After the Clippers' 21-point loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 5 on Tuesday, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers used one of his son's report cards to make a point to his team.
"He just told us a story about a C average, about Austin [Rivers] having a C average, and he knew that Austin could do better," Glen Davis said Thursday morning of Doc Rivers. "He knows that we can do better, and we will do better today."
The Clippers have a 3-2 lead over the Rockets in their best-of-seven second-round playoff series, with Game 6 set for Thursday at Staples Center at 7:30 p.m. PDT. If the Clippers win Game 6, they will advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in their 45-year franchise history. If they lose, they will face a winner-takes-all Game 7 in Houston on Sunday.
"We don't want to go to Game 7 down in Houston," J.J. Redick said Thursday morning.
In Tuesday's game, the Rockets outscored the Clippers in points in the paint, 64-46, and in fast-break points, 17-3. The Rockets outshot the Clippers from the field, 54.1% to 41.8%, and outrebounded them, 58-39.
"The word I kept hearing in our locker room after the game on Tuesday night was disappointed," Redick said. "I think we were disappointed in ourselves, not just Xs and O's, but we're better than that. We're better than the effort we gave in Game 5."
The Clippers have won both of their home games against the Rockets by large margins this series -- they won Game 3 by 25 points and Game 4 by 33 points. But Davis said winning a close-out game is a different beast.
"The focus level has to go to a whole 'nother level," Davis said. "Attention to detail, energy, there is a whole bunch of stuff that goes in the bag in order to finish a game. We need to make sure we put those things in the bag in order to take the series."
Davis is the only Clippers player who has won an NBA championship -- he did it under Rivers with the Boston Celtics in 2008. Heading into Thursday's game, he said the team needs to deeply understand one very important thing.
"We're better than a C average," Davis said.