Doc Rivers chalked up the poor performance to a higher power. Every once in a while, Rivers said Saturday, “the basketball gods take over.” In the NBA, duds happen. Even if that dud comes in your fifth game of the season.

So the Clippers coach was slightly perturbed. Actually, Rivers was pissed enough to drop an f-bomb after the Pistons handed his squad its first loss of the season. The new-look Clippers, remade this offseason, pointed fingers at each other for the first time, stagnated on offense, and were left wondering what the hell happened. ''We are never going to be a good team if we play and act like that," he said. Rivers’ outburst surprised those who have been covering the team for years. They couldn’t remember the last time he had cursed in a post-game press conference like that.

In an effort to over-analyze and dissect everything and anything, maybe that’s a great sign that Rivers is so fired up even if we haven’t reached November yet.

The Clippers were expected to take a step back this season. That’s what logically is supposed to happen when you lose one of the best point guards in NBA history, a couple of sharpshooters on the wing, and undergo a makeover in the front office. Six straight seasons of 50 wins was nice, but no appearances in the conference finals is what that run with the dearly departed Chris Paul running point will be remembered for. And when the season ended early (again) last spring, change was inevitable. Paul orchestrated a trade to Houston, Rivers was relieved of his general manager duties, and a bunch of fresh faces were brought in to complement DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.