Donald Sterling fiasco a distant memory for Clippers coach Doc Rivers

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error You hear coaches and athletes all the time talk about having a short memory. Typically, that adage centers on forgetting what happened in the previous game, whether good or bad.For Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers, it also means not thinking about what happened during the 2014 postseason, when the Donald Sterling racism fiasco took center stage as the Clippers were embroiled in a heated first-round series with Golden State.Rivers on Sunday at Staples Center told reporters ahead of Game 4 of the Clippers’ Western Conference semifinals series with the Rockets that stuff has been the furthest thing from his mind.“Oh, I don’t think back on last year at all,” said Rivers, whose team beat Golden State but was eliminated by Oklahoma City in the conference semifinals. “At least, I try not to. The only time I do is because … someone brings it up. And it’s been better. I mean, all I do is focus on my job. I get to go home, no conference calls. I’m just doing basketball. And so are the players. He let his guard down just a bit when asked about Austin, whose 15 points in the second half of the third quarter Friday helped break open a close game.“Yeah, I mean, I enjoy it,” he said. “I’m human, obviously. I’m a dad and you enjoy it. But … you enjoy it for a moment, you’ve gotta get away from it.“It’s too important, to me. This is about our team and this is not a family moment. For me, that’s how I view this.”Hawes steps upThe Clipper this season signed forward/center Spencer Hawes to a four-year, $23 million contract. At the time, it looked like a good deal. Some were calling it one of the best signings of the offseason.It hasn’t worked out that way as Hawes struggled mightily during the regular season. When the Clippers took the floor for Friday’s Game 3 with the Rockets, he had only played sparingly in three of nine postseason games to that point.Hawes got into the game early because Blake Griffin had two fouls midway through the first quarter. Hawes immediately buried an 18-footer, and though that was his only shot attempt, he ended up with three rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 11-plus minutes.That might not seem like a big deal to some, but it was to coach Rivers.“Last night from Spencer was absolutely fantastic on a lot of levels for me,” Rivers said at practice Saturday.What Hawes did Thursday, an off-day, was what most impressed Rivers. “First guy in the gym, all by himself in here working with (assistant) Dave (Severns) and I mean, those two hours, it was like he was getting ready for something,” Rivers said. “And there was no sign that he was going to play and yet he was in here acitng like he was getting ready for a big game he was going to play in, and then he comes in and performs.“To me, that is like the ultimate in professionalism.”Hawes had not played in the previous six playoff games. He averaged 5.8 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting a career-low 39.3 percent during the regular season.center_img “Obviously, last year I thought I protected them from doing all the extra stuff. But it was still, you know, they still had it. And so now this year they get to play basketball. I think that’s been big for them.”Rivers: ‘I’m human’Rivers has tried hard not to obviously bask in the glow of the good games his son Austin has had in the postseason. He had his best game on Friday, scoring 25 points in the Clippers’ 124-99 Game 3 victory over the Rockets.Doc Rivers may be careful with his emotions, so as not to act like he’s happier for Austin than the rest of the team, but he had no problem telling reporters at practice Saturday how happy his wife, and Austin’s mother, Kristen was with Austin’s performance.“She was in a good mood, which is, you know, happy wife, happy life,” Doc said, drawing laughter. “So I’m all good with that.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *