NBA playoffs 2019: Doc Rivers praises his Clippers for effort vs. Warriors in series loss

Coach Doc Rivers said he has never been more proud of a team than his Clippers after their season was ended Friday by the Warriors.

Kevin Durant stole the show with 50 points as Golden State won 129-110 at Staples Center to take the series 4-2 and set up a Western Conference semifinal against the Rockets.

Rivers says he could not have asked for any more from his team, which was the conference’s eighth seed and overwhelming underdogs against the two-time defending NBA champions.

“I’ve never been more proud of a group of guys in the 20 years that I’ve coached,” Rivers said. “They were just really fun.

“As I’ve said before, I’ve never had a group where you wanted to, in the morning, you raced to the car, you raced to practice just because you love being around them.

“So, for me, it was just a pleasure to coach them.”

Rivers likened the Clippers to his title-winning Celtics team.

“This was the 2008 Celtics without (Kevin) Garnett, Ray Allen, (Rajon) Rondo and Paul (Pierce),” Rivers said. “It really was, like, same heart, played every night hard.

“And that’s why they connected. I think you could take this team and put it in every NBA city, and when they leave, every NBA city would love this team. Because the people who come to games go to work all day. And they love to see players who play like they work.

“And I thought what the city saw in this team, what I saw in this team, was a hard-hat team that came to work every day. And it doesn’t matter if you’re blue collar or white collar, people appreciate workers.”

The Warriors’ two losses in the series equaled their total losses in first-round series in the previous four seasons, all of which ended in appearances in the NBA Finals. Golden State, which won three NBA championships in that stretch, won two series 4-0 and two others 4-1. Both of the Clippers’ wins came on the road, including a shocking 135-131 win in Game 2 when they overcame a 31-point second-half deficit. Their Game 5 win staved off elimination.