ATLANTA- Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers came into Wednesday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks as one of the best teams in the league. They were 6-4 in their last ten games, and you could tell that Doc Rivers was starting to put his stamp on this team. They were set to face off against the Atlanta Hawks, who were just 1-6 in their last seven, and were in a free fall. On paper, it seemed like a match up between one of the league’s best teams and a struggling Eastern Conference team.
It didn’t work out that way.
The Hawks came out on fire, and Atlanta’s first bucket was a three pointer, and that tied the all-time record for most consecutive games with a three at 89. They wouldn’t look back. Atlanta would pick apart the Clippers on defense all night with their ball movement, and it seemed like Doc Rivers’ head was set to explode. They 12 of their 23 attempts from beyond the arc (52.2%), and they had 28 assists on 42 made baskets. Paul Millsap took advantage of Blake Griffin, and added 25 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists.
After the game, Doc Rivers was in good spirits, but he was not happy with their defensive effort. “Our deal wasn’t offensivley tonight, we were terrible on defense,” Rivers said to the media in Atlanta, “Our overall defense was pretty poor.” It wasn’t just the three point shooting that got them, as the Clippers gave up 46 points and 18 rebounds to Paul Millsap and Al Horford.
“We [weren't] here tonight defensively. They got comfortable. We had chances to get back in the game, we kept cutting it to six or eight, then we’d make a gamble play or do something,” Rivers added. Overall, he was displeased with the effort, but it seemed as if he was ready to move on. “We’re not there; I was disappointed in our three point defense tonight cause that’s the one area I thought we’d cleaned up, and did a pretty good job, but tonight we were bad,” Rivers said after the loss. “It always frustrates you, “Rivers said of their defense, “but you play tomorrow, and I won’t be still frustrated tomorrow.”
The Clippers lost 107-97 in Atlanta, but they are back at it tomorrow in Memphis.