“Really Disappointed Me”: Clippers Owner Opens up on Team’s Playoffs Exit and Doc Rivers’ Firing

Published 10/22/2020, 11:30 AM EDT
Sep 7, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers reacts after center Ivica Zubac (not pictured) fouled out of the game against the Denver Nuggets during the second half of game three of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


The Clippers’ disappointing run in the playoffs this season called for some reevaluation. Therefore, this led to some decisions that the front office would never even have considered before. Majorly, firing Doc Rivers.

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Just a few weeks after the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets, they made veteran coach Rivers leave the franchise. This came after piles of scrutiny, because this was not the first time a team had lost a 3-1 lead under his coaching. It looked like a pattern, and the Clippers wanted that gone.

After an extensive search, the Clippers have landed Tyronn Lue as their new coach. Even though this may be in their best interest, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer accepts that it wasn’t a simple decision to make, and it wasn’t hasty either.

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Doc Rivers knew this was best for the Clippers

Ballmer has always considered Rivers “fantastic championship coach” and “a mentor”. When he met with Rivers after the playoffs, they both came to the same conclusion: that they should end their six-year partnership. All it has resulted in is appearing in the playoffs, but not advancing past the second round.

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“It’s very important to me that we not do anything in the heat of the moment,” Ballmer said in a conference call Wednesday. “That’s not rational, like, ‘Oh, we lost a game.’ That’s not sane. We took our time. Doc and I took our time together and arrived to the point we did.”

He even commented on what transpired in the playoffs. “I don’t think we played our best basketball most of the time, frankly, we were in the bubble,” Ballmer said. “Certainly the way we ended our season, that really disappointed me,” said Steve.

This is certain that Rivers wasn’t the only one to blame. They had the best wing defenders at their disposal, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. But they still could not step up to an underdog team. Everyone was looking forward to an LA Conference Finals which the Clippers could not fulfill.

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LA Clippers guard Paul George brings the ball up court against the Denver Nuggets during the first half of game three of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With a new coach and going for a rebuild, do you think the Clippers can begin with a clean slate?

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Yashima Bhatia

1482 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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