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Clippers stay the course in a tense moment

Clippers stay the course in a tense moment
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers calls to players during the first half of a game against the Grizzlies on March 9. (Brandon Dill / Associated Press)

It was a tense moment that could have caused some turbulence for a Clippers group that admitted they have been searching for answers.

Instead, when Chris Paul yelled at Austin Rivers for back-to-back mishaps in the first quarter of the Clippers' game at Memphis on Thursday night and when Coach Doc Rivers also loudly expressed his dismay at Austin for a lack of effort on that sequence, all of them collected themselves and moved forward.

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It could have been a dividing time, but instead it seemed to ignite the Clippers and powered them to a victory over the Grizzlies.

Rivers had turned the basketball over on a mixup with Blake Griffin in the middle of the first quarter. Instead of getting back on defense, Rivers stayed on one side of the court as Memphis guard Mike Conley eased in for a breakaway layup.

Doc Rivers called a timeout and Paul, who was on the bench, got up and yelled, "You gotta get back," at Austin.

"It all starts on defense. If you do get a turnover, get back. You know what I mean?" Paul said late Thursday night in a much happier Clippers locker room. "That's what we were talking about and that's how you really build trust. Defense is something that's effort and we can do it nightly. That's what we're trying to do."

As Doc Rivers walked onto court with his staff, he also had some words for Austin, who was unhappy with the bashing.

"That was the talk and they're telling the truth," Doc Rivers said. "What we can't do is get down on a play and then don't get the next play in. And what CP was saying, '[Forget] that. Blake and you [messed] it up. It's over. But don't let it carry to two plays.'"

Before the timeout was over, DeAndre Jordan wrapped his arm around Austin Rivers while both were seated on the bench, the Clippers' defensive captain seemingly reassuring his young teammate that all would be OK.

Doc Rivers even designed the play for his son out of the timeout, a three-pointer that he missed. Eventually, Austin righted his game and became the Clippers' leading scorer with 20 points on seven-for-10 shooting.

Later in the third quarter, Jordan yelled at Redick. But that quickly subsided.

"That's what we have to do every night," Doc Rivers said. "Everybody has to take it. Like, J.J. and Austin have to tell CP that and he has to take it. And that's what I told our guys and they all said, 'Yeah.' So now everybody is cheering for each other."

Up next

CLIPPERS VS PHILADELPHIA

When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Radio: 570, 1330.

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Records: Clippers 39-26; 76ers 23-41.

Records vs. 76ers: 0-1.

Update: The Clippers will be playing their seventh game in 11 days. They are 3-3 in those first six games. The 76ers have lost three consecutive games and are 3-7 in their last 10 games.

Follow Broderick Turner on Twitter @BA_Turner

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