Doc Rivers praises Trail Blazers for their play through five games

Warriors Clippers Basketball

Doc Rivers shouts a a referee during in game against Golden State in February at Staples Center/AP file photo by Danny Moloshok


When the Clippers looked good in taking a 2-0 lead over Portland with victories in Games 1 and 2 at Staples Center, the word “sweep” became the first-round series buzz word. Considering the Clippers were 24 games over .500 (53-29) during the regular while Portland was just six (44-38), it was understandable.

When the series shifted to Moda Center in Portland, the Trail Blazers defeated the Clippers in Game 3 with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul still playing, and they were leading the Clippers in Game 4 ahead of Paul’s injury in the third quarter and Griffin’s in the fourth on their way to tying the series 2-2.

Rivers gives the Trail Blazers a tip-of-the-cap for playing better than many might have thought they would.

“I think they have played wonderfully,” said Rivers, whose team lost Game 5 on Wednesday at Staples Center with Paul and Griffin on the shelf to fall behind 3-2. “I think they have played better defense than they did in the regular season, for sure. Offensively, they really haven’t played great, but they haven’t had to. We haven’t played great offense, but a lot of that is because of their defense, so you have to give them credit.”

Portland allowed 104.3 points during the season, 20th in the NBA. Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts intimated it’s been about focus.

“I think everybody’s really locked in,” he said before Game 6 at Moda Center. “We’re more consistent. We haven’t had a lot of areas where for two, three, four minutes we had a lot of letdowns.”

Clippers coach Doc Rivers jokes about Blake Griffin’s PRP injection: ‘We took Advil’

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


While Chris Paul (fractured hand) was on the bench helping Doc Rivers coach the team during its 108-98 Game 5 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday at Staples Center, Blake Griffin (partially torn left quad tendon) was in another part of the arena taking in the game. Griffin was spotted afterward on crutches slowly making his way through the hallway near the Clippers’ locker room.

It turns out Griffin had a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection, a popular procedure often used by NBA players to speed up recovery. The injection is made into the injury.
Rivers, a former player, joked about it post-game.

“Yeah, whatever that stuff is, yeah,” he said. “We took Advil. We didn’t have the stuff they have now.”

Game 6 is Friday night at Moda Center in Portland. The Trail Blazers are up 3-2.

Doc Rivers, on trying to win Game 6 at Portland: ‘It is daunting …’

Trail Blazers beat emotional Clippers 108-98, take 3-2 lead

Doc Rivers appears deep in thought during the Clippers’ Game 5 loss to the Trail Blazers on Wednesday night at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill


The Clippers began their first-round playoff series with the Portland Trail Blazers by winning the first two games. They have now lost the past three and are without star players Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, both of whom went down with injuries in a Game 4 loss at Portland.

Coming off their 108-98 Game 5 loss at Staples Center on Wednesday, the Clippers now must try to stay alive in the best-of-seven series by winning Game 6 on Friday night at Portland. This is, indeed, a difficult task.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers knows it, as do his players, which is what Rivers wants.

“It is daunting, as far as that we know it is a challenge,” Rivers said Thursday during a conference call. “I tell my guys all the time, ‘If you want to do stuff that is great, it should be hard. Embrace hard. Embrace the difficulties of it.’ Obviously, we did not plan on any of this happening. We planned on being up, or whatever by now, but we had a bump in the road.

“I talk to them all the time. You’ve got to have great resolve. I think our guys have that.”

Rivers said his players showed some of that in Game 5, which was tied 71-71 after three quarters before Portland took the game in the fourth.

“… You can’t lose your will,” Rivers said. “I think that will be the key for us. We have to play a game tomorrow where we just play through the game. When things are going great, great. When things are going poorly, which they do at times on the road, you’ve got to play through that and have great resolve, and I think our guys do that.”



J.J. Redick: Clippers must ‘figure out’ way to win Game 6 at Portland

Trail Blazers beat emotional Clippers 108-98, take 3-2 lead

Clippers coach Doc Rivers looks down as he leans on the scorer’s table during the second half of the Clippers’ 108-98 Game 5 loss to Portland on Wednesday at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill


With their 108-98 Game 5 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night at Staples Center, the Clippers are on the brink of elimination as Portland now leads the series 3-2.

Game 6 is Friday at Portland. A Clippers victory would bring the series back to Staples Center for Game 7. It is a tall order, considering the Clippers will again be without their two stars – Chris Paul (fractured hand) and Blake Griffin (partially torn quad tendon).

Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick was asked post-game Wednesday to talk about the team’s mindset heading to Portland.

“I don’t want to use every cliche in the book, but this is the most important game of the year,” he said. “I guess there is no other way to say it. I don’t want to equate a basketball game to death, but it is do or die.

“We have to figure out a way to win the game and get it back here in front of our home crowd for Game 7.”


Five things to take from Clippers’ 108-98 loss to the Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers beat outmanned Clippers 108-98, take 3-2 lead

Injured Clippers point guard Chris Paul winces after bumping his fractured right hand during a timeout Wednesday in the Clippers’ 108-98 Game 5 loss to the visiting Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill


DeAndre Jordan did everything he could to try and lead his depleted Clippers to victory. He scored 16 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, blocked three shots and made 6 of 11 from the free-throw line. He had three assists, for good measure. It all just wasn’t enough.

Jeff Green had his second consecutive solid game in 36 1/2 minutes off the bench. He scored 17 points on 6 of 10 shooting and had six rebounds, two assists and three steals. He had a couple of driving dunks that had the Staples Center crowd buzzing.

– The Clippers helped hold Portland guard Damian Lillard – the team’s best player – to just six points on 1 of 10 shooting through three quarters. But with a Clippers team described by coach Doc Rivers as exhausted from emotion, Lillard went to town in the fourth quarter, during which he scored 16 of his 22 points. Lillard made 6 of 10 from the field in the quarter, 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.

– When Lillard and C.J. McCollum are both on, that’s quite the two-headed monster to try and contain. McCollum had 27 points on 9 of 18 shooting in this one to lead all scorers. McCollum is really smooth and crafty to the basket.

– The Clippers played with plenty of spirit in this game. No one should say otherwise. But when a team is missing its two best players – Chris Paul and Blake Griffin – it’s almost too much to ask for it to emerge victorious. When the Clippers finished the third quarter on a 9-0 run to tie the game 71-71, it looked like they might have a chance to pull off an unlikely win. But Lillard got hot and the Clippers ran out of gas. Game 6 is Friday at Portland. The Trail Blazers lead the series 3-2.

Damian Lillard’s big fourth quarter helped seal Clippers’ fate

Trail Blazers beat outmanned Clippers 108-98, take 3-2 lead

Damian Lillard of Portland goes up for a shot as he is being guarded by Cole Aldrich of the Clippers during Wednesday’s 108-98 Trail Blazers’ victory in Game 5 at Staples Center/AP photo by Mark J. Terrill


Portland’s Damian Lillard had really stunk up the joint through three quarters Wednesday. At that point he had shot 1 of 10 from the field for six points, and his team’s Game 5 against the Clippers was tied 71-71 at Staples Center.

Lillard went off in the fourth quarter, shooting 6 of 10 – 4 of 6 from 3-point range – to score 16 of his 22 points in the quarter. Not coincidentally, the Trail Blazers built as much as a 17-point lead (105-88) with 3:38 to play before settling for a 108-98 victory to take a 3-2 series lead ahead of Game 6 on Friday in Portland.

“I mean, that’s my entire career in the league,” Lillard said post-game. “I’ve always been able to put the first three quarters behind me and come up big when my team has needed it.”

Lillard liked that his fellow Trail Blazers encouraged him.

“All my teammates throughout the game, they just kept saying, ‘Keep shooting, stay with it, stay aggressive, keep your mind right,’ ” he said.