DOC RIVERS TALKS CLIPPERS
Prior to the Clippers’ Dec. 27 matchup with the Celtics, former Clippers point guard and current Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, who won the 2008 title and the 2000 NBA Coach of the Year award, talked about the Clippers’ depth, the difference between this season and last and a litany of other Clippers-related topics.
On his perception of the Clippers: “They have a terrific team. Every year is a new year, but they’re good. They’re talented and they play together. They all accept their roles. They’re actually a fun team to watch play, other than the dunks. They’re just a fun team to watch play the game.”
On the difference between the Clippers this year and last year: “Last year, I think they showed up and they just thought their talent and their offense was [going to win for them]. But this year their defense has been fantastic. I mean, we’re all talking about their offense, but their playing just terrific defense. And they have balance now. They’re fifth in the league in scoring, fifth in defense. That’s a balanced basketball team and that makes you really good.”
On Clippers bench: “I thought our bench when I was with the Clippers was better than this bench personally. We had Olden Polynice and Loy Vaught. I mean, that was a hell of a bench. You guys have amnesia. Don’t forget they just broke our record, our win streak of eight. “They’re deep. Right now it’s rare to see a team this deep and talented. What’s scary is two of their guys [Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups] aren’t even playing yet. That’s a deep basketball team.”
On Magic Johnson’s claim that the Clippers are playing like his “Showtime” teams of the 80s: “I hope he’s wrong. Because they won the title, right? So let’s hope he’s wrong, from my standpoint. From yours you probably hope he’s right. I haven’t looked at the Clippers enough to give that opinion, honestly. I looked at their last five games because we’re about to play them and I’ve seen them two other times because they played New Orleans (Rivers’ son Austin is a member of the Hornets). From what I see, I don’t know if there’s a better team playing then they’re playing.”
On what stands out about his tenure with the Clippers, particularly the 1991-92 playoff team: “That was an unusual year. That was the Magic Johnson year as well (when Johnson announced his retirement following contraction of H.I.V.). There were a lot of things that happened that year, so it was a strange year. But that team was really good. That was a fun team, and really a fun year. And a lot of those guys I’m still very close with.”