At some point, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers knew the question was coming during his pregame presser with the media, so he patiently waited and waited until he was asked about his team’s unsuccessful pursuit of Kevin Durant.
The Clippers’ nemesis, the Warriors, won the NBA’s grand free-agent prize when Durant decided to join Golden State.
It wasn’t as if the Clippers were complaining, even after watching Durant and the Warriors run circles around them during a 120-75 beat-down at Oracle Arena.
There was nothing Rivers could have liked from his team in its first exhibition game Tuesday night, especially with the Clippers getting down by 53 points and looking uninspired.
But he actually does like the team he has assembled for the 2016-17 season.
“We just want to make the team better,” Rivers said before his team got whipped. “We think we’ve done that with the additions this summer. Other than not getting Kevin Durant, I think we had a heck of a summer.”
The Clippers can only imagine what it would have been like to have Durant join their core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
They met with Durant in July but couldn’t get the 6-9 All-Star forward to join forces.
“We had a shot at him, for sure,” Rivers said. “I think everybody who probably had a meeting had a shot at him. I don’t know how realistic it was or not, but I don’t think he’s the type of guy to hold meetings and not really think that he was considering you.”
It was one thing to say the Clippers looked like the team playing their first exhibition game, while the Warriors looked like the team that had played once already Saturday night in Vancouver.
But the reality is that the Clippers were just plain horrible.
Griffin (six points) had four fouls in the first half and picked up a technical foul in third quarter while complaining from the bench. Paul missed all three of his shots and had more fouls (five) than points (one).
The Clippers scored just 33 points in the first half, but their so-called defense was shredded for 71.
Meanwhile, Durant, playing in his first game here in Oakland, had 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in front of the delirious hometown fans.
Klay Thompson led all scorers with 30.
Though his team throttled the Clippers, Warriors Coach Steve Kerr said Los Angeles has the goods to compete for the NBA crown.
“To me,” Kerr said, “they’re one of the teams that are real contenders for the championship.”
Both the Clippers and Warriors stood at attention when the national anthem was performed … Clippers forward Marreese Speights, who won an NBA championship with the Warriors in 2015, had his highlights shown on the screen during a timeout, with the Warriors saying, “Welcome Back, Mo.” Speights waved to the crowd and then went out and dropped 14 points on his old teammates.