“NBA–In LA–Same As It Has Ever Been”
The NBA Western Conference playoffs begin on Friday.
The Lakers are there. The Clippers will not be there.
Driven by the dominance of Anthony Davis and LeBron James, the Lakers are primed to go to the NBA finals for the first time in a long time.
Driven out by a terrible failure in their last series, the Clippers will be home, watching the games, like you and me, on TV.
How do you explain the forces that came together to end the Clippers NBA season.?
They blow a (3-1) lead in the series and get eliminated when the Denver Nuggets somehow run off 3-straight wins.
The Clippers had leads of 12…16…19 in those three games, and blew the leads and the games.
The franchise, which has worked so hard to find itself in the LA market, is now dragging an awful team record into the offseason. The Clippers are (0-9) in ‘closeout games’ in their history, games that would have put them in the Western Conference finals.
Doc Rivers, as good a head coach, and league ambassador as he is, has failed for the 5th time to get to the conference finals.
The roster, so strong for half a season, came apart in the bubble.
Team chemistry, team conditioning, selfish play, and lack of leadership seemed to spell the end.
Montrzl Harrell, a reliable piece of the so called bench bunch, mourned the loss of a family relative for 3-weeks before reporting. He never got in shape, never got with the flow of games and the team.
Lou Williams, who left the bubble for family issues, and then was seen in a strip club while away, came back, was hit with a suspension, quarantined, and did next to nothing when they needed him the most. Hope the night at the gentlemen’s club was worth the price paid.
The volatile Patrick Beverly fought thru a calf injury, had health issues, and just never was the same player in the couple of series the team played in postseason.
A heart-wrenching setback for benevolent owner Steve Ballmer, who built and spent, and committed to trade away 5-first round draft picks to get these superstars. His deals netted Kawahi Leonard and Paul George, but the two highest paid players could not will the Clippers thru the playoff series with Denver.
When last seen, Leonard was not talking and George should not have been talking, saying ‘this was not a Championship or Bust basketball season’. What? That’s why you play the game and make 40M a year, to win a championship.
And to think the Clippers traded five first round draft picks to get this guy and his attitude.
So the playoffs march on Friday with just 4-teams left.
Like it always is in Los Angeles. The Lakers playing on. The Clippers on the outside looking in. The Lakers front page. The Clippers borderline irrelevant after this obituary page type failure.
It could be a glorious off season for the Lakers. For the Clippers it will be a bitter taste they will carry with them and wear around their neck this entire offseason.
All things the same right now in LA.