Now, Doc Rivers wasn’t rooting for Utah to lose its game against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night, but the Clippers coach wasn’t rooting for the Jazz to win, either.
Rivers watched the game with interest because the Jazz are lining up as a potential Western Conference playoff foe for the Clippers, with the two teams dueling for home-court advantage.
The Jazz won the game against the Knicks and have kept their hold on the fourth spot in the West, 1 1/2 games ahead of the fifth-seeded Clippers, who lost to Dallas on Thursday night.
The two teams will meet Saturday at Staples Center.
“I don’t know if you root for a team to lose,” Rivers said. “That’s just bad. You root for the other team to win.”
Rivers smiled and then started laughing.
“It just feels better the other way,” Rivers said. “You feel cleaner the other way. It’s funny. I was just watching, and obviously, when it was on, you go, ‘Hey, the Knicks are playing well. Hope they win.’ Honestly, when it was a five-point game at halftime, I didn’t have a lot of hope in that. Then you just watch it more because that may be one of your opponents, so you watch it.”
Clippers seek another 50-win season
The Clippers have teetered and tottered this season, with injuries and too much inconsistent play a big part in that, but they remain on course for sustained regular-season success.
They are on track to win 50-plus games for the fifth consecutive season, a measure of accomplishment in the NBA’s world.
“It’s not discussed as a team, but it’s an arbitrary benchmark. I think eight of my 10 years, I’ve won 50 games,” J.J. Redick said. “So it would be nice to get there again.”
The Clippers started their run of 50-plus wins during the 2012-13 season, going 56-26.
When Rivers took over the Clippers for the 2013-14 season, L.A. went a franchise-best 57-25.
The Clippers went 56-26 in ’14-15 and 53-29 last season, the decline in victories each season occurring amid injuries.
Even this season, the Clippers have been beset by injuries.
They lost Blake Griffin for 18 games because of right knee surgery and Chris Paul for 14 games because of surgery on his left thumb.
The Clippers are 43-30, and they have nine games left to reach that magic mark.
“If we can somehow get to 50 wins, I think that would be [five] straight years for this group,” Redick said. “I’ve been here four of those years. That’s pretty consistent.”