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Doc Rivers concedes Clippers ‘deserve to lose’ vs. Grizzlies

Doc Rivers, Clippers, Grizzlies

The Los Angeles Clippers lost an ugly game to the Memphis Grizzles, 140-114. It was an ugly defeat that saw plenty of Clippers players rely on Kawhi Leonard alone to lift them out of the rut they found themselves in.

The press naturally looked for answers as to why such a favorite to the NBA title lost to a rebuilding team pathetically. Head coach Doc Rivers didn’t provide any excuses and just admitted that the team deservedly lost the game themselves.

Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported that Rivers thinks his guys were just unable to defend against Ja Morant and his Grizzlies:

“We couldn’t defend them. … When you play defense like that, you deserve to lose the game.”

Doc Rivers was correct with his diagnosis of his team’s performance. Ja Morant finished with an impressive stat line of 22 points, four rebounds, and nine assists, but he was able to get his teammates involved.

Four out of the five Memphis starters–including Morant–finished with more than 20 points. Jarren Jackson Jr. had 24, Dillon Brooks finished with 22, and Jae Crowder had a team-high 27 points. In spite of the efforts of Kawhi Leonard, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell, the team’s defense cost them the game. Doc Rivers had to confront that reality.

It’s also important to note that Patrick Beverley and Paul George, the team’s best defenders, didn’t play a single minute against the Grizzlies. The press asked Doc Rivers if the two had a direct relation to the Clippers’ defensive struggles, but Rivers quickly brushed them aside.

Per Forbes’ Farbod Esnaashari:

“Paul George and Pat had nothing to do with this game. They just played harder, and faster… We came today, showed up, and thought we were going to win… There are no excuses.”

The Clippers more than understand that they cannot play like this if they want to win basketball games. Expect Doc Rivers and the coaching staff to go back to the drawing board and make the necessary defensive adjustments to make the Clippers better again.