After another sloppy, lackadaisical game from Clippers, Doc Rivers went off on team

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Doc Rivers did everything but throw bats in the showers and call them lollygaggers.

The Clippers got their doors blown off by Golden State Wednesday night and if you watched the previous four L.A. games it wasn’t really a shock — the team has had long stretches of sloppy, disinterested play in all their games. It frankly is more of a surprise (and speaks to the talent level on this team) that they are still 3-2 this season. This is not a team working to build off last season’s success (that’s what Golden State looked like), the Clippers are a team coasting and expecting things to just come to them.

That frustrated Doc Rivers, who first held a long team meeting after the game, then when he didn’t think that went well vented to the media about his team. Dan Woike of the Orange County Register laid out all of Doc’s quotes, starting with what went on in that postgame meeting.

“I didn’t say much. I just let them blow smoke up each other’s asses. That’s all they did, in my opinion. I just think if you’re going to talk, you’ve got to be real. I’m not a big fan of group meetings unless they’re real group meetings.”

Okay… how did Blake Griffin play?

“He has to rebound better. Our guys have to give him room. There was no space today. Listen, Blake is a great player, but if we give him no space, no room, there’s no ball movement, there’s no people movement and there’s no hard cuts, you can guard Blake. The way we moved on the floor tonight…Were we tired? We may have been. Was it five games in seven nights? But what we lacked was heart. I don’t mind being tired, and we can use that as an excuse, but listen, I just know me. If I’m tired and getting my butt kicked, I’m going to leave the game with no fouls left. That, to me, was just weak on our part. I’ve got to do something better. Alright? We have holes on our team, I know that. But, we should be covering up for them. I don’t think we’re doing a very good job. We’re leaving the guys that aren’t good defenders on an island instead of being there to help them. Right now, this is not the same group from last year. And it’s the same group. So, we have to figure that out.”

What about Steve Kerr’s Warriors?

“They came here to kick our butts. David Lee, it looked like he worked out for a month just to get back for this game. I mean, my God. They were running to this game. And we ran away from the game.”

It’s November, it is way, way too early to make any sweeping assessments of where any team in the league is, that includes the Clippers. It will be more telling to see where these teams are when they face off again Christmas Day, but even then we’re in the first half of the marathon.

After Wednesday’s game Doc was trying to light a fire that he shouldn’t have to ignite — that’s on Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and the other leaders on this team. The Clippers did not come out this season looking like a team that wanted to work and take that next step to be contenders, they came out coasting like they thought hey already were. And it shows.

They are still a talented and good team, but they are not looking like a team that has the fire it will take to get out of the deep West this season come the playoffs. Golden State does. The good news for Clippers fans is that it is very, very early in the season. Right now nothing is set in stone.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.