Flecks of confetti were still fluttering through the air inside the Toyota Center last May when Doc Rivers spoke of the other side of playoff celebrations.
The Clippers coach told his dejected players about pledging his heart to his team throughout his career as an NBA point guard, only for it to be repeatedly broken.
When Rivers became a coach, the same thing happened. He devoted himself fully, through stops in Orlando and Boston, only to feel the emptiness of defeat year after year.
Finally, after 13 years as a player and nine more as a coach, Rivers felt whole. His Boston Celtics won the NBA title in 2008.
Rivers vowed to do the same with the...