The Los Angeles Clippers’ first playoff game this year ended as a 97-95 loss to the Utah Jazz thanks to a Joe Johnson buzzer-beater, and head coach Doc Rivers wasn’t happy about it. In his post-game press conference about Saturday’s loss, Rivers was asked about the circumstances that led to that Johnson shot, specifically about the Clippers’ Chris Paul making a game-tying shot with 13.1 seconds left, but plenty of time left on the shot clock. Rivers did not respond well, calling the question of if his team should have held up and tried to run the clock down before shooting “the dumbest thing I ever heard”:
“Who would do that? Like, why would you ever do that? So if you miss, the game’s over? That makes no sense. That is, like, the dumbest thing I ever heard. When you’re down two, you’re trying to score.”
For reference, here’s the play in question, with Chris Paul tying the game with 13.1 seconds left and Johnson then hitting the winner for the Jazz on the ensuing possession.
Rivers obviously thinks it’s more valuable to take your chances and score when the opportunity presents itself, but there are plenty who would disagree and say it’s more valuable killing the clock before taking your shot and preventing the other team from having a chance to win in regulation if you make it. And it’s worth noting that Paul’s shot wasn’t a wide-open look, but rather a drive into traffic; he may well have gotten just as good of a look if he’d waited a few more seconds. But Rivers clearly doesn’t subscribe to that sort of late-game philosophy, or to those who even ask questions about it.
[Matt Clapp on Clippit]