Doc Rivers hits back at Chris Paul for criticising the Clippers' culture

Los Angeles Clippers v Brooklyn Nets

The Los Angeles Clippers began their post-Chris Paul era by showing that they're still the top team in the city by beating the Lakers at Staples Center on Thursday night.

Losing their All-Star point guard in the summer was a big blow to the franchise who were willing to give him a massive five-year, $205 million deal.

But CP3 chose to leave that on the table and asked for a trade to the Houston Rockets to team up with superstar James Harden.

The Clippers obliged and struck a deal that saw them acquire multiple players in return including Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and Sam Dekker.

Los Angeles Clippers Media Day

Paul has remained relatively silent since leaving L.A. but he finally decided to open up about his move to Houston in a special documentary on ESPN which aired this week.

In the piece, the veteran shares a conversation with rapper Jay-Z where he was explaining his decision to leave after six years and appeared to take a parting shot at the Clippers by questioning their culture.

“A lot of people see the wins and losses, but it’s the culture of our team,” Paul said of the team in the clip. “If you aren’t trying to contend with the Warriors, then what are you doing? You know what I mean? … If you aren’t trying to contend with them, then what are you doing?”

The comments didn't go down well in the Clippers locker room and before their season opener against the Lakers, head coach Doc Rivers forcefully hit back at his former star.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Clippers

“Listen, when you leave, you should just leave, honestly,” Rivers said. “I don’t think you have to try to burn the house down or justify why you left. That’s what I would say to it. I like our culture.

“I’ve said that I didn’t think our culture was as good as it should have been last year because we had guys who were thinking about leaving. When you have that, I’ve always believed you’re either in or you’re out. If you’re thinking about being out, then you’re probably out. I thought that manifested itself last year.

“I thought we were always trying to beat Golden State. We were the last team to beat them in the West (in the playoffs). Then we had a chance to beat Oklahoma (City), and I don’t think that was culture that stopped us from beating them. We discombobulated as a team. We did it a couple of times.

Los Angeles Clippers Media Day

“Overall, I liked our run. We just weren’t good enough, at the end of the day, and that happens.”

This will add extra intrigue to Paul's first return to Staples Center to face his former team on January 15.

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