Los Angeles Clippers

LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers on the team before suspension of NBA season: 'We started understanding each other'

It's been nearly a month since the 2019-20 NBA season was suspended. Each team is dealing with the hiatus in their own way and the LA Clippers are no exception.

"We do two to three calls a week with all our coaches and we talk about everything," Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said in his opening statement on the Zoom video conference call with the media on Wednesday.

"We are also staying in contact with our players daily."

When the season was paused, the Clippers were the second seed in the West with a record of 44-20, 5.5 games behind the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers. Despite suffering their only loss to the Lakers just a few days before the season's suspension, Rivers was feeling very confident about his team.

"We started understanding each other. Down the stretch of games, we were playing seamlessly through Kawhi and PG, it wasn't forced anymore. Guys weren't trying to stay out of each other's ways, you could feel the rhythm."

"Even in the Laker loss, wherein my opinion we played horrendously, that was one of our step-back games and even in that game we still had a chance, and that was our D game."

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Prior to the season's suspension, the Clippers had won seven of their last eight and their head coach was certain the team could have had a successful postseason.

"But I thought we were about [to make] like a crazy run down the stretch but unfortunately, it stopped," he continued. "This team is good, I think we can beat anybody."

Although there is no word on when the season could restart, Commissioner Adam Silver is exploring many different scenarios including games at practice facilities with no fans or an isolated single-site like Las Vegas.

However, Rivers and his players are preparing for anything and want to focus on what's in their hands.

"It is difficult because if the season starts back up, you have to know that it is not going to be normal. Whatever we decide, it is not going to be normal. So I am trying to get my guys to understand two things, that our goals haven't changed and that we cannot use whatever happens when we come out of this as the reason that we don't win."

Led by Rivers, the Clippers coaching staff is preparing for a possible start to the season as though nothing as changed, preparing match-up wise with every predicted playoff team in the West.

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While Rivers and Clippers' President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank, who was also on the call, do keep in regular touch with the team via Zoom, the franchise has gone the extra mile by building 'home gyms' for the players and doing group workouts on Zoom to ensure and help them stay in shape.

"I know Kawhi is working," Rivers said when asked about how the break could help the players especially reigning Finals Kawhi Leonard. "I can guarantee you that."

"The difference is during the summer, Kawhi couldn't work. Now, he's got this break and he is able to train, so the Kawhi we will see will be in phenomenal shape. PG is another guy that will be in phenomenal shape."

Speaking about the potential return from break, Rivers believed this could be "the best-played playoffs in history."

The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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