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Doc Rivers' message gets through to Clippers

Coach repeatedly tells players to play hard until the end of a game, and their effort in an overtime victory against Minnesota on Sunday seemingly was a result of that imploration.

December 23, 2013|By Broderick Turner
  • Clippers Coach Doc Rivers makes a point to Chris Paul during a break in a game against the San Antonio Spurs earlier this month at the Staples Center.
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers makes a point to Chris Paul during a break in a game… (Paul Buck / EPA )

Since the early days of training camp in October, when Clippers Coach Doc Rivers watched his starters hang their heads during an intrasquad scrimmage when they trailed the reserves by double digits late in the game, Rivers has preached to his team to play hard until the game is over.

Finally, it seems, Rivers' message is getting through.

Unlike a few games earlier this season, the Clippers didn't display poor body language when they trailed late in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.

Instead, the Clippers were able to grind out a victory in overtime.

"Even in practice, he always talks about, 'The game is not over,' " Chris Paul said after the Clippers beat the Timberwolves. "He says it all the time, 'The game is never over. Extend the game.' "

The Clippers trailed by four points with 18 seconds left and by two with 13.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Earlier, the Clippers had technical fouls called on Rivers and DeAndre Jordan and Matt Barnes was ejected from the game after a flagrant foul two against Kevin Love.

Still, the Clippers kept battling, pulling out the win for their fifth straight victory.

"Sometimes more than [just the] players can lose composure, too," Rivers said after Sunday night's game. "But anyway, we won the game.

"I thought it was a great lesson for us. I kept saying it throughout down the stretch, 'It's not over. There's plenty of time. It's not over. There's plenty of time.' And I give them credit, they kind of hung there."

Barnes is fined by the NBA

The NBA fined Barnes fined $25,000 on Monday for failing to leave the court in a "timely manner" after being ejected from Sunday night's game.

Barnes, who was called for a flagrant two foul in the third quarter, had the foul downgraded to a flagrant one after the league reviewed the play.

But Barnes had to be restrained by teammates Stephen Jackson and Willie Green from going after referee Marc Davis.

Rivers said after Sunday night's game that he didn't think Barnes should have been given a flagrant two foul, but Rivers also is aware of Barnes' history for getting technical fouls and ejections.

"He's earned his reputation," Rivers said after the game. "Having said that, you [the official] still got to do your job."


Blake Griffin was selected Western Conference player of the week by the NBA on Monday. Griffin averaged 26.0 points, 11.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists for the week of Dec. 16-22, helping the Clippers go 4-0. ... The Clippers didn't practice Monday, but they will practice Tuesday in preparation for their Christmas night road game against the Golden State Warriors.

Twitter: @BA_Turner

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