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Doc Rivers on Clippers potentially being emotionally weary from Sterling situation: ‘I just don’t want to hear it’

May 11, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

Doc Rivers Doc Rivers

LOS ANGELES — The storm created by the Donald Sterling situation in the first round of the playoffs has largely subsided for now, but for the Clippers, there may be some lingering effects.

There’s no good reason that the first round series against the Warriors needed seven games to be decided, and without the monumental distraction, it’s more than possible that L.A. would have been able to take hold much more expeditiously.

Against the Thunder in round two, the Clippers got off to a strong start, and looked like the team may have put it all behind them, at least long enough to focus on the task at hand. But after two straight losses — one a drubbing, the other more demoralizing considering the closeness of the contest — it’s worth wondering if, as the pressure increases, the team will be able to dig deep enough to overcome any additional adversity.

Doc Rivers was in no-excuse mode before Sunday’s Game 4 at Staples Center, and won’t hear of his team using the Sterling situation as a reason for any of its on-court troubles.

“I’ve heard that talk a lot over the last two days,” Rivers said. “I just don’t want to hear it, I’ll put it that way. Listen, the playoffs are emotional. Obviously we’ve been through some other stuff. We can’t run from that. But you’ve just got to get through it. I don’t believe in that.”

The emotional toll was very real for the players initially, and though it’s waned recently, it was still a lot to deal with in addition to all of the pressure that traditionally comes with a trip to the postseason.

Game 4 is crucial for L.A.’s chances, as a loss would send them back to Oklahoma City needing to win three straight against the Thunder — two of which would be on the road — in order to advance.

We’ll see where the Clippers are at from a mental toughness standpoint soon enough in terms of the way the series ultimately shakes out. But if the Thunder should advance, the strain of dealing with the Sterling distraction will certainly be among the contributing factors — even if Rivers prefers to downplay it at this time.

“We have to be mentally tough,” he said. “I think we’ll be fine. But, you know, there could be a factor there. I don’t think it is.”

  1. misterdreamer119 - May 11, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    He better worry about Slim Reaper and the ninja turtle leonardo, this Sterling thing is over.

  2. bigmeechy74 - May 11, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    It isn’t an excuse AT ALL. Good grief!!!

  3. norcalkingsfan - May 11, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    A good coach gives his players no excuses.

  4. savvybynature - May 11, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    I can deny that it’s taken a toll. I don’t think Sterling has anything to do with the Clips losses to OKC.

  5. thekingdave - May 11, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    There’s only one thing to do. Give Doc a retroactive civil rights award for how vocal he was while playing for Sterling and the Clippers in the early 1990s, as well as refusing to accept a salary in protest. Oh wait.

  6. SBoy - May 11, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    It may be fair to wonder… but Doc has it right… not an excuse. In general, emotional events tend to be viewed as being the spark that brought people together when a team does well after the fact, or as the distraction that brought them down if they don’t. Maybe it does has some effect, positive or negative, but that is part of being pro… managing or coping with it and getting the job done…

    Players probably have all kinds of sh**t going on from time to time that we the fans don’t know about because it is private. Play well or bad, these players usually don’t point to these things as the reason. In this case, the sh**t happens to be public and we know about it.

  7. campcouch - May 12, 2014 at 2:24 AM


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