Doc Rivers frequently stood with his arms folded on the sideline, a glum look on his face as the game against the Dallas Mavericks slowly slipped into oblivion, his coaching chops being tested like never before while he has been with the Clippers.
Injuries have ravaged the Clippers, sending them into the darkness, a 108-82 wipeout to the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center yet another gloomy step L.A. has taken in the two games Blake Griffin has been out with a sprained left medial collateral ligament injury to his knee.
But even when the Clippers were in the midst of going down by as much as 33 points in the fourth quarter, even when all was assuredly lost on this Saturday afternoon, Rivers never stopped coaching, and neither did his assistant coaches Mike Woodson, Sam Cassell, Brendan O’Connor and the rest of his staff.
“The teaching doesn’t stop,” Rivers said. “You just got to keep teaching them. The hard part about teaching and losing is your players get dispirited. They get down and so you got to somehow try to teach them and try to make it as positive as possible, which is very difficult because most young guys when they hear teaching, it’s negative to them. So we got to walk a fine line there right now.”
Even veteran Lou Williams took time to explain things to the rookies and younger players, often showing them a play or just encouraging them.
Often in the fourth quarter during a timeout, Williams would pull one of them aside for a chat.
He was trying to mentor C.J. (six points), Wilson (eight), Thornwell (nine) and Evans (five) on the right way to play the game.
“Just got to grow,” Lou Williams said about his message to the young players. “That’s it. You just got to grow and learn from your mistakes. Obviously during the game you see things when you’re watching that may be able to help the guys on the floor. That’s all.”
There was a bit of frustration in the group, arriving in the second quarter when Austin Rivers was hit with a technical foul after he had complained too effusively about no foul being called on a drive to the basket.
“We just got to respond to adversity better than we did today,” Lou Williams said. “We’ve got a lot of guys out and other guys have to step in. We’ve just got to do a better job.”
DeAndre Jordan provided a double-double for the Clippers with 17 rebounds and 14 points, and he also had two blocked shots.
But the Clippers’ primary offensive weapons, Lou Williams and Rivers, struggled with their shots.
Williams went four for 16 to get his 18 points and Rivers went four for 15 to get his nine.
“It’s all teaching now,” Doc Rivers said. “I mean, just think about it. This is what you do when you’re in a time like this. You just teach guys. You’re not going to win. You try to win and you may sneak one out.”