Doc Rivers, Frank Vogel speak out on Clippers’ attempted ‘tanking’ vs. Blazers
The Los Angeles Clippers were missing a number of key players during Saturday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell were all out against Portland, prompting Joe Vardon of The Athletic to opine the Clippers were openly tanking so Portland would have a better shot at claiming the No. 8 seed and taking on the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers. However, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said he does not see things that way:
“I don’t get involved in that,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said when I asked him if that’s what he thinks. “I honestly don’t look at it. I heard our guys talking about it. I’m like, listen, that’s their business. Our business is who we’re playing. We need to focus on that.”
If the Clippers are indeed trying to put the crosstown rival Lakers in what they might feel is a compromising one, it does not bother Lakers head coach Frank Vogel (via Vardon):
“I’ve got no problem with it,” Vogel said of the Clippers pulling their players against the Blazers, to try and set up a Lakers-Portland series. “Everybody’s got to manage their own team, their own way, and that’s all I can really say about it. I’ve got no problem with it.”
The “tanking” notion became somewhat null and void after the Clippers manufactured a surprising victory over the Trail Blazers.
Moreover, even if Portland climbs to the No. 8 seed, they will still have to take part in a play-in tournament for the final spot in the Western Conference.
Regardless, it seems both L.A. squads are keeping the focus internal as they prepare for the playoffs.