A FEW THOUGHTS ON THE LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS’ EPIC DEMISE AND COLLAPSE
It’s not my intention – in the slightest – to pour salt on what’s an already gaping wound, but…
Sunday’s Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets unfolded almost exactly as I had predicted.
How could it not unfold that way after what had happened three days before, the Clippers being up by 19 points in the second half and 13 points in the fourth quarter of Game Six – and losing?
By twelve points, no less?
At home, in front of Clipper Nation?
For all intents and purposes, those Clippers lost that series and had a season full of promise and potential end after Game 6, with Game 7 being a mere formality as although they are professional athletes playing basketball at the highest level, they are not a bunch of mental Supermen.
The Clippers can talk all they wanted about being ready and moving forward, but being only human it’s more or less impossible to completely regroup after experiencing such a disaster in Game 6 the way they did.
The numerous turnovers and overall bad play early in Game 7 illustrated that.
Add to that the momentum that the Rockets had and the fact that they were playing in front of their fans in Houston, and my prediction of a ten point (at least) Clipper loss was easy to make.
One thing is for sure: Fans of that purple and gold-clad team who share Staples Center with the Clippers are gleeful right now, crowing about how Los Angeles is still a Laker town and giving the choke sign to Clipper fans every chance they get.
Which I’m not sure they are totally wrong about as with what some will say is the biggest collapse in recent NBA history, the Clippers not only failed – is a spectacular fashion – to reach the NBA conference finals for the first time ever,
They miserably failed to take advantage of the Lakers being among the worst teams in the league over the past few seasons and continue their progress of taking over L.A. and SoCal in the hearts of pro basketball fans.
Unless they come back with a vengeance next season and take no prisoners, that’s the real legacy that this collapse and failure will hold for coach Doc Rivers’ team.
Now for the inevitable questions:
Do I think these Clippers can come back next year and not only be strong, but to put this collapse behind them and go to (at least) the conference semifinals?
Is this the end of the recent era of good fortune for this franchise?
To answer the first question:
Sure, if they can keep the core of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and (especially, since he’s a free agent) DeAndre Jordan together and add something that they were lacking this season: a quality bench besides Jamal Crawford.
And as for the second question:
No, not necessarily. If I were Rivers and owner Steve Ballmer, I would keep the team together and let them try at least one more time to get the team to reach what has been such great potential for the past three years or so.
I don’t know what this off-season will bring to these Clippers, but…
I do know that it will be very interesting.
In the meantime, there’s always So Cal’s last hope for playoff glory among the winter sports, the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, who are rolling in their playoffs as of this moment and are heavy favorites for the Stanley Cup Finals.
And of course, there’s always the Dodgers and Angels…