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.