For the last three weeks, Doc Rivers has been the most inspirational leader in Los Angeles, the strongest man in the NBA, a beacon of restraint and respect amid a raging storm of stupidity.
Rivers has been the Clippers' official face when the rest of the front office wanted to hide. Rivers has spoken for Clippers players too angry to put their thoughts into words. As owner Donald Sterling was being banned by the NBA for life for his racist remarks, Rivers came to life as the powerful symbol of hope and change. With every thoughtful word to the media or understanding gesture to his players, Rivers rose so far above the muck it appeared he would be one of the few to emerge from this mess
without once losing his cool.
Then, on Tuesday night in Oklahoma City, Doc got dirty. Handed a bad officials' call that led to a devastatingly botched playoff game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Rivers fell to Earth with a loud and unseemly crash. He railed at the referees after the play while his team stood around in confusion. He ripped the referees after the game with words that implied he thought the series had already been lost.
“It needed to be said and it was the truth. It was a call that should
have went our way. That's been verified, as well. At the end of the
day, like I said, I still look at us and say we made our own problems.
You know, it should have never come to that.”