Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers leaves the floor at the end of the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Sunday, March 8, 2015, at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers joked about Warriors owner Joe Lacob’s recent comments to the New York Times Magazine about the defending champions being “light-years ahead of probably every other team in structure, in planning, in how we’re going to go about things.”
“Just good to be smarter than everybody, you know?” Rivers joked on the Dan Le Batard Show on Friday. “It’s nice. It’s a nice place to be.
“But listen, when you win, you can talk. You know what they say, ‘To the victor go the spoils,’ and so you know, they’re the champs. Listen, they won 73 games. They’re obviously doing something right. You know and so you can’t say much about it until you beat them…You know what, if we win it, I’m going to have all kinds of things to say just like Joe.”
Asked about Stephen Curry being ahead of everyone else, Rivers joked: “It’s from the planning that Joe Lacob’s doing. Clearly.”
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers clarified his comments about luck and the Warriors’ championship run.
Los Angeles Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers yells at referee during a game against the Golden State Warriors April 24, 2014. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)
“No, I don’t think the Warriors were lucky to win,” Rivers told reporters in Shenzhen, China on Saturday. “I think they deserved to win. I wish we could have played them – or the Spurs (could have played the Warriors) – but they still were the best team. They earned it.”
Los Angeles Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers yells at referee during their game against the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter of Game 3 of their Western Conference NBA playoff game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. on Thursday, April 24, 2014. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)[/caption]
Rivers, in comments published Tuesday in Grantland, made reference to the Warriors not having to face in the Western Conference finals the Clippers, who were eliminated in the semifinals by the Houston Rockets.
“You need luck in the West,” Rivers told the website. “Look at Golden State. They didn’t have to play us or the Spurs. But that’s also a lesson for us: When you have a chance to close, you have to do it.”
Told Rivers said the Warriors got lucky not having to play the Clippers or Spurs, Warriors guard Klay Thompson fired back Friday.
“Didn’t they lose to the Rockets? Exactly,” Thompson said. “Haha. That just makes me laugh. That’s funny. Weren’t they up 3-1, too? Yeah, tell them I said that. That’s funny, man. That’s funny. That’s funny.”
You could see it in their eyes. You could hear in their voice, as they talked through clinched teeth and bit their tongue.
The Warriors don’t like the Clippers. And they were mad at themselves for not bringing their best against bullies from down south, losing 126-115 at Staples Center.
“We had no business in this game,” coach Mark Jackson said. “But we fought. We battled. We hung in there. We just couldn’t get over the hump.”
The Warriors turned the ball over 25 times, something they knew was a no-no against the transition savvy Clippers. Their miscues, including a career-high 11 by Curry, helped the Clippers rack up 22 fast-break points.
The Warriors were beat down the glass, had a tough time staying attached to the Clippers’ shooters and had zero answer for Chris Paul. He torched the Warriors for 42 points, 15 assists and six steals in 37 minutes.
Yet, with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, Golden State was down just eight. Victory was close enough to smell, and not grabbing it left a bitter taste.
“Certain teams kind of have that edge about them, for whatever reason,” Andre Iguodala said. “They’re kind of one of those teams. Even playing in Denver last year, it was the same chippiness. So we kind of have to be smart about it. Neither team has really done anything for it to really be a rivalry. Somebody has to establish something. So we’ve got to stay focused on the path ahead.”
More on Thursday’s game …