Doc Rivers went over the wreckage from the LA Clippers‘ Sport 6 collapse and noticed just a few tell-tale indicators.
In blowing two large leads of their previous two losses to permit the Denver Nuggets to stunningly drive a Sport 7, the Clippers stopped taking part in with the tempo and goal that helped them construct 16-point and 19-point leads in Video games 5 and 6.
And in Sport 6, Rivers noticed the sport flip within the third quarter after Jamal Murray went down arduous with no foul known as and Paul George hit a three that put the Clippers up 68-49 with 10:10 left within the quarter.
“There is no secret like potion that one thing occurred,” Rivers stated on Monday in regards to the Clippers’ two blown leads in a row. “The 2 issues that we did not do, clearly defensively, they shot nearly 60% within the second half. The one factor that did stand out, they went to the free throw line like on each play.”
“I feel from the time when Murray went down with that damage,” Rivers added of the Nuggets taking pictures 12 of 16 free throws within the third after the Clippers led by 19. “I feel that is human nature. You see a man go down, there isn’t any name on the play, after which the following factor you understand you are on the free throw line. And provides Denver credit score as a result of they understood that they usually began being aggressive.”
Total, each groups shot the identical variety of free throws (27) in Sport 6, however Rivers factors out that the Nuggets’ aggression paid off within the second half as Denver went to the road 19 occasions to the Clippers’ 11 within the second half.
Because the Clippers enter their largest recreation of the season attempting to advance to their first Western Convention finals, Rivers says it is crucial that George and his guards keep out of foul bother.
George has dedicated a minimum of 4 fouls within the three earlier video games with 5 fouls apiece in Video games four and 5. Patrick Beverley additionally fouled out in 18 minutes in Sport 6, placing a pressure on Rivers’ defensive rotation.
“PG cannot get in foul bother,” Rivers stated of needing his star guard in Sport 7. “I feel he is been in foul bother not less than two, perhaps three of the video games, and at occasions he is not even guarding certainly one of your key guys. We have simply obtained to maintain him on the ground.
“The foul bother by our guards, they’ve been very hurtful on this sequence, and never simply the final two video games. We have got to maintain our guards on the ground, as a result of if we do not, we have to go to lineups defensively that aren’t fascinating.”
Whereas the resilient Nuggets have the momentum and will likely be taking part in of their fourth consecutive Sport 7 courting again to final postseason, the Clippers will likely be relying totally on the Sport 7 expertise of each Rivers and Kawhi Leonard.
Rivers is not any stranger to Sport 7s. He’s 6-7 in Sport 7s all-time along with his wins second solely to Pink Auerbach’s eight, per ESPN Stats & Data analysis.
“Rah-rah speeches are very overrated,” Rivers stated of what he’ll inform his crew earlier than Sport 7. “They final about three minutes … there isn’t any like secret speech. That is for the films.”
“There’s nothing secret or magical,” Rivers added. “It is about taking part in basketball, manning up, shifting the ball, doing all of the issues that we will do.”
And the Clippers will lean on Leonard, the reigning Finals MVP who’s 2-2 in Sport 7s.
“Simply obtained to go away all of it out on the ground and ensure we’re being attentive to element and executing and speaking on the defensive finish,” Leonard stated on Sunday of his message to his crew about taking part in in Sport 7s. “And that is all we will do, go on the market and play arduous and simply be certain we all know the sport plan.”
Leonard eradicated Philadelphia final yr along with his memorable buzzer-beating nook shot in Sport 7 of the East semis for the Toronto Raptors.
“He is unshakable,” Rivers stated of Leonard. “Kawhi, you possibly can’t assure he’ll play effectively or not as a result of he is human and all gamers are.
“However you understand, the second will not be too large. That is the one factor like with him, you simply know that. In order that’s comforting to know that.”