What can we expect from the unexpected, unsurprising, unfancied and uninspiring Clippers this Post-Season?
If recent history tells us anything, The Clippers will implode in the play-offs, again this season. It’s a shame that the we have never been able to see the trio of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan in the conference finals, let alone the NBA finals, but I digress.
The record they have in the playoffs since 2011 borders on embarrassing. Reaching the conference semi- finals is an impressive feat for any team, and the Clippers have managed that on 3 occasions since 2011, yet have never reached a conference final. The almighty of ‘bottle job’ performances from LA came against Houston in the 2014/15 season. The clippers raced into a 3-1 lead in the Series, and in typical Clipper fashion they crumbled eventually losing 4-3. Even in game six with a chance to kill the Rockets off at the Staples Centre, leading 92-79, they conceded 40 points, 40! In the final quarter to lose their best ever chance of ever making a play-off final. People talk about the Warriors losing a 3-1 lead in the final, but this was just as bad.
So the question arises again, will they deploy the usual tactic of failing spectacularly in the playoffs? If this season is to go by, the answer, to put it simply is, yes! Currently sitting in 5th in the western conference, 0.5 games ahead of OKC, the Clippers will face very tough opposition regardless of where they finish. If they finish with the 5th seed they lose home court advantage in a series with the Jazz, a team with potential to do real damage this off-season. Currently sitting with a 0.614 win percentage the Jazz boast players such as All-Star forward Gordon Hayward and centre Rudy Gobert, and I don’t have to tell you there is bad blood there already. There is no doubt this would be a closely fought series, with the potential to go to 7 games.Whether the Thunder finish ahead of the Clippers remains to be seen, but if they did Chris Paul and Co would then go up against the Rockets, a transformed team this season, led by MVP candidate James Harden, and you’d be tight lipped to find anyone who’d back the Clippers against this Rockets side. There is no hiding the fact that all the teams currently above the Los Angeles Clippers in the rankings are better than they are, period! So it wouldn’t even be a surprise to see The Clippers go out in the first round anymore, which is sad for a team that has so much talent.
What would be shame however, was if that the Trio of Paul, Griffin and Jordan didn’t have one last real shot of winning a championship. When Paul is healthy he is with out doubt the best two way guard in the league. Although age is catching up with him he still has great skill. His handles, his Clutch plays and his defence are a thing to behold. When it comes to Griffin, he posses raw talent, unrivalled athleticism and strength, his dunking skills are a marvel to watch. But recent times have seen Blake fall from grace if only very slightly, the whole incident with him punching a Clippers employee was ugly, it injured him for 4 weeks after that and since then you feel that he hasn’t been the same Blake we knew before that. DeAndre Jordan is still averaging a double-double and his lobs with Chris Paul will still be beautiful to watch, yet with the Clippers you feel he is very much the third man, in terms of star power, even if he was the only All-Star that represented the Clippers this year.
It’s a terrible Cliché to use, but time is running out for this team. Paul is not getting younger and he is the heart and soul of this team, if the Clippers want to win a championship before this team eventually splits, it has to be soon.
Other news too, a couple of throwbacks.
On this day 22 years ago, the greatest to play the game, announced a press release after a 17 month retirement, it read.
If that does not personify his greatness, I don’t know what does. Only his Airness could get away with that.
Another throwback, this time for Kobe. 10 years ago this week Kobe Bryant recorded one of the finest ‘weeks’ in NBA history, one which only highlighted his incredible scoring prowess. Kobe got 65 points Vs trail Blazers, he then proceeded to score 50 vs The Timberwolves, 60 vs the Grizzlies followed and he finished his week of by scoring 50 against New Orleans. 4 straight games with over 50 points. Astounding.