Doc Rivers on Warriors: 'I think we can play with anybody'

ByRamona Shelburne ESPN logo
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Clipperscoach Doc Rivers is well-versed in the ways of NBA superteams. He led one to an NBA championship back in 2008 with the Boston Celtics.

Accordingly, this year's iteration of a superteam, the 73-win Golden State Warriors team from a year ago that added Kevin Durant as a free agent and just so happens to be the Clippers'main rival in the Western Conference, doesn't scarehim.

"I think we can play with anybody, and we don't feel like there's a gap," Rivers said of the prospect of challenging the Warriors this season. "That's all we have to prove, and I think everyone has to prove that.

"I know history very well in this league, and there's been a lot of superteams put together, quote-unquote, superteams, and I know the history. I feel comfortable where we're at."

Rivers didn't expound on the thought -- or what that history means for the Warriors chances.

A quick check of recent history reveals a decidedly mixed bag. Rivers' Celtics won in 2008, but plenty of other superteams have failed (See: the 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers, 2010-11 Miami Heat and 2012-13 Lakers).

Rivers repeatedly stressed the importance of keeping his team's focus on itself, without casting an eye toward their Northern California rivals.

"I mean, really, we like our team," Rivers said of the Clippers, who lost in the first round of last year's playoffs following season-ending injuries to Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. "I can't go into their team, Oklahoma's team. That's not for me. I like our team."

Veteran Paul Pierce, who played for Rivers in Boston, called the Clippers a superteam in their own right.

"I think we have a superteam here," said Pierce, who announced 2016-17 would be his final season earlier on Monday. " I mean, you look at Chris Paul, who's been a first-team All-NBA, Blake Griffin, first-team, DeAndre Jordan, currently First-Team All-NBA. How many teams can currently say that? You've got the best 3-point shooter in the NBA [JJ Redick]. You've got the Sixth Man of the Year [Jamal Crawford]. Why this is not a superteam? What defines superteam?

"When you look at those stats, when you hear what I'm saying, this could very well easily be what's considered a superteam. There's a number of superteams out there, and I guess that's the way the league is going. But I like our chances versus anybody, being that we're a superteam. I guess Golden State is a superteam, and asDerrick Rosesaid, the New York Knicks are a superteam.

"I don't know how many superteams are out there, but there's definitely three, so now I get the opportunity to play on another one, the Los Angeles Clippers. We've just got to go out there and win it now so we can be kind of inked into the history books as one of the great superteams."

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