out six to eight weeks.
That would mean he wouldn't return for about three more weeks.
The Clippers are saying that Redick possibly could come back Jan. 15 when they play host to the Dallas Mavericks or when they start a seven-game, 11-day trip in New York on Jan. 17.
Rivers said Redick hasn't done much other than to shoot from "five feet."
"Just talking to J.J., he just said the atrophy, he was amazed how he doesn't have any range of motion," Rivers said. "That's just natural when you have a cast on your wrist."
Also of note on the injury front for the Clippers is that rookie swingman Reggie Bullock, who is out with a sprained right ankle, has been shooting and participating some at practice.
Bullock could possibly return when the Clippers play at Dallas on Friday or at San Antonio on Saturday.