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Doc Rivers didn’t think NBA season was over even after his players voted to stop it

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers stands on the sideline with hands on hips.
Doc Rivers coaches the Clippers against the Dallas Mavericks on Aug. 23 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Even after members of the Clippers and Lakers voted to stop the NBA postseason Wednesday night, Clippers coach Doc Rivers did not believe that the season was over.

“I think everyone else did, but I knew how high the emotions were and I just, I had a lot of faith that it would all calm down,” Rivers said Friday. But he added that the players’ vote “was close, though. I don’t think it was a layup either way.”

The players’ meeting Wednesday took place hours after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court for Game 5 of their playoff series against Orlando as a response to police shooting Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wis. Of the 13 teams still inside the league’s bubble, only the Lakers and Clippers told their peers they would not play on. The meeting was contentious, with Clippers guard Patrick Beverley reportedly cutting off Michele Roberts, the president of the National Basketball Players Assn., as she spoke.

“We had a very interesting conversation,” Beverley said Friday, before the team’s practice. “The [players association] is like a family. I’m pretty sure everyone here and all the cameras pointing to me, everyone is part of a family. You don’t always agree with your family members, and that’s OK. You communicate about it and you try to make it better.”

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By the following morning, however, players from every team had agreed to resume the playoffs. The season will resume Saturday, though the date of Thursday’s postponed Game 6 between the Clippers and Mavericks has yet to be announced. The change of position by the Clippers followed a long night of discussions.

What’s the correct term for what happened on the court for the Milwaukee Bucks? Boycotts? Postponements? Strikes? Or something else? It’s a wildcat strike.

“Collectively as a team, we just wanted to stay united with every other team here in the bubble, and of course the dialogue that we had was between players, players only, but whatever dialogue that was, it came out to be positive,” Beverley said.

The Clippers spent the wee hours of Friday morning in a hotel hallway, continuing the debate that began during the bubble-wide meeting of players.

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“I thought Lou [Williams] was fantastic, Kawhi [Leonard] was fantastic,” Beverly said. “Marcus [Morris Sr.] was absolutely wonderful. There was a lot of guys who talked that night. I was just sitting there trying to get them to talk, and they did. A lot of emotion.”


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