Updates from Tuesday, April 1
“Sometimes [being emotional] can be a good thing and sometimes it’s a bad thing,” Davis said following the Clippers’ win in Minnesota Monday. “[Saturday] was basically a bad thing. But it’s all about getting better.”
“I want to help this team,” Davis said. “I have to make sure I can be able to play Clipper basketball. I just got here. It’s going to be tough. The transition’s going to be tough. And things are going to happen like that.
“I’m here to play in the Playoffs. These games right now count to get better or whatever, but I want to be ready when the Playoffs start. So, I’m going to do work before, after.”
Patten continued with a statement from Rivers, “'It wasn’t that big of a deal,' Rivers said at Monday’s shootaround. 'I just thought that game was not right for us. The talk we had was 30 seconds. It wasn’t a long talk.'”
Los Angeles Clippers forward Glen Davis is known for his volatile antics, and head coach Doc Rivers had little tolerance for them in the midst of the team's critical game against the Houston Rockets on Saturday.
Rivers sent Davis to the Toyota Center locker room after the two had a verbal altercation on the sideline, calling on team security to escort Davis away from the court, per the Los Angeles Times' Brad Turner:
Doc Rivers just told team security to take Glen Davis to locker room. Rivers clearly not happy with Davis— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) March 30, 2014
Glen Davis just got pulled out of game and said someting to Doc, who yelled at Baby, "Sit your xx down."— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) March 30, 2014
After the game, Orange County Register reporter Dan Woike provided Rivers' thoughts:
"I love Baby. I just didn’t think emotionally he was ready to play tonight so we told him to go into the locker room." - Doc Rivers— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) March 30, 2014
ESPN's Arash Markazi added more:
Doc: "I just thought he was a distraction and when guys are a distraction, I don’t think they should be on the bench."— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) March 30, 2014
Davis logged just four minutes and missed two shots before Rivers pulled him from the game. Markazi noted that Davis would be held out for "disciplinary issues" for the remainder of the contest:
Glen "Big Baby" Davis will miss the rest of the game for disciplinary issues.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) March 30, 2014
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle weighed in on the situation:
Glen Davis will not return. Out with a temper tantrum.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) March 30, 2014
All-Star forward Blake Griffin was injured in the first quarter, and his return was doubtful due to back spasms, per the Rockets' official Twitter account:
Blake Griffin is doubtful to return with lower back spasms.— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 30, 2014
So it does make some sense that Davis was so livid. Then again, arguing with a coach to the point where he was held out for the rest of the evening is not a good look.
It seemed as though Davis was slated to thrive in a suitable reunion with Rivers in L.A. when the Clippers brought him in as a free agent on Feb. 24, following Davis' buyout from the Orlando Magic. Davis began his career with the Boston Celtics, where Rivers coached before taking over for the Clippers prior to this season.
A temper tantrum in a Florida hotel and general mood swings were part of what got Davis out of Orlando and into a better situation in L.A. The Clippers are near the top of the Western Conference, and Rivers serves as a legitimate coaching authority, paving the way for an ideal environment in which Davis could succeed.
But in 14 previous games with his new team, Davis has averaged just 13.4 minutes and 3.6 points per contest, struggling to fit into a deep Clips rotation. He discussed the difficulty to adjust and how missing out on training camp doesn't help his ability to acclimate to new teammates, per a March 22 report by Turner:
I wasn't there for that. I'm not looking to get a real groove, as far as thinking without thinking kind of method, until the playoffs. So every day is a grind and just a way to get to know everybody.
It's just what guys want. What Chris Paul wants. How he wants it done. What Blake wants. How I should play with Blake, because he's usually playing with a guy who's above the rim all the time. So it's easy for him. I'm different. I'm a different player. I'm below the rim. I'm different from DeAndre. So it's learning that system and just knowing the guys on the floor.
A limited number of minutes, combined with the frustration of transitioning from a starting role with the Magic to barely seeing the hardwood, have to be contributing to Davis' displeasure. It makes sense that he'd be annoyed after being pulled Saturday in such a critical game.
But Rivers has developed trust with his core players throughout the season, something that Davis can't replicate despite his previous association with the coach in Boston. Evidently, even in lieu of Griffin, Rivers felt more comfortable with the other frontcourt players on his bench than Big Baby.
This adds to the rather embarrassing track record of unprofessional conduct that has followed Davis. Perhaps Rivers can get through to him and help drive home the message that Davis must learn to stay composed during trying times. Otherwise, he will find himself on the outside of the rotation looking in—no matter how significant Griffin's injury is.
There are only eight games remaining in the regular season, so Davis does not have much time to assimilate on or off the court. His latest tantrum certainly upset Rivers, and it could potentially alienate teammates who don't know him well.
Since the Clippers have a realistic shot at seizing the Larry O'Brien Trophy, Rivers must proceed with caution so that the team's chemistry isn't disrupted.