Clippers Coach Doc Rivers warned his players before the season that they’d better expect each opponent’s best effort because of all the hype surrounding the Clippers.
Rivers told his players that because they are considered championship contenders, teams are going to test the them to see if they can play up to that billing.
That has been the case against the Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings to open the season.
“It’s like I told you guys before the Laker game. We’re going to get them all year,” Rivers said. “I went through this once [in Boston]. When you’ve got a shot at it, everybody wants to knock you off. And that’s just the way it’s going to be. At the end of the day, that will be good for us. To go through a season of this, by the playoffs, hopefully we’ll be really well tested.”
The Clippers were pushed by the Kings on Friday night, another of those tests Rivers has talked about.
L.A. saw its 15-point lead in the third quarter erased by the Kings, who took a two-point lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Sleep Train Arena now was rocking. The chants of, “Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!” rang out.
But the Clippers stood strong, pulling away for a 110-101 victory to improve to 2-1.
“That’s us growing as a team,” Rivers said. “We kind of are finding ourselves, finding out what we should run down the stretch of the games, and that’s a good sign.”