The Los Angeles Clippers evened their first-round series with the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, winning Game 2, 99-91. But if the Clippers lose this series or don’t put up much of a fight against Golden State in the next round, changes could be on the horizon.
“Doc, when he went to this Clippers team, they were already a 56-win team under Vinny Del Negro (and made the) second round of the playoffs,” Fox Sports NBA analyst Chris Broussard said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I thought Doc would get them over the top, and whether they won a championship or not, I thought he would at least get them to the Finals and in that mix every year. Doc just hasn’t gotten it done.”
Rivers has led the Clippers to 50+ wins in each of his four seasons, but they haven’t advanced past the second round of the playoffs.
“We look at this team, I know Blake (Griffin) and DeAndre (Jordan) – that’s two big men, and neither of them is a three-point shooter or a stretch-4,” Broussard said. “That can be problematic in today’s game, but it’s up to Doc Rivers – or whoever the coach is – to figure out what style best fits your team. You don’t have to play like Golden State. I think too many teams are making that mistake, trying to play like Golden State when some of them should be playing slower, should be playing bigger. I think the Clippers could have a style that’s unique to them for their talent, but to be honest, I don’t think Doc Rivers has found it.”
Game 3 is Friday in Utah at 10 p.m. ET.
“Look, if they lose this this series, I would not fault the Clippers if they made a coaching change,” Broussard said. “I’m not saying you have to, but it certainly would be justifiable.”
In the East, meanwhile, Raptors/Bucks, which is tied 1-1, could be a long series. Game 3 is Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.
“Well, I definitely think they can win the series,” Broussard said of the Bucks. “I think (Jason) Kidd is using (the low expectations) to his advantage. When he’s saying we’re playing with house money, I think he’s using that to keep the pressure off his guys, which I think is smart. The fact is they are playing with house money because most people don’t expect them to win, they’re the 6-seed, they weren’t in the playoffs last year – so I think he can send his guys out there loosey-goosey. ‘Hey, nobody thinks we can do anything. Just play free.’ I think they don’t have the pressure on them like Toronto does. I think they’re in a good position in that regard, but I definitely believe that can win this series. As good as DeMar DeRozan is, I think Milwaukee has the best player on the floor, and that’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is outstanding.”
Antetokounmpo is averaging 26.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals in the series.
“I give them a chance,” Broussard said. “You might want to lean with Toronto because they are the third seed and they were a conference finalist last year. But with Milwaukee’s length, the best player on the floor, he can get his buckets whenever he wants, Malcolm Brogdon is a tough hard-nosed rookie – this is a team that, look, they won’t beat Cleveland if they meet them in the next round, but because of their length and athleticism, they can give some teams some problems.”