Doc Rivers says Clippers’ goal shouldn’t be to get past the second round
LOS ANGELES – Postseason success hasn’t been a strong point for the L.A. Clippers over the last couple of years. Every year, L.A.’s better team has looked ready to take the next step in the playoffs, and every year, something holds them back from it. Whether it be in the first or second round, the Clippers have been seemingly unable to advance to the Western Conference Finals with this core group.
Ahead of their matchup against the Utah Jazz in what is being dubbed the biggest postseason in franchise history, head coach Doc Rivers discussed the notion that his team’s goal is to get to the second round.
“I hope our goal is not to get past the second round,” Rivers said. “That’s such a shallow, bulls*** goal to me. You know what I mean? Who wants that? I hope our goal is far bigger than that. If that’s all we’re thinking about, then we won’t get by.”
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul led their Clippers to seven consecutive victories to close out the regular season, and they’re hoping to carry their offensive explosion into the postseason. Paul averaged 23.1 points, 10.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.9 steals on 56% shooting from the field in the final seven games, which led to his winning the Western Conference Player of the Month award for the month of April. Griffin was equally great, finishing with averages of 25.1 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and one steal per game on 59.3% shooting in the last seven games of the season.
Although Paul and Griffin are the Clippers’ leaders, Coach Rivers doesn’t think the Clippers’ playoff hopes sit in their hands.
“I don’t think it should be Chris’ job to get us (past) the second round,” added Rivers. “It should be Blake’s job, and Doc’s job and J.J.’s job. If one guy thinks that they’re going to do it, it’s not going to happen. This is not boxing.”
The Clippers time to prove they are ready to make some noise is now, with a physical, defensive-minded Utah Jazz team coming into Staples Center for Game 1 of the series on Saturday night.