"If it is a 75, that means we have a 25," Rivers said. "Any chance you have to win, take the chance."
Blake Griffin kept his chin pointing straight ahead and didn't whisper.
"It's not like we're down 3-0," Griffin said. "We're down 2-1 and we've got another game at home. We need to correct our mistakes, but it's nothing to hang our head and be down about. We've got a chance to even it up."
Saturday was a rare day with the Clippers that did not include any talk of the Sterlings. No new recorded conversations from Donald Sterling, no renewed vows by Shelly Sterling to hold onto her share of the franchise. It was a brief respite for the players, whose frustration with the fallout from Donald Sterling's views on African-Americans is matched by their weariness of being asked about it. There is an end game, though. While Sterling insists on one of the recordings that, "You can't force someone to sell property in America," the reality is this isn't America, it's the NBA. It's a group of private members who are empowered to vote out other members. You'll note that Mark Cuban's voice of protest wasn't over whether the NBA had the right to oust Sterling, it was over whether it would be tempted or even forced to use that right with increased frequency.
There will be more stories; Shelly Sterling has a media tour planned for next week. There also will be relief. Richard Parsons has been named the interim CEO, meaning Rivers no longer occupies the top spot on the staff directory and won't be drawn into details such as approving the design of the T-shirts distributed to fans before Game 7 of the first round. Yes, the head coach had wedding planner-type tasks to do in the midst of preparing for a series-deciding game.
It's a small example of the unusual noise swirling around the Clippers in these playoffs. It's also not an acceptable excuse for failure. Rivers' counterpart in that Game 7 was Mark Jackson, who was well aware that the end of his coaching stint with the Warriors loomed at the end of their playoff run. That's a distraction, too.
The Clippers' current opponent had to deal with a headline proclaiming their star "Mr. Unreliable" on the day they faced elimination in Round 1. They handled it, along with handling the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Thunder have a mountain of evidence. The Clippers still need to construct their case. We'll have the verdict by next week.