Clippers delight coach Rivers as they win by 'playing ugly'

Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:24pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The best teams in the National Basketball Association are typically able to win games "playing ugly", and Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers wants to see his players develop this attribute.

Rivers was delighted with the outcome at a packed Staples Center on Saturday, but readily admitted he was taken aback by his team's ability to deliver the 'ugly' script on cue as they overcame an erratic display to beat the Utah Jazz 98-90.

"You're playing hard, things still aren't going right and you've got to find a way to win," the husky-voiced Rivers told reporters after the (21-11) Clippers took control of the game after the score was tied at 90-90 with 2:25 left.

"And that's the team I want us to become one day. I didn't mean tonight but I will take tonight.

"Every time we got a 10-point, nine-point lead, it was almost guaranteed we're going to have three turnovers in a row or bobble the ball. It was just one of those nights. We just made enough plays to win the game."

Power forward Blake Griffin shrugged off a career-high eight turnovers to pile up 40 points on 13-for-20 shooting, along with 10 rebounds, while All-Star point guard Chris Paul narrowly missed a rare triple-double.

Paul, playmaker extraordinaire for the Clippers and so often their prime closer, finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as he and Griffin inspired one another with their 'must win' energy in the fourth quarter.

"We just tried to get out the win, it's not going to be pretty every night," Paul ruefully said after the Clippers ended a two-game losing streak by fending off a spirited fightback by the (9-24) Jazz.   Continued...