Blake Griffin takes a deep breath

Rivers said that Sunday after watching the film. But Saturday night, after the game, the enduring image most had was of Griffin accidentally pouring water on a Warriors fan behind the Clippers' bench after a questionable foul took him out of the game in crunch time.

Some of that is social media. But enough of it is true for any player or team with aspirations as high as Griffin and the Clippers' to pay attention. "We talk about breathing a lot to our team," Rivers said. "In huddles, 'Just breathe, please.'

"But it's just learning. And I think it's learned through stress. I've found that the deeper you get in the playoffs, the more you can learn it. It's hard any other way."

Of all the things Rivers has done for the Clippers this season, just knowing that he's been there before and been hardened by that kind of pressure has given players such as Griffin and Paul the most peace.

But sometimes it takes longer to settle in than you want or think it should. Sometimes it just takes one game to find your flow again. It happens all the time in big fights -- after all the hype and hoopla, the fighters kind of paw nervously at each other for a couple of rounds.

As he processed the loss and prepared for Monday night's Game 2 at Staples Center, it appeared as if Griffin had taken a few minutes to breathe.

"With our situation, we've put ourselves in a hole and we need to fight. More so for ourselves than anything," he said. "I think sometimes you want to win so badly that you maybe try to do a little too much sometimes. We're all guilty of that. But I think we just got away from it. I'm not sure exactly where or exactly why. I think we just got away from it.

"I don't think it really matters if you've been in a situation before or not. If you have to be in a situation before to know how to come out and play hard, then you've already lost. We should be ready.

"We're looking forward to it."

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