Clippers prepare for final game of trip knowing they face their biggest test in Toronto
Long after the Clippers had lost an agonizing, mistake-filled game to the Indiana Pacers, coach Doc Rivers eased his way down a hallway inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday night and explained why it had taken him so long to address the media.
Rivers essentially had to come to grips with the way the Clippers melted down in the final 1 minute and 28 seconds of a winnable game.
His team had turned the ball over on three consecutive occasions after the score was tied 102-102.
So Rivers needed to do something for his own peace of mind in the coaches’ office before he spoke.
“I was laying on the floor meditating,” Rivers said.
That, in part, allowed Rivers to let go of the pain he felt from his team’s stinging 109-104 loss.
“I’ve let it go, can’t you tell?” Rivers said, smiling. “No, really, I talked to the team, told them what it is. It still doesn’t mean you’re not upset by it. There’s nothing you can do about it. We will be ready for Sunday. I’m going to watch the film and that’s not going to be a happy thing to watch. We just got to get better.”
Rivers admitted that first he has to move on himself before he can talk to the team about moving forward.
“Oh, it’s easy for me. It’s always been easy for me,” Rivers said. “I take every loss hard. That’s just me. I’m competitive. That’s what coaches do. That’s why we look like we look. That’s why our health is poor. That’s why we don’t get sleep.
The final game on this four-game trip is against the best team of the group.
The Toronto Raptors have won eight of their last 10 games and are the top team in the Eastern Conference.
“We realized it wasn’t going to be perfect. We realized we were playing some solid teams,” Lou Williams, who had one of the late-game turnovers, said Friday night. “We knew we had a tough schedule coming up. We talked about that before we left L.A. That was what you guys [in the media] talked about before we left L.A. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy road. So you get ready for the next one and realize there is even a bigger challenge waiting for us in Toronto. So you got to have a short memory span and move on to the next one.”
When: 3 p.m., Sunday
On the air: TV — Prime Ticket; Radio — 570, 1330.
Update: The Raptors have the best record in the Eastern Conference and are just half a game behind the Golden State Warriors for the second-best record in the NBA at 54-19. The Raptors are third in the league in scoring (112.5 points per game) and tied for eighth in points allowed (104.2). They have one of the top backcourts in the NBA in All-Stars DeMar DeRozan, who is 11th in the league in scoring (23.6), and Kyle Lowry, who is ninth in assists (6.8).
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