Doc Rivers praises Kobe Bryant, Warriors and then talks Portland

Warriors Clippers Basketball

Clippers coach Doc Rivers shouts at a referee during the Clippers’ 115-112 loss to Golden State on Feb. 20 at Staples Center/AP photo by Danny Moloshok


Clippers coach Doc Rivers’ second team had just lost 114-105 in Wednesday’s regular-season finale at Phoenix, when he was asked to talk about the Portland Trail Blazers. The Clippers (53-29) and Portland (44-38) will tangle in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, beginning Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Staples Center.

Rivers at first went off topic, and for good reason.

“Portland?” he said. “We really should be talking about Kobe right now. We REALLY should be talking about Golden State first, but what Kobe is doing right now is amazing. I think we’re going to try to sign him to a 10-day. It was really cool.”

Rivers was speaking of the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant scoring 60 points in his farewell game Wednesday during a 101-96 victory over Utah, and about Golden State beating Memphis 125-104 to win its record 73rd regular-season game. Rivers finally answered the original question.

“Well, everybody’s wanted us, so we’ll be ready, they’ll be ready,” he said. “We had some really interesting games during the regular season, so I’m looking forward to it. They have two terrific guards (Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum). (Coach) Terry Stotts has done an amazing job with their role players they have around those two guards. I think they’ve improved all year, so it’ll be a tough series.”

The Clippers went 3-1 against Portland this season. They won by scores of 102-87, 109-98 and 96-94 and lost 102-91.