One of the harsh truths of the NBA is that close games can make or break a season. Consider how close the playoff races are at the end of the season. Last season alone, three wins separated the No. 3 seed Trail Blazers in the West from the outside looking in Nuggets at No. 9. Over an 82 game season, a team can play maybe 10 games that come down to a five-point margin in the final two minutes. When it gets that close metrics are thrown out the books. Luck comes into play as well as execution and refereeing. So many factors can decide how a close game could play out. If a team has enough close games go the wrong way for them then that could be the difference between playoffs or home court advantage.
Maybe knowing this is why Doc Rivers went into this upcoming Clippers season preparing for the Clippers to be playing in a lot of close games. Rivers had his players preparing for close game situations since day one and looking at his roster that was probably the right move. Without a true star player Rivers knew what he had and he and knew he had to get to work on the type of situations those teams will be in. Specifically close games. Via the Los Angeles Times.
When he looked at the roster before the season, there was one thing clearer than all others.
“We knew we were going to play in a [expletive] load of close games,” Rivers said.
This is who his team is — the cardiac Clippers, a team without the star power needed to blow out teams, but with the toughness and togetherness to be hard to stop.
Three of their last four games at Staples Center have gone to overtime — against three of the NBA’s top teams, Milwaukee, Golden State and Memphis. A five-point win against San Antonio is the other.