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Clippers coach Doc Rivers has empathy for Derek Fisher

Head coach Derek Fisher of the New York

Head coach Derek Fisher of the New York Knicks looks on during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on Dec. 31, 2014 in Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Stephen Dunn

LOS ANGELES - Doc Rivers feels Derek Fisher's pain.

Fisher, a first-time coach, has lost nine straight and 19 of his last 20. Rivers went through some rough stretches as a coach in Orlando, where he was fired after losing 10 straight games in 2003, and Boston, where he lost 18 in a row in 2007. "It's no fun," the Clippers' coach said. "It's very difficult and you have to try to stick to your guns, teach, and you almost are trying to teach a culture over winning. And that's hard. None of us are built that way. I know I wasn't.

"In Boston, it was hard, but I had a great GM that came in and gave me a hug every game and kept saying he's sorry. But it's still no fun. But you honestly as a coach believe you're going to win that night, every night. And I did. We lost 18 in a row where I believed every night we were going to win, and every night I got my heart broke. And that's just coaching. It's part of it. And you have to deal with it."

Danny Ainge was the GM, and he reloaded that next season. After adding Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, the Celtics went from 24-58 to winning the 2008 NBA championship.

Hello again

Before tipoff, Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith went over to Clippers assistant Mike Woodson and gave him a big hug. Smith nearly lifted the former Knicks coach off the ground.

Sidelined

The Knicks lost Tim Hardaway Jr. to a mild concussion during the game. Samuel Dalembert tested his sprained right ankle before the game, but it was a brief workout. Dalembert said he couldn't jump and missed his second straight game.

Amar'e Stoudemire (sore right knee) sat for the third straight game. Iman Shumpert (dislocated left shoulder) could be re-evaluated after the Knicks return home. Cleanthony Early (right knee surgery) hopes to be cleared for contact.

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