OFF-DAY Q&A WITH DOC RIVERS
Here is a transcript of Doc Rivers’ off-day media question and answer session as the Clippers prepare for Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals in Oklahoma City:
I wanted to ask you about the fiction of momentum. What is your view on momentum between games, especially a game like that one? You had some Celtics teams that came back from huge leads and then lost. Is that something that never carries over?
Rivers: It can carry over. But I don't know if it does or not. It's a good question. I think Oklahoma will be ready. I think my job is to get our team ready. Once the game starts, then the momentum from the last game is typically gone.
On Blake, he took a lot of physical punishment in the last game, a punch in a sensitive area. How do you counsel him to keep his cool and composure?
Rivers: You can just say Zach Randolph. It is hard to keep your cool. You're getting hit, I think at times illegal hits. I think he's been taking them all year and he's been doing a great job of it. I don't know if anyone has taken more punishment this year than Blake. In my opinion, some of them have been aboveboard and some of them have not been. People keep getting away with it.
Having said that, if he reacts one time, then he hurts the team. That's what I've told him all year, that the tougher, stronger guy is the guy that is willing to take the hits for his team and keep playing. That's what Blake has done, so I'm very proud of him. We need him. Teams are trying to do anything they can to get him off the floor, try to get him to react, and he hasn't done that. He just keeps playing, and that's really important for us.
Regarding the situation with Serge Ibaka, have you watched the tape and do you know if the league is looking into that situation?
Rivers: I've watched the tape. I'm sure the league is looking into it. I don't think they need me calling and doing anything. But, yeah, I've watched it. I think they should look into it. But, listen, I'm more focused on our guys, our team. I'm going to let the league do their job.
We met Richard Parsons today. Now that he's operating as CEO, you're still operating the basketball. The draft is coming up. How is that going to work on decisions as far as basketball? At some point teams are going to start calling you to make trades.
Rivers: That really hasn't changed. I've been doing that since I've taken the job. We have people in place. Gary Sacks and Dave Wohl and other people are out there watching all the players. They know what type of player that I need in the system that fits in. Dave Wohl has been with me forever, in some capacity as a coach, as an assistant GM in Boston. Gary Sacks has been with me for a year and has gotten to know me. I don't think it's going to be that hard for us. Just keep going. They're both going to be in Chicago (at pre-draft camp) this week doing their jobs.
What difference has Dick Parsons' presence made?
Rivers: He's going to make a big difference. Obviously he's just gotten in the door. Today is the first time he's been in L.A. He's going to make a big difference. For especially the folks downtown, they have lives and careers, and they want to know if they're safe, where do we go from here.
For me, in the fact that we have Dick and he can do that, I can really just focus on the basketball part. That's really the only thing I'm qualified to do anyway. So I think it's really important getting someone in place and being able to calm the nerves and do their job and allow everybody else to do their jobs. I think that's really important. Getting Dick in is a huge step in the right direction I think for us.
I'm not sure if you're aware yesterday during or before the game, but Magic Johnson came and was sitting near Commissioner Silver during the game. It kind of brings you back to a lot of things have happened. What was your reaction to that?
Rivers: I was really happy that he came. I didn't know it till after the game. Actually, I was driving home and my wife told me, ‘Hey, it's good to get Magic at the game.’ I said, ‘Magic was at the game?’ That's when I found out about it. I thought that was very, very nice. A great gesture by Magic. I think it's great for our fans to see him there. So I was very happy he made it to a game.
In regards to Blake, he's been in foul trouble a lot this post-season, probably more than the regular season. Is there any reason for that in your mind? How do you think he's handled foul trouble overall this post-season?
Rivers: I think the stakes are higher. I think it's a more physical game. I think at times they call it tight, at times they don't. I think for Blake it's very difficult trying to measure which way the game is going to be called tonight. I think he's done it pretty well. He has been in foul trouble a couple of times. I think what he has to get away from is the silly fouls, the reach fouls he doesn't need to get because we need him on the floor. But overall I think he's done a pretty good job.
I thought last night was his best as far as handling foul trouble. Instead of being passive and worrying about fouling out, he just went out and played. That's what we told him in the huddle. If you foul out, foul out, but foul out being Blake, not trying not to get a sixth foul, and I thought he did that.
How much do you think the rest of the series you'll be able to get out of that small lineup that you closed the game with? Was it a one-time thing?
Rivers: No, I mean, obviously it's not something you can bank on, it's not something you're going to do full-time or anything like that. They've gone small at times as well and been successful. It really is going to be a game time and game situational thing for us. Having those three guards on the floor makes it very difficult to guard us. We know that. But it also puts us in a bind defensively.
The other night we did a really good job of trying to clog up the paint, make catches tough. So, you know, they'll adjust to it and we'll probably have to make other adjustments to it.
Is there any kind of intangible you can bottle up and take towards the next game? You talked about momentum a little bit.
Rivers: Well, I thought we competed more. I thought we dropped our guard in a positive way. We stopped looking at why we were losing, what's going on. Instead, we just went and did something about it. I think teams have to get there sometimes. So if there is a positive to what happened, it was that. No one worried about them anymore, they just competed. They were playing completely to win the game. They stopped worrying if they were playing well or not. They just competed. I thought that was the most important thing I took out of that game.