Ohm Youngmisuk from ESPN wrote a piece about Tyronn Lue being ready to emerge from LeBron’s shadow, and of course the events from the NBA Bubble, when Doc Rivers and the Clippers squandered a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets, were detailed.
No shock there was some Doc slander, which starts after recapping the Sixers/Clippers game earlier this year when Philly squandered a 24 point lead:
With an unheralded small lineup that consists of Kennard, Eric Bledsoe, Terance Mann, rookie Brandon Boston Jr. and backup center Isaiah Hartenstein, the Clippers cut the Sixers’ 24-point lead down to four before Lue eventually turns back to his veteran starters. Embiid scores 11 but only two other Sixers score in the fourth of a 102-101 loss to the Clippers, forcing Doc Rivers, the Clippers’ old coach, to have to answer –and snap at — at a postgame question about how much coaching had to do with the Sixers’ collapse.
Seeing Rivers was a reminder to the Clippers of just how much had changed in 16 months. They spent all of last season determined to bury the bubble.
Leonard said after the fiasco that he wanted to see higher basketball IQ and more resolve when things begin to unravel. Players have lauded Lue’s adjustments and game plans, nicknaming him “Belichick” while singling out his ability to communicate and empower them to take more ownership. He holds them accountable like when he confronted the team in a meeting last season that Jackson said turned the year around.
There’s not much more to say when you watch this every night. Whether it’s burying the young guys in favor of DeAndre Jordan and Paul Millsap, giving up double digit leads with ease, or Doc’s blatant lie that he’d have two Embiid/Harden/Harris/Maxey in every lineup for the rest of the season. There is no doubt in my mind Sam Cassell, Dave Joerger, or Dan Burke could all run this team better and more efficiently. My favorite game this year was Monday against the Heat because Doc was forced to play guys he normally has on a short leash. Now are Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz going to even play in the postseason? Not much it seems. But it’d be nice to build up their confidence in case they’re called upon instead of burying them most games.
Doc gave his own thoughts on the Clippers Wednesday, which I don’t think is a direct shot at the Clips, but if it is at least we have a storyline to watch tonight at 10:30:
“Listen, I was with this organization for [seven] years,” Rivers said on Wednesday. “But a lot happened in that [seven] years. I left [the organization] a place of destination.”
That was his goal when he became the Clippers coach on June 25, 2013.
“We were the laughingstock,” he said. ” ‘No one wanted to play for the Clippers. We heard all of that. If there’s a free-agent war versus the Lakers, don’t try.”
That’s what Rivers was told and he changed that. Not only did he turn the Clippers into a contender, he beat out the Lakers for Kawhi Leonard during the 2019 free-agency period.
“That’s something that I will always be proud of,” Rivers said of the transformation. “The Clippers now are in the NBA, and I feel like I played a major part in that.”
He’s not wrong there. With the help of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan they were the best team in LA for those seven years and turned the Clippers into a respectable organization. They tempered the Donald Sterling situation. Signed Jamal Crawford, JJ Redick and re-signed Paul and Jordan to extensions. Then obviously the big one was landing Leonard and George. They didn’t win anything, and a lot of that could be attributed to coaching, but they did become a contender and still are.