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Clippers Harrell takes coach Rivers pep talk to heart

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By Agence France-Presse

Montrezl Harrell was struggling to find his shooting form, but Doc Rivers’ coaching instincts told him to keep the Los Angeles Clippers power forward in the game.

“These type of guys are different,” Rivers said. “They think every miss means they’re closer to making 10 in a row.”

Harrell provided that spark, coming off the bench to score 26 points on Saturday as the Clippers edged the Milwaukee Bucks 128-126 in overtime.

Rivers, who had a pep talk with Harrell at halftime about his lack of defensive play, knew he could trust Harrell in the second half.

“He turned it around,” Rivers said. “His energy was infectious.”

Lou Williams hit a clutch driving layup with less than a second to go in overtime, but it was Harrell who set the table by diving for loose balls, barging his way through defenders and even wagging a finger after blocking a Bucks’ shot.

“I come in here every night just looking to give my team the extra boost and that extra push to will us to win the game,” said Harrell, who shot five of 15 from the field late in the game.

Harrell also finished with nine rebounds and 10 assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 27 points and 18 rebounds in the loss as the Bucks dropped to 9-3 on the season.

“Offensively, I felt kind of weird going down in the fourth quarter and overtime because we’ve been blowing teams out this year,” said Antetokounmpo.

Patrick Beverley had 21 points for Los Angeles, and Tobias Harris finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

“They’re a top team in the whole league playing phenomenal basketball,” Harris said. “We kept fighting and found a way.”