Doc Rivers once considered forfeiting a game due to NBA scheduling madness
Rivers almost told the Clippers to stay home in 2014
The common theme for the NBA's 82-game regular season is that it's a marathon not a sprint. Meaning that the season is long and players would be wise to pace themselves.
The NBA schedule can be brutal not only because of the length of a season. There are back-to-backs and frequent travel. All of this results in players often not getting adequate rest. Which is why in 2014, Clippers coach Doc Rivers once considered forfeiting a game because he knew his players would be lethargic and noncompetitive after a tiring stretch of games.
From ESPN's Baxter Holmes:
TODAY, RIVERS IS keenly aware of which games are "unwinnable" -- so much so that he's actually considered the once-unthinkable: forfeiting. Rivers, now the Clippers' coach, recalls that LA was scheduled in 2014 for back-to-back games, the second on the road, immediately following a seven-game road trip. "I contemplated keeping the team home, literally," Rivers says. "We knew we were walking into getting our ass kicked, and that's what happened.
"What is it they say? If you have less than five hours of sleep for three days in a row, your reactions are that of a legally drunk driver? We've seen that with our own eyes."
Rivers is referring to a Jan. 30, 2014 game where the Clippers lost to the Warriors 111-92. The Clippers were actually down by eight points at the half but fell apart in the second half, scoring just 11 points in the third quarter.
The Clippers, like most teams, have become smarter about when to and when not to play players. Like on Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets, the Clippers rested Blake Griffin because they used biometrics and decided that that was the best game to rest him at this point in the season. According to CBS Sports' James Herbert, Rivers said the Clippers made this decision "literally months ago."
"The people we hired [to do biometrics] told me biometrically that this would be a good day for [Griffin] to rest," Rivers said before playing the Nets via Herbert. "Bottom line is we have a plan, like I said before, and this was one of our rest nights."
The NBA has also made great strides to try and alleviate the load the schedule puts on players, by eliminating the frequency of back-to-backs and having an extended break surrounding All-Star weekend. Also, teams are more technologically advanced these days, using analytics and biometrics to get players adequate rest while traveling. Plus teams are having players rest for entire games, opting more and more for the long-term approach.
It's not a perfect system of course but changes have been made and at least now coaches like Rivers, won't even consider forfeiting a game.
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