Clippers Coach Doc Rivers broke down after his team's loss to Boston on Wednesday night. He had just learned of the death of Ingrid Williams, wife of Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams.
Ingrid Williams, 44, was seriously injured in an car accident Tuesday night and died at a hospital the following night.
“I’ve known them since they were married,” said Rivers, who was so emotionally overcome when informed of the news after the game that a trainer had to be summoned.
“There’s no words. There really isn’t. I’m heartbroken, sick to death and once again it puts this stuff we do in perspective. This is awful. Obviously, our love and our support and all that, but sometimes that doesn’t seem fair. There’s no better human being in the world than Monty and Ingrid and for this to happen, sometimes you question everything and this is one of those times, for me at least.”
Rivers wasn't the only one feeling that way. Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant got so choked up he wasn't able to get through a session with reporters.
“I feel for him man,” Durant said of his assistant coach. “He's someone we all love. I just don't know what to say, I'm sorry.”
Denver Coach Michael Malone also was emotional when discussing the tragedy following his team's win over Detroit.
“I apologized to the team. The first half, I coached very angry,” he said. “I don't know if you guys heard -- Monty Williams, a good friend of mine, his wife was killed in an accident.”
After a long pause, Malone said, “So I apologized to them because it's taking my anger out on them, and they don't deserve that.”
The Thunder released a statement: "The Thunder organization has heavy hearts tonight with the news of Ingrid's passing. Words cannot adequately describe how deep our sorrow is for the loss of Monty's wife. Our thoughts and prayers are with Monty and his family, and we will support him in every way possible. We know the entire community of Oklahoma City has them in their prayers."
Monty Williams is in his first year with Oklahoma City after five seasons as head coach in New Orleans. The Pelicans held a moment of silence before their game against Utah and issued a statement on behalf of their owners.
"Ingrid was beloved by the Pelicans organization and the New Orleans community and will forever be remembered as one of the most generous, kind and humble individuals we've ever known," it said.
Others in the NBA community expressed their sorrow through tweets later that night.
Ingrid Williams was fatally injured when an oncoming car crossed the center line and hit her SUV. That driver was pronounced dead on the scene, according to Oklahoma City police.
Times staff writer Ben Bolch contributed to this report.