Doc Rivers stood with his back against a wall, his exasperation loud and clear each time the Clippers coach pontificated on the varying degrees of how they went about their business of losing, 107-91, to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night at the Target Center.
Rivers pointed out how the team "lost our spirit" during the game when the Clippers offense sputtered.
He proclaimed that the Clippers have "got to get better" after they lost for the fifth time in eight games since the All-Star break.
And he admitted how it was a "frustrating game to watch," especially with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer attending.
"We cannot allow our offense to dictate how we're going to play," Rivers said. "And today, you could see it all over the floor. Guys were missing layups. Wide-open threes, wide-open shots and they let it take their spirit away. That's what young teams do. Not veteran teams."
The Clippers got down 15 points in the first quarter and again in the second.
When the lead grew to 18 points in the fourth on a Tyus Jones three-pointer, Rivers called time out with 2 minutes 24 seconds remaining.
He knew the game was over and that it was now best to rest the starters for the Clippers' game in Memphis on Thursday night.
"That was a frustrating game to watch, from my standpoint," Rivers said. "Listen, we've got to get better."
The Clippers scored the first two points in the game, but the Timberwolves went on a 15-0 run and opened a 21-6 lead in the first quarter.
Upset, Rivers pulled starters DeAndre Jordan, J.J. Redick and Luc Mbah a Moute and replaced them with reserves Jamal Crawford, Marreese Speights and Austin Rivers with 5:32 left in the first quarter.
"It wasn't quick enough," Rivers said. "No, I'm serious, it wasn't quick enough. I should have done it literally four minutes earlier than that. … I honestly waited too long."
And then there was the play of Karl-Anthony Towns, who Rivers said "killed us again tonight" after the Minnesota center had 29 points and 14 rebounds.
"We've got to get our spirit right, whether we're making shots or missing shots," said Chris Paul, who missed six of the nine shots he took, three of his four three-point shots.
"Like seriously. We've got to figure it out. It's more than just whether we're making or missing shots. We've just got to get the spirit right as a team."
How does this happen to a veteran team like the Clippers, a team with so-called championship aspirations?
"I don't know," Paul said. "That's a good question. If I knew, I'd tell you."
The Clippers have had Blake Griffin (right knee surgery) and Paul (left thumb surgery) both back from the injured list for seven games, making the team whole.
Still, they sound mystified about how they can solve their issues with 18 regular-season games remaining.
"At this point in the season, you shouldn't be trying to figure those things out," Paul said. "The fact that we are, it is what it is. We've got to figure it out. We've got to get the spirit right with our team."