Prior to the run in the third quarter that lead to a blowout, the Clippers-Suns game was beginning to resemble the last matchup between the two Pacific division rivals. The Suns were ahead and the Clippers, based on a body language that is often shown when things aren’t going their way, were on the verge of giving up. The result? Likely a blowout.
But something changed in the third quarter. It wasn’t a pep talk from Doc Rivers that’d give Coach Carter a run for his money. It wasn’t Blake Griffin getting in the grill of his teammates like a Kevin Garnett would do. It wasn’t Chris Paul rallying the troops. It was…. Tommy Lasorda, manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers?
According to the Dodgers website, made his way to the Clippers huddle during a timeout to give them an inspirational speech.
“I just kind of said something to them,” Lasorda related. “I told them I’m proud of them. I said, ‘The second half belongs to us!’ I talked to (Blake) Griffin, I told him he’s a star and he hasn’t scratched the surface yet. People pay a lot of money to see you play, so you better come out and play!” (via Tommy Lasorda: NBA coach of the year)
Well, Lasorda is right. We, as fans, do pay to to see Blake Griffin at this best. Not just Griffin though, but the entire team, a team that many expect to compete for a NBA championship come playoff time. And the results of Lasorda’s pep talk? A 37-18 run in the third quarter that featured 18 points from Matt Barnes and 12 points from Blake Griffin. In total, the Clippers outscored the Suns 60-41 in the second half on their way to a 104-96 victory.
Lasorda is known around the major league as a motivational speaker and his quick speech, one that ran past the allotted period for a timeout worked wonders for the Clippers. Considering Lasorda and Chris Paul are close friends, maybe Doc Rivers should watch his back for Lasorda if the Clips face an early playoff exit. We know how much Paul doesn’t like to lose and how much he’d do to make sure losing isn’t an option the following season.