Doc Rivers is a master motivator.
He devilishly asked his Celtics to give him $100 while they were playing at Staples Center during the 2010 season. He then hid the money inside the visitor’s locker room and said they would get the money back when the team returned to Los Angeles for the NBA Finals.
The Celtics finished fourth in the East and then upset the top-seeded Cavaliers and then the second-seeded Magic to reach the NBA Finals for the second time in three years. Boston got its money back — even if the team ended falling a game short of winning the championship.
His latest ploy will not cost the Clippers as much. Maybe just a day of rest or practice in a long preseason.
The Clippers opened their preseason Tuesday night at Staples Center against the Warriors. The game was supposed to be played Wednesday. But in the puzzle that is arena scheduling — particularly an arena with as many full-time tenants as Staples Center — the date just did not work for the champs in the building.
Those champs are the Los Angeles Kings.
Former Stanley Cup champion and Kings executive Luc Robitaille called up Doc Rivers, the president of basketball operations for the Clippers, as the teams were devising their schedules. Los Angeles had already reserved the court for Wednesday, October 8. And Robitaille needed that date for his team.
As the Clippers television broadcast told it on Prime Ticket (and NBATV) during the second quarter of the Clippers’ preseason game Tuesday, Robitaille asked Rivers if they could switch dates. NBC Sports Network wanted to broadcast the Kings’ ring ceremony on the opening night of the NHL season.
Rivers, being a gracious co-tenant and neighbor, said sure. But on one condition.
He wanted tickets for his team to attend the game. He wanted them to experience and see a Los Angeles championship ring ceremony as a way to motivate them for the upcoming season.
The Clippers are indeed championship contenders and were pretty close last year, losing to the Thunder in the second round of the Playoffs in six games. So the proximity to championships and seeing another team collect their rings — in their building, no less — should serve as some decent motivation.
If that does not work, Rivers has another ploy.those
The Clippers hung their Pacific Division banners (both of them) on one side of their practice facility. On the other side, Rivers has a spotlight shining on an empty spot on the wall. That is where the team hopes to hang a championship banner next year.
Who knows? Maybe the L.A. Kings will get a chance to take in the Clippers’ ring ceremony next season.