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.”