The Los Angeles Clippers blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets and honestly this is the most fun basketball has been in recent history. The Nuggets are fun, yes, but the schadenfreude is just indescribably good. Where to even begin?
Kawhi Leonard, I guess. Kawhi Leonard is unquestionably great at basketball. He's won multiple titles with multiple organizations. He became a legend by bringing a championship to Toronto in a single season. HOWEVER...
He scored zero points in the fourth quarter of a winnable Game 7. You can't just not blame him at all. He disappeared after hand-picking this scenario. What was he thinking going to the Clippers? Did he raise his profile by being in Los Angeles? Did he get any more out of it than a few new ad campaigns centered around how he doesn't talk? What, they don't have silent film in Toronto?
More than the location are the teammates. He chose to tie his star to Paul George who hadn't won a playoff series since the evolution of basketball took away Roy Hibbert.
Paul George. Paul George. Half the Beatles with even fewer memorable performances during the 2000's. Since he told the world he was "Playoff P" in 2018, his teams have gone 10-14 in the playoffs and won one series in three years.
Speaking of losing playoff series... Doc Rivers is just about done, right? How much postseason failure can one high-profile coach endure?
The Clippers had leads of 16, 19 and 12 in these three consecutive loses. Blowing big leads in the second half doesn't sound like something a front runner would do, but that's how they are being labeled today.
So the Clippers take Lou "Lemon Pepper" Williams who missed some time because he had to get some chicken wings. Williams said the Clippers were "pissed" after the game. Via ESPN:
""I think a lot of the issues that we ran into, talent bailed us out. Chemistry it didn't. In this series, it failed us.""
They beat the 7-seed in six games in the first round and then lost in the second round. So, sure, talent bailed them out of one series they were favored in and then they just couldn't do it in three straight games against another team they were favored over. Too bad Leonard won a title in a single season with his last team. Maybe because Kyle Lowry and friends were playing 40+ minutes deep into their semifinal series in the East and the Clippers... were too tired to play good.
Jamal Murray played 44-minutes. The second half of this game saw him cross over the 540 minute mark in the playoffs. Through two series, Murray played 200 MORE minutes than Williams. 300 more minutes than Montrezl Harrell. 100 more minutes than Marcus Morris. Leonard played 511 minutes in the playoffs. Nikola Jokic has now played 527. George played 479 minutes.
How are the Clippers the ones who were tired while Murray, who played more minutes than ALL OF THEM, is the guy who scored 40 in a Game 7? This was just one of the saddest, most pathetic playoff performances of all-time from an incredibly over-hyped team. It was glorious to witness and I just hope it doesn't get lost in history with all that is going on in sports and the world right now. That would be as disappointing as this team.