Doc Rivers: 'What have we done?'

ByArash Markazi ESPN logo
Saturday, November 8, 2014

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Clippers have not played well during their 3-2 start to the season, and coach Doc Rivers said Friday complacency could be an issue.

"Why are we complacent?" Rivers said. "What have we done? If that's the issue, that's really alarming. I don't know if that is or isn't [the issue] but there's a reason why we're not playing as hard as we should and we're not as focused. I don't know the reason and as a coach that's troubling and I want to find out the reason. Sometimes the coach never finds out, the players find it, and you hope that's the case."

After the Clippers lost to the Golden State Warriors 121-104 on Wednesday, the Clippers held a team meeting. Rivers, though, wasn't particularly a fan of having it.

"I don't believe in team meetings," he said. "Sometimes they help, but I'm just not a big fan of them. There are some that help but overall when I read about team meetings in the league, I'm thinking I hope we play them next. You need a meeting to tell each other the truth? They all know it. We all know we didn't play hard and didn't compete. I don't think we need a team meeting for that. That's just me."

Clippers players didn't get into specifics of the team meeting, which they said was productive.

"I think it's concerning, but sometimes it's needed," Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said. "Sometimes teams can go one way or another. They can go the other way and it doesn't do anything, or it can be kind of like the moment of truth, and you can kind of take off there. So we'll see how it goes."

Rivers took the blame for the Clippers' listless play to start this season, which has been a carryover from an equally apathetic 2-6 preseason in which they looked as if they were simply going through the motions.

"We're not playing well and we're just not playing hard enough for me," Rivers said. "That's on me. That's my job. Obviously the players have to do it, but I'm the coach of the team and I have to get them to do it and get them to see the value in it and so far I haven't. At the end of the day we have to get to work."

Rivers said he expected the Clippers to play with more energy Wednesday, when they traveled to Oakland, California, for a playoff rematch against the rival Golden State Warriors. But not even a marquee matchup like that was able to wake them up as they fell behind by 25 points in the second quarter and were never in the game.

"When you care more about winning you tend to play harder," Rivers said. "When you know going into certain games that it may have more meaning than others, you play harder. Clearly, for whatever reason, we didn't know that."

The biggest emphasis for the Clippers heading into Sunday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers was improving their defense. The Clippers are allowing opponents to shoot an NBA-best 61 percent at the rim. They're also allowing opponents to shoot nearly 40 percent from the 3-point line, tied for the fourth-worst mark in the NBA.

"Defense brings teams together," Rivers said. "Offense makes teams feel good, but the defense is what brings teams together. ... We'll have good offensive nights and still win some games but [until we fix the defense] we will not be an elite team."

Rivers also spoke about his time with the Boston Celtics and using a portion of the 2009-10 season as a training camp and focusing more on practices than games. That team finished 50-32 and held the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference before falling to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

He then said that team and strategy has nothing to do with his current team.

"I can't do that with this team, I can tell you that," Rivers said. "We have to learn how to win and be good first."

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