Top Ad
I DIG Radio
www.idigradio.com
Listen live to the best music from around the world!
I DIG Style
www.idigstyle.com
Learn about the latest fashion styles and more...

Rivers on Clippers' demise: 'I'll take any blame'

Written by 
Published in Basketball
Wednesday, 16 September 2020 00:43

Not long after the LA Clippers' season came crashing down in stunning fashion, coach Doc Rivers said the finger can be pointed at him for the team's failure to meet its enormous championship expectations.

After the Clippers completely unraveled for a third straight game in a 104-89 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Rivers said the title expectations were not too heavy for his team even though the Clippers fell short of reaching what many thought all season would be a West finals showdown against the Los Angeles Lakers.

"We didn't meet them," Rivers said of the expectations. "That's the bottom line. I'm the coach and I'll take any blame for it. But we didn't meet our expectations, clearly, because if we had, in my opinion, we'd still be playing."

The Clippers squandered a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series in epic fashion. They lost double-digit leads of 16, 19 and 12 points in the past three games, respectively, as the franchise's Western Conference finals drought reached 50 years.

Rivers is the only coach in NBA history to lose a 3-1 lead in three playoff series, also doing so with Clippers in the 2015 West semis against the Houston Rockets and with the Orlando Magic in the first round against the Detroit Pistons in 2003.

This team, though, was considered a championship contender from the moment the Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard in free agency and traded for Paul George.

"We're pissed off," said Lou Williams, who struggled and shot 4-for-27 from beyond the arc in the series against Denver. "Simple and plain. We're pissed off. We were up 3-1. We had two opportunities to win this series and we didn't."

Williams added: "I think a lot of the issues that we ran into, talent bailed us out; chemistry it didn't. In this series, it failed us."

Leonard, a two-time NBA Finals MVP who led the Toronto Raptors to a championship last season before signing with Los Angeles in free agency, said the Clippers have to improve their basketball IQ and develop chemistry, like championship teams, following their stunning collapse.

"We just couldn't make no shots," said Leonard, who shot 1-for-11 in the second half. "That's when it comes to the team chemistry, knowing what we should run to get the ball in spots, or just if someone's getting doubled or they're packing the paint, try to make other guys make shots and we gotta know what exact spots we need to be.

"And you know, just gotta carry over and get smarter as a team. Get smarter. Basketball IQ got to get better."

In the biggest game of the season, Leonard and George combined to shoot 10-for-38, including 4-of-18 from beyond the arc, for a total of 24 points in Game 7. Once things began unraveling in the second half for the third straight game, the Clippers looked completely paralyzed as the Nuggets outscored them 50-28 over the final 22 minutes, 50 seconds.

"I was never comfortable, I just wasn't," Rivers about the Clippers' 3-1 series lead. "I just knew conditioning-wise, like we had guys that just couldn't play minutes, and that's hard, you know. I mean, there were two or three times a night where we actually started getting it going and a guy had to come out. I mean, it is what it is. So no, I was never comfortable, I can tell you that up front. I told our coaches that."

It has been a struggle all season for the Clippers to find chemistry. Leonard and George slowly worked their way back from injuries coming into the season. Meshing the two stars with last season's gritty group of veterans who overachieved was a chore. And the Clippers dealt with constant interruptions from injuries to midseason additions. Once they started showing a glimpse of coming together, the coronavirus pandemic hit and the season was halted for four-plus months.

Not long after they arrived to the bubble for the season restart, life got in the way and the Clippers were disrupted again by Montrezl Harrell, Williams and Patrick Beverley having to leave for funerals for loved ones. The three key role players all missed time because they were out of the bubble and later had to quarantine. Harrell was off the floor for a month.

"A lot of adversity we dealt with," said George, who shot 1-for-7 in the second half. "Rightfully so. You know, guys had to go home for rightful reasons. We just missed a lot of time being together with injuries in the regular season and inside the bubble."

George says the organization has talked about how the Clippers are built to contend for more than this season. But it will take some time for the team to get over the latest stain on a franchise history littered with losing and heartbreak.

"It was obvious pressure to live up to the title expectations," George said. "But as a player, I mean, you want that. ... It's no cop-out. Fact of the matter is, we didn't live up to that expectation.

"But I think internally, we've always felt, this is not a championship-or-bust year for us. You know, we can only get better the longer we stay together and the more we're around each other. More chemistry for [the] group, the better. I think that's really the tale of the tape of this season. We just didn't have enough time together."

Read 10 times

Leave a comment

Soccer

Philadelphia routs Inter Miami in Higuain debut

Philadelphia routs Inter Miami in Higuain debut

Anthony Fontana, Ilsinho and Brenden Aaronson each scored one goal to lift the host Philadelphia Uni...

Barca teen Fati living 'dream' starring with Messi

Barca teen Fati living 'dream' starring with Messi

Teenager Ansu Fati offered Barcelona a glimpse of what life may be like without Lionel Messi with a...

Ronaldo double helps Juve rally for Roma draw

Ronaldo double helps Juve rally for Roma draw

Cristiano Ronaldo's second goal of the night rescued a 2-2 draw for 10-man Juventus away to AS Roma...

Basketball

Celtics done in yet again by late-game lapses

Celtics done in yet again by late-game lapses

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- This season, the Boston Celtics reached the Eastern Conference finals for...

NBA Finals: Storylines and stats that matter ahead of Lakers-Heat

NBA Finals: Storylines and stats that matter ahead of Lakers-Heat

There aren't many days that go by during the NBA season when LeBron James doesn't use lessons he lea...

Baseball

LeMahieu wins AL batting title; Voit (22) most HRs

LeMahieu wins AL batting title; Voit (22) most HRs

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees lost six of their last eight regular-season games, which included s...

2020 MLB playoffs: Why this could be the wildest postseason ... ever

2020 MLB playoffs: Why this could be the wildest postseason ... ever

It will be a Major League Baseball postseason like we've never seen before: 16 teams, no fans, playe...

Sports Leagues

  • FIFA

    Fédération Internationale de Football Association
  • NBA

    National Basketball Association
  • ATP

    Association of Tennis Professionals
  • MLB

    Major League Baseball
  • ITTF

    International Table Tennis Federation

Sponsored Links

I DIG® Newspapers
www.idignewspapers.com
I Dig® Newspapers, stay up to date with the latest news from around the world.
I DIG® Casino
www.idigcasinos.com
I Dig® Casino, explore our online casino games, play a wide range of free slots and casino games at our online casino today.
I DIG® Radio
www.idigradio.com
I Dig® Radio HD is the only place in the internet where you can find free, super high bit rate internet radio stations from around the world. On I Dig® Radio HD you can find free radio stations streaming at 256kbps.

About Us

I Dig® is a leading global brand that makes it more enjoyable to surf the internet, conduct transactions and access, share, and create information.  Today I Dig® attracts millions of users every month.

 

Phone: (800) 737. 6040
Fax: (800) 825 5558
Website: www.idig.com
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Affiliated