Doc Rivers likes wherewithal shown by team in loss at Chicago

Clippers Bulls Basketball

Blake Griffin commits a Flagrant 2 foul on the Bulls’ Taj Gibson on Thursday night in Chicago/Photo by Associated Press


Doc Rivers, like pretty much any NBA head coach, is not into moral victories. But he did like the way his team fought back Thursday at Chicago before losing 83-80 to the Bulls.

The Clippers were down by 14 points (57-43) when Blake Griffin was ejected from the game with 5:58 left in the third quarter because of a Flagrant 2 foul on the Bulls’ Taj Gibson.

The Clippers came all the way back to tie the game 66-66 with 7:18 left in the game before falling short.

Rivers liked his team’s mettle, even in defeat.

“I liked the way we fought back,” he said. “It was an ugly game. The last two minutes, we just didn’t play smart. The happy part of the end was we made a run. … I don’t like to lose.  We just didn’t close it out. The last two minutes, I want to be great.  Tonight, turnovers and fouls stopped us. We had a great shot to steal the game at the end.”

The Clippers had four of their 13 turnovers in the final 7:18. Three came on offensive fouls.

Five things to take from Clippers’ 83-80 loss to Chicago Bulls

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers


– The Clippers did well to stay in this road game after Blake Griffin was ejected midway through the third quarter following a Flagrant 2 foul on the Bulls’ Taj Gibson. They trailed by 14 at the time and came all the way back to tie the game 66-66 on a Josh Smith 3-pointer with 7:18 left in the game. However, once the Bulls went back on front 68-66 on a basket by Jimmy Butler, they were never caught again. Griffin had 18 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

– The Clippers’ four guards – starters Chris Paul (5 of 16) and J.J. Redick (2 of 11) and reserves Jamal Crawford (1 of 5) and Austin Rivers (1 of 6) – shot a combined 9 of 38. The Clippers will lose on most nights this happens. As a team, they shot just 34.1 percent. Chicago wasn’t much better at just 35.6 percent.

– It seems Doc Rivers’ patience with Paul Pierce is finally growing thin. Pierce, who hasn’t been able to hit the broad side of a barn, played just five minutes and shot 0 of 2. On the season, the 38-year-old Pierce is shooting a miserable 29 percent from the floor – 23.8 from 3-point range. Over his 17-plus-year career, Pierce is shooting 44.6 percent overall, 37 percent from beyond the arc.

DeAndre Jordan is shooting just 38.9 percent from the free-throw line. But after making 2 of 3 in this one, he has gone 11 of 21 from there over his past three games. That’s 52.3 percent. For Jordan, that’s something to write home about.

– By shooting 1 of 6, Austin Rivers has shot 15 of 43 over the past seven games. That’s a not-so-good percentage of 34.8. He’s shooting 41.6 percent on the season, just 22 percent from 3-point range. That percentage from long-distance is the lowest of anyone on the team in the regular rotation, not counting Jordan, who has not shot a 3-pointer.

Blake Griffin, Doc Rivers talk about Griffin’s ejection Thursday

Blake Griffin wasn’t happy about being ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul on Chicago’s Taj Gibson midway through the third quarter of the Clippers’ 83-80 loss to the Bulls in Chicago on Thursday. But coach Doc Rivers seemed to understand why it was ruled as such..

On a pump-fake by Gibson, Griffin took a swat at the ball and smacked Gibson hard across the face.

“He got me up in the air on a pump-fake,” said Griffin, who had 18 points and 11 rebounds at the time of his ejection; the Clippers were losing by 14 (57-43) at the time. “I tried the swat the ball. Obviously, I missed. It was disappointing on their ruling because I didn’t want to leave the game. I wasn’t trying to hit him in the face. There was no intent to hit him, only the ball.”

Speaking immediately after the game, Rivers spoke is if he wasn’t too surprised at the Flagrant 2 call.

“I couldn’t see the foul play,” he said. “It looked bad. If so, he would get the Flagrant 2. He (Griffin) was playing great. He was rebounding, playing physical and tough. He wound up to knock the ball, but if you miss and hit the player, you can get the Flagrant 2.  You have to protect the player.”

The Clippers are 13-10, the Bulls 12-8.