Doris Burke reacts to Clippers coach Doc Rivers calling her out for Kawhi Leonard criticism
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers called out ESPN broadcaster Doris Burke for criticizing Kawhi Leonard’s load management.
The Clippers have been resting Leonard frequently this season since load management worked very well for him last season with the Toronto Raptors.
Burke was upset that the Clippers rested Leonard against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks and was vocal about it. Now, she spoke to Justin Terranova of The New York Post about Rivers’ comments directed at her.
Q: You were recently called out by Doc Rivers after criticizing Kawhi Leonard’s load management. What did you take away from that?
A: I had reached out to the Clippers directly and said if Kawhi wants to say anything to me, let him know that I am happy to listen to whatever he might say to me. That’s our job as broadcasters. You have to be able to look that person in the eye. He chose not to do that and that’s fine. The same way with Doc. He was speaking from a frustrated coaching perspective and he used me as a launching off point. … If I could do it all over, I would make it less personal. I could’ve used a different term than “ridiculous.” I am aware of the power of the words, so I use those carefully. I don’t regret anything I said, though, I was frustrated from the fan’s perspective of missing out on a Kawhi-Giannis (Antetokounmpo) matchup.
Leonard dealt with left knee tendinitis during the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, so it’s not surprising for Rivers and Co. to rest him. Besides, the Clippers want to make sure Leonard is as close to 100 percent for their playoff run.
It’s also worth noting that Kawhi dealt with a quad injury during the 2017-18 season with the San Antonio Spurs. That can flare up at any moment, so the Clippers are ensuring that won’t happen.
While Burke’s criticism isn’t without merit, sitting out players seems better than seeing them sustain a long-term injury.