Wesley Johnson of the Clippers defends against Al-Farouq Aminu during the first half of the Trail Blazers’ 108-98 victory over the Clippers in Game 5 on Wednesday at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill
Clippers coach Doc Rivers suddenly found it difficult to speak. Then he began to cry.
Rivers had just been asked who he leans on so he doesn’t get discouraged. It was a good question, considering the Clippers lost their two best players – Chris Paul and Blake Griffin – to injury in a Game 4 loss Monday that tied their first-round playoff series 2-2 with the Portland Trail Blazers.
He was OK, for a moment.
“I don’t know,” he said Wednesday at the pre-game news conference ahead of Game 5 at Staples Center, won 108-98 by the Trail Blazers, who took a 3-2 series lead with Game 6 on Friday at Portland. “That’s a good question.”
Then the tears came, and he managed to push out a few more words.
“I’m not crying over being discouraged,” he said. “(The reporter) made me think about my mom. That would have been the person.”
Rivers’ mom, Bettye, passed away in June of 2015. It sounds like she might have been the first person her son called when the bottom fell out Monday in Portland when Paul sustained a fractured right hand and Griffin aggravated his partially torn left quad tendon. Paul is out four to six weeks, Griffin for the season.