Given that his team sleepwalked through the third quarter, the Los Angeles Clippers head coach had no reason to expect a hailstorm of scoring led by Darren Collison, of all people.
But storm the Clippers did, dropping 38 points in the final frame of Game 4 of Sunday’s Round 2 Western Conference matchup.
Collison notched several big buckets in the final minutes of regulation to help the Clippers to an improbable, 101-99 victory over the Thunder. Sunday was a wild, rock-polishing ride for Clippers fans—a ride that left the team’s head coach in a state of severe dehydration.
Indeed, Doc has a fever, and the only prescription is hops, baby. Rivers likely harbors a distinguished beer palate, but in that moment—that sapped afterglow of hard-won victory—anything cold and fermented would have sufficed. You could’ve handed him Milwaukee’s Best (the Beast!) and he would’ve drained it like iced coffee.
And who could blame him? Mandell certainly understands Rivers’ current state.
“After that game and the last few weeks that Rivers has had off the court, can you really blame him?” Mandell writes.
No one would wag a finger at Rivers, considering a 3-1 series disadvantage appeared to be all but a foregone conclusion when the fourth quarter rolled around in Game 4. Between playoff basketball and the Sterling family circus, it’s a miracle Rivers isn’t snagging tall boys from courtside ticket holders during TV timeouts.
The Clippers will face off against the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night. Chris Paul and company managed to pull out a convincing road win in their opening game against OKC, but the margins of victory for each team have narrowed over the course of the series.
All signs point to Rivers continuing to deal with stressful, end-of-game scenarios, so it’s probably best to keep a few on ice in the media room. Doc would appreciate the thought.
On the Twitters.