I will not prolong the agony with a long read. The Clippers had three chances to advance to the franchises first Conference Finals and failed to do it. Blame will no doubt be passed from the coach to the players then back again. There is plenty of blame to go around. It’s hard to beat an NBA team once, harder still to beat them twice in a row. Near impossible to do it three times in a row. Yet that’s what the Nuggets did to the heavily favorite Los Angeles Clippers.
Plenty of blame to go around. Let’s start with the stars.
- In game 5, Kawhi Leonard had 36 points while Paul George had 26 points.
- In game 6, Kawhi Leonard had 25 points while Paul George had 33 points.
- In game 7, Kawhi Leonard had 14 points while Paul George had 10 points.
- In game 5, Nikola Jokic had 22 points while Jamal Murray had 26 points
- In game 6, Nikola Jokic had 34 points while Jamal Murray had 21 points
- In game 7, Nikola Jokic had 16 points (but 22 rebounds and 13 assists), while Jamal Murray had 40 points
I read as many tweets as I could before becoming emotionally exhausted. One of the best, and I am sorry that I can’t find it and give credit where its due, was one that said that Paul George cost the Clippers more first round draft picks than he had field goals in game 7. Ouch. Clippers stars just did not show up for this game. They played as if they wanted to lose, which is a shocking thing to say, but thats how it looked.
There was no urgency, no passion, no excitement. The team looked like they were going through the motions while the Denver Nuggets, to their credit, played with urgency, passion AND excitement. Normally, that wouldn’t be enough to beat the Los Angeles Clippers, tonight, it was more than enough.
Coach Doc Rivers will no doubt get a lot of the blame. As I see it, he needed to make adjustments which he did not. I talk more about that here. #FireDoc was trending when I decided, for my mental well being, to get off Twitter earlier tonight.
The biggest loser in all this though are Clippers fans. Clippers fans deserve better than this. It’s simply not fair for a team to get that close, agonizingly close, then lose. Clippers players and execs will leave the Bubble and return to their mansions to lick their wounds and get ready to try again next season. Clippers fans though are now left to hear from fans of other teams about the Curse, about how their team was overrated, etc, etc. Clippers fans have never seen their team lift the Larry O’Brien. In fact, they’ve never seen their team play for the right to lift the trophy. Heck, as we all now know, Clippers fans have never even watched their team play for the right to play to play in the series that gives them the right to play in the series to lift the trophy.
Clippers fans have it rough.
It is with that understanding and with my sincere apologies that I say, this was the greatest collapse in the history of the Clippers franchise. Worse than 2015, worse than any other time they made the playoffs and worse than anything they did in Buffalo. This tops them all when you factor in the expectations. These Clippers were meant to play in the Western Conference Finals. They will not. These Clippers were meant to lift the NBA Championship trophy. They will not.
These Clippers were meant to excel. They did not.