His team gave up too many uncontested shots. It failed to get rebounds there for the taking. It wasn't very heady in the way it executed.
"The bad and good news is I think we can play better," Rivers said Monday. "I think we're going to have to, if you want me to be honest. We can't count on them missing wide-open threes."
Rivers said it would be foolish to expect the Spurs to repeat that performance in Game 2 on Wednesday night at Staples Center, particularly if the Clippers don't improve their defensive execution from the series opener.
"Some of them, they were just really good missed shots, and some of them we just broke our coverage under the disguise of 'I'm playing hard,'" Rivers said. "We have that saying: Hard and smart is better than just hard."
That effort often failed to help the Clippers win the battle of loose balls and long rebounds, another area that irked Rivers. The Clippers gave up 17 offensive rebounds while taking only six themselves.
San Antonio also had a lengthy list of concerns, chief among them
It wasn't all nitpicking for Rivers. The coach praised
"They did it in five different sets where they were in a play and it worked [and] they went right back to it," Rivers said. "It made my day."
The Clippers did not hold an official practice Monday, though a group of reserves showed up to scrimmage one another. Backup forward-center
The Clippers were disappointed to learn Toronto guard
Rivers said Crawford's five-week absence late in the regular season probably cost him the award. Clippers players were not made available to reporters Monday.
Having two days off between games could benefit the Clippers by allowing their starters to continue to log big minutes. Griffin played 42 minutes, DeAndre Jordan 38 and Paul 37 in the series opener. By comparison, no Spurs player played more than
Can the Clippers starters replicate those minute totals the rest of the series?
"Yeah, I think so," Griffin said after Game 1. "We've got two days of rest coming up. As long as we're smart with our bodies and making sure that we're prepared mentally and physically as far as getting rest and all that, I would like to think so, yeah. I missed a lot of games this season, so my legs are a little bit fresher than maybe everybody else's are. Hopefully we can sustain that."
Rivers said he didn't worry his players would make too much of one easier-than-expected victory in a series that could last seven games. In the uh-oh department for Clippers fans, the Spurs lost their playoff opener on the way to NBA titles in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
"We can't get intoxicated with winning one game," Rivers said. "If we do, then we're in trouble. No matter what happens, you're playing a team that's won multiple titles [and] there's nothing you can do to shake their confidence. You just have to keep playing."
And hopefully, from Rivers' perspective, playing more crisply.