On Friday, January 29, 2016, the Lakers and the Clippers met for a game at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles. As what usually happens before most pro sports games, the head coaches came out for pre-game press conferences.
Usually the coaches talk about which players were suiting up, who will start, injury updates and general questions about the game and for the Clippers, the playoff race.
On Friday nearly every question was on one subject: the status of power forward Blake Griffin. As basketball fans know, while the team was on its most recent road trip Blake Griffin, who has been out since December 26 with a quadriceps injury, got into an altercation with assistant equipment manager Matias Testi in Toronto, January 23. Griffin broke his right hand when he punched Testi, which means he will be out an additional four-to-six weeks — at least.
That has been the topic for the Clippers all week and the players, Griffin included, have been avoiding the topic. When asked why Griffin wasn’t at Staples Center Friday, Rivers said, “Because you’re here,” meaning the press. So Doc Rivers was left to answer the questions.
How is the team doing without their star forward? Well, they are 14-3 without him, but they have had to adjust their game and play a spread offense that utilizes their outside shooters a lot more. But in the press conference Rivers wasn’t sure if his team could continue that scheme and win at that pace, although he believes once Griffin returns the team will be far more versatile as far as offense goes.
Rivers said he’s satisfied with what he knows about the incident and that as far as the Clippers are concerned, the investigation is over or nearly over. Now they are waiting on the league to determine what happens next.
Claudia Gestro covered the game and the press conference, which was at times punctuated by the coach’s sense of humor. Doc Rivers is the type of person who, when asked questions, answers in paragraphs, rather than short sound bites so his press conferences are often intelligent, informative and entertaining.
Photos and video by Claudia Gestro.
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