The Western Conference's fourth and fifth seeds faced off Saturday night in Memphis, and the shorthanded home team was able to stun the betting favorites. With a 113-102 performance, led by forward Zach Randolph, the Memphis Grizzlies were able to take down the Los Angeles Clippers.
Instead of pulling the starters when the Grizzlies pulled away, Chris Paul and the Clippers' core rotation stayed in the game, trying to pull off a late victory. In the end, however, they were not able to pull it off. After the game, Head Coach Doc Rivers expressed his discontent with the team's effort:
Doc Rivers was harsh on Clippers, saying they didn't compete and he should have flown half the team to New Orleans because game was a waste.— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) March 20, 2016
Doc Rivers: "It was a waste-of-time practice, it was a waste-of-time game for us today, it was a waste-of-time shoot-around."— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) March 20, 2016
Of course, by saying "flying to New Orleans," Rivers was referring to the Clippers' next contest against the Pelicans coming just the night after Saturday's game.
Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan would both end up playing a very active 32 minutes, while Green, Crawford, and Redick would play over 20 minutes as well.
With the next game scheduled for less than twenty-four hours after the conclusion of Saturday night's game, Rivers is completely right here. If the Clippers were not going to put in the necessary intensity to match the loud Memphis players and crowd, they might have well started preparing for Sunday's game early.
Ironically, Doc Rivers is also indirectly criticizing himself here: If the issue was a lack of competitiveness, possibly he should have made the necessary adjustments to bring it out of his team. Furthermore, if he felt the game was a waste, maybe he should have gone ahead and pull the starters and accepted the loss earlier than he eventually did.