Heisler: How Doc Rivers went from indispensable Clipper to doomed one

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Related Articles Short-handed Clippers no match for Jazz down the stretch Blake Griffin’s knee sprain could have been a lot worse for Clippers It’s a day like any other day in the Post-Chris Paul Era, which is to say anything that can go wrong has, with Blake Griffin joining Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley and Milos Teodosic on the injured list.Coach Doc Rivers is asked hopefully if bad times might not bring them together.“Well,” Doc says, laughing, “there’s nobody here to bring together.”Only Rivers could look so light-hearted at such a moment. Communicator genius that he is, he has already done the hopeful bit that he surely laid on his players (“Everyone gets paid. … I’ve been in this situation before. You’ll find your joy in it as well, as a coach and as players.”)This isn’t one of those nightmares where the coach sounds like a robot droning, “That’s in the past, we’re just concerned about getting better every day,” until he’s removed.center_img “It is what it is,” says Rivers, conceding the harsh reality, but making it look somehow manageable. “There’s not much you can do about it, but you can’t lay down, I can tell you that. You have to play.”Among NBA coaches, only San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich balances charm and harsh reality better than Doc. Pop just does a scarier version with the considerable advantage of low-maintenance star players, starting with David Robinson and Tim Duncan, and a superb front office that he ruled but let General Manager R.C. Buford run.Unfortunately for Rivers, he had CP3, the diminutive power behind the throne who led the recruiting effort for Doc but wound up abandoning him, while Doc ran his own front office as multi-tasking new exec.Steve Ballmer bumped Rivers down to coach-only this season but softened the blow by putting Doc’s guy, Lawrence Frank, in charge. Now with things going from dire to worse, the question is whether Ballmer, who wants his stamp on the franchise, will bump Rivers down to unemployed … or if Doc, who didn’t come to rebuild, will want to stay.The cheery Ballmer has been anything but an ogre, but between changing the team’s colors and logo, bringing in a new business operation to replace Sterling’s token one and negotiating to move to Inglewood if Staples Center doesn’t give them better dates, there’s no missing who’s in charge.The buzz about Rivers isn’t just an internet phenomenon in which everyone rewrites everyone else as if they had a clue what they’re talking about. The Clippers insider network is crackling with speculation that Ballmer and/or his people are looking even more skeptically at Doc than when his problem was early playoff exits.Bad luck is just that. Bad timing, which this is, drives events.More than a coach is endangered here but a new hopeful way of life. If the Clippers were all but ignored in the Lakers-loving market, Doc’s arrival confirmed their new status as a destination for stars that the Lakers had once been.CP3 had already waived his one-year option to facilitate a trade to them. Rivers, who could have gone anywhere after taking the Celtics to one title and a second NBA Finals appearance, seemed like the maraschino cherry atop the sundae of their new good fortune.To that point, the Clippers were always Sterling’s plaything. Doc’s arrival, on the condition that he got to run the entire operation, promised a new lucid era.Donald being Donald, he soon voiced his objections to Rivers’ trade, bringing J.J. Redick from Milwaukee. Doc being Doc, the story soon got into the press that if Donald didn’t get out of the way, Doc would leave.The Clippers went a best-ever 57-25 in that 2013-14 season, facing the Warriors in the first round of the playoffs when Sterling’s girl friend, V. Stiviano, released a tape she had recorded of Donald asking her not to bring African-Americans to the game.At a time when tone was as important as actions in an African-American-dominated league, Rivers led a quiet insurrection, refusing to take Sterling’s phone calls while letting his players channel their protest, shedding their warm-up tops in a pile before a game in Oakland.Everything the NBA and the Clippers did to disown Sterling depended on Rivers’ recognition of their legitimacy. As the indispensable Clipper, Ballmer gave Doc, whom Sterling had already been paying $7 million per season, a 10-year, $50 million extension.Withstanding the tumult, the team won the series in seven games, the Warriors’ last postseason series loss to a Western Conference team. Within that month, the team was up for sale and Ballmer had offered $2 billion, $400 million more than the next highest bid.You can argue how much value Rivers had added, but it was considerable.For all that Doc’s teams did during the ensuing seasons and didn’t do in the playoffs, it wasn’t a curse that doomed them. It was the same thing that happened to everyone else: The rise of the Warriors to super-team.The Clippers were just the rival with the shallow support but the towering expectations … and the special enmity of the Warriors, who have won the past 11 meetings, dating to Christmas Day 2015, by an average of 14 points.Every postseason, the media would ask if Paul didn’t have to win a title to secure his legacy. It was a compliment to regard him as a star of that magnitude, but it cut both ways. Desperate to get past the Warriors, CP3 fled to Houston last summer, leaving the Clippers entering a new, generic, and, six weeks into it, snake-bitten era.Nothing is forever anywhere but especially in Clipper Nation. Clippers try to stay calm after Austin Rivers snaps Now, the return of the Clipper Curse, blah, blah.As if.The Clippers never had a curse, or needed one, with Donald Sterling, the owner who kept them a laughingstock for decades, and the Lakers whose domination of the market ensured that whatever the Clips did – like averaging 54 wins the past five seasons, No. 3 in the league behind Golden State and San Antonio – they got no credit for it.Now this …last_img read more

Dodgers family celebration keeps growing bigger

first_imgLOS ANGELES >> The Brut and the Budweiser pooled up in the middle of the Dodgers’ clubhouse Sunday afternoon as players, coaches, trainers and executives arrived to celebrate their fourth straight National League West title. Their families stood outside in a hallway, safely separated from the squalor by two sets of double doors.Dodgers manager Dave Roberts briefly stepped outside to kiss his wife and his daughter. Then he looked up to see rows of wives, girlfriends, children, mothers and fathers standing on dry ground.“You guys come in! Families are in,” Roberts shouted above the clamor.With that declaration, the clubhouse grew impossibly fuller — the Dodgers’ season in a nutshell. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Forty players were active for a 4-3 win over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday. That’s happened before according to Major League Baseball, but it’s rare. It’s also uncommon for a team to cycle through 55 players (only the San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves have used more this season), but the 2016 Dodgers did that too.The story of why the Dodgers needed so many players has been told: 28 different men spent time on the disabled list at various times, a record since at least 1987. Those injuries required 15 different pitchers to start a game and 24 different position players to swing a bat.Of the 40 active players Sunday, 10 were not in the Dodgers’ spring training camp — either because they were on the minor league side of Camelback Ranch or in another organization. But the lines between veteran and rookie, between newcomer and holdover, blurred when the division was clinched. The story of how so many players felt at home in one clubhouse is difficult to appreciate from the outside, and perhaps an underrated part of the club’s success.center_img “You saw the injuries happen and they didn’t let it factor into anything,” pitcher Jesse Chavez said. “They just picked those guys up who were on the DL. That’s something you saw from the other side before I got here. It’s impressive to watch.”Chavez, 33, was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays on Aug. 1. The Dodgers are the eighth organization he’s played for in a professional career that began in 2003. He said he felt at home in the clubhouse immediately, noticing quickly that the Dodgers avoided the trap of splintering into cliques.“Just the conversations you have in passing — the walking bys, the hellos — just simple stuff,” Chavez said. “The acknowledgment of everybody, the communication we have, is beyond what you could imagine.“To come here, it feels like I was in spring training with this group.”A few minutes later, standing on the opposite side of the room, veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz said the same thing.The Dodgers are Ruiz’s second organization. His 18-year run with the Philadelphia Phillies ended when he was traded for A.J. Ellis on August 25. Ruiz was just as beloved in Philadelphia as Ellis was in Los Angeles.And yet, Ruiz said, “it took me two or three days just to fit into the group. They tried to make me feel like I was here since the beginning of the season. That was big.”Two of the biggest contributors Sunday weren’t in the clubhouse for vast portions of the season. The game’s hero, Charlie Culberson, hadn’t started in four days. That was typical for him. A non-roster invitee to spring training, Culberson made the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster, then wound up on the Oklahoma City-to-Los Angeles express. He spent roughly half of the season in Triple-A.On Saturday, Roberts told Culberson he would be in the lineup Sunday. That was typical too. Culberson had a day to prepare and, by extension, a way to feel like part of the team.“He does a good job of that,” Culberson said of Roberts.The starting pitcher, Brandon McCarthy, was two weeks removed from his lowest point in the season if not his career. Technically he’d been on the disabled list with a sore hip. In reality, he had been battling a case of the yips.“You kind of forget how to throw a ball,” McCarthy said, “at least in a competitive situation.”For a moment, McCarthy feared his career might be over at age 33. A mechanical adjustment in the bullpen changed that. He re-discovered his fastball command and threw 5 1/3 innings against the Rockies, allowing only two runs.“This last month, I couldn’t have felt more removed,” McCarthy said. “That wasn’t by people excluding me. Everybody gave me the widest berth I could have to go figure things out. A couple weeks ago I was praying that someone would call from the front office and say, ‘shut this down, we’ll see you next year, let’s get things figured out.’ And you can’t feel farther away from the team at that point. “The last two weeks, it was like, ‘hey I feel like I’m part of this again.’ I wanted to get back into a game.”In the middle of the clubhouse Sunday, pitcher Kenta Maeda lifted his interpreter off the ground and dumped him into a beer cooler. The damp elbows of data analysts brushed against those of minor league coaches. Several players dispatched the clichéd metaphor about teammates as family, but it was never more appropriate. Roberts had already invited everyone’s families into the room.last_img read more

Judge issues tentative ruling dismissing suit against KABC radio, host

first_imgMcIntyre exploited a combination of anti-immigration sentiment and the nation’s fear of Islamic terrorists to “create a racist fury against Latino school children, teachers, administrators and staff at the school,” according to the lawsuit. Among other remarks to his listeners, McIntyre said “Is this a reconquista school?”; “This school is ranked the lowest of the low in the LAUSD and in the state of California”; and “Aztecs butchered and ate Spanish invaders. I wonder if they’re teaching that at ASDP,” according to the lawsuit. McIntyre said Aguilar’s job was to “keep his school, his madrasa school, open so they can train the next generation of Aztec revolutionaries,” according to the lawsuit. The radio host also used “code words” aimed at a target audience to rile up listeners and create a backlash against the school and Aguilar, the plaintiffs allege. As a result, they say, the school received many threats of violence, including a bomb threat that caused an evacuation of the campus. In a declaration submitted to the court on Oct. 15, McIntyre said he found the bomb threat against the school deplorable and offered $1,000 of his own money as a reward for bringing the perpetrator to justice. “That offer remains standing today,” McIntyre’s declaration states. McIntyre also denied his use of the word “madrasa” was meant to insinuate that the school was teaching students jihadist philosophy or instructing them how they could become revolutionaries. Although Aguilar appeared on other KABC radio shows, he refused to be interviewed by McIntyre, according to the broadcaster. Meanwhile, a man who aimed his car at KABC radio reporter Sandy Wells and snatched the newsman’s audiotape as he tried to interview parents and others outside the school on June 1, 2006, was sentenced in May to three years probation. Ramon Flores also was ordered to pay $174 to Wells — who jumped out of the way of the speeding sedan and escaped injury — and complete 400 hours of service on a Caltrans crew. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A judge today tentatively dismissed a lawsuit brought by a Los Angeles charter campus against KABC-AM and its morning host, alleging he led an on-air, racist campaign against the school that led to a bomb scare. Academia Semillas Del Pueblo and its principal director of operations, Marcos Aguilar, filed the lawsuit May 17 in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging slander and civil rights violations. Superior Court Judge Ralph W. Dau stated in a written ruling that the remarks made by “McIntyre in the Morning” host Doug McIntyre were opinion and not a “command to imminent violence or other lawless action.” After hearing arguments this morning from the attorneys concerning his ruling, Dau said he was taking the case under submission. He did not give a date for a final ruling. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Aguilar attended the hearing, but McIntyre, whose program airs from 5-9 a.m. daily, was not present. Outside the courtroom, Daniel J. Bramzon, a lawyer for Aguilar and the school, contended that regardless of the final decision, Aguilar has made “a David and Goliath stand against hate speech.” James J. Moneer, another attorney for Aguilar and the school, argued the statute being used by the radio station and McIntyre to try and get the suit thrown out was never intended to protect the statements made by the veteran broadcaster. However, Seth D. Berlin, a lawyer for the station and McIntyre, said McIntyre’s show is not a hard-news broadcast, but one in which he freely gives his opinions on social issues of the day. Often those views are expressed through satire and rhetorical flourish, he told the judge. The lawsuit alleges McIntyre began criticizing various aspects of the school in May 2006, including its funding, curriculum, demographics, administrators and educational statistics, all in order to increase his show’s ratings. last_img read more