Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers grew teary-eyed and choked up before Game 5 of the opening round of the playoffs against the Portland Trail Blazers.
During his pregame media session on Wednesday, a reporter asked Rivers who he typically refers to or leans on after tough moments, especially given the recent season-ending injuries to point guard Chris Paul and forward Blake Griffin.
“I don’t know,” said Rivers as his eyes welled to tears. After he paused for a brief moment, he explained to the group of media members that his sadness stemmed from the recent passing of his mother, Bettye Rivers. “I’m not crying over being discouraged,” the 54-year-old Rivers continued. “The question] made me think about my mom. That would have been the person.”
Bettye Rivers died at the age of 82 last June in Maywood, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago where Doc grew up.
Later that night, the Clippers lost to the Trail Blazers 108-98, falling 3-2 in their series and facing a win or go home situation in Friday night’s game.
“It’s a stressful time,” said Rivers’ son Austin, who also plays for the Clippers. “Obviously we had high hopes and two of our best players go down just like that, but we’re still in this series.”
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