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The impact of Martin Luther King Jr. is a talking point for Doc Rivers and the Clippers

Doc Rivers directs the Clippers in a game earlier this season.
Doc Rivers directs the Clippers in a game earlier this season.
(Duane Burleson / Associated Press)

Doc Rivers has seen to it that his role with the Clippers is more than just coach of the team.

On Martin Luther King Day, Rivers again made sure to impart his wisdom to his players about the importance of the civil rights icon.

The Clippers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night at Staples Center in one of TNT’s nationally televised games on MLK Day.

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“There’s no way you can explain to any group of people the impact of Martin Luther King in a two-minute pregame speech. I can tell you that,” Rivers said. “We talk about stuff all the time.

“And for the young guys, it’s just don’t take this day for granted. This day, a lot of people never thought would actually come. But we’ll share stuff before the game. I don’t even do it on just today. And not just Martin Luther King. There are so many great leaders, like Gandhi. It’s just a lot of leaders that we can teach our players life lessons.”

Griffin keeps working

While the rest of the Clippers were finishing a shoot-around Monday morning, Blake Griffin was at another basket working yet again in his push to return from right knee surgery.

Griffin had the arthroscopic procedure to remove loose bodies from his knee on Dec. 20. The Clippers said he was expected to return in four to six weeks after his surgery.

It has been four weeks, leaving his possible return now close to the end of the month.

“He looks great,” Rivers said. “I don’t think the time frame will change, but I do think he looks great. I know he feels wonderful. Looks like he’s explosive again.”

Griffin hasn’t talked to the media since he was injured, but his teammates say the power forward has worked tirelessly to come back after missing the last 15 games.

The Clippers have gone 9-6 since losing Griffin, counting Monday’s win over Oklahoma City.

“I think everybody’s thing with him is just be patient with it,” Austin Rivers said. “You don’t want him to come back early and God forbid he has to go through the whole process again.”

Etc.

Clippers forward Wesley Johnson wasn’t at the Thunder game because of the birth of his son on Saturday.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter: @BA_Turner


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