Last season was a learning experience for Clippers

The Clippers won their first Pacific Division championship last season. They won a franchise-best 17 consecutive games and had a franchise-best 56-26 record.

But the Clippers lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Memphis Grizzlies, ending the season in failure.

Doc Rivers, who was coaching the Boston Celtics last season, said the Clippers learned that falling short of goals can be a difficult thing to deal with.

"They had all the highlights and all the attention," Rivers said. "All of a sudden we were knocked out in the first round last year. They saw how vicious it becomes when you don't win. So all that individual stuff means nothing. And I think that's the journey we're on right now."

Rivers was asked if this team has gotten past the individual stage and is more focused on the team goals of trying to win an NBA championship.

"You don't know," Rivers said. "It's just too early. It's [16] games into it.

"I think, yeah. I think they understand that. But still the test hasn't come yet. I mean, let's just be honest. The test is all year. And then the test is definitely in the playoffs."

Paul, Jordan speak out

Rivers said every team has a player or two who hold teammates accountable.

It wasn't a surprise that Chris Paul was on that list for the Clippers. But another player Rivers mentioned was surprising.

"DJ is becoming that guy," Rivers said of center DeAndre Jordan. "Chris has always been that guy, honestly. He's a demanding point guard. That's what you want. But it's also nice to have another guy on defense that demands that everybody is in the right spots."

Hollins gets it done

Ryan Hollins doesn't play a lot of minutes, but he's productive in his own way.

Hollins, the Clippers' backup center, averages 9.6 minutes, 3.2 points and 2.0 rebounds a game. He had committed 24 fouls in 115 minutes before the Clippers played the Knicks on Wednesday.

Rivers doesn't worry about those numbers.

"I just kind of put him out there and he goes," Rivers said. "I love his spirit. I do. What I've loved about Ryan is he's had two or three games where he didn't play at all. You play him for one second and he's ready. You don't play him and he's ready. That doesn't mean he's going to play well or not. But he's going to play hard and he's going to irritate somebody. Either one of their players or the coach."

Rivers was asked if he was the coach that Hollins can irritate.

"Yeah," Rivers said, smiling. "Either coach."

Rivers laughed.

"And that's a good thing," he said.

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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