“The Clippers are still the Clippers”, a tweet from Magic Johnson’s twitter account read after the Clippers’ awful Sunday performance.
After leading the series versus Houston, LA managed to fold under pressure and give away this series to the Rockets. Houston is a great team, due to their size and resiliency; but, when you have a team down 3 games to 1, you need to close it out.
Championship teams know how to close out games. Coach Belichick and the Patriots may run the score up, but who’s to argue with making sure their opponent doesn’t have any life for a comeback? The Clippers appeared to be a championship team, but their emotions got the best of them.
I believe the weight and emotions of the Game 6 loss in Los Angeles carried on to Game 7 in Houston. This team came out flat, getting outplayed pretty much every minute of the game. These are the playoffs, not a regular season series. Houston brought the fight to the Clippers, and LA showed up unprepared and confused.
I agree with Magic Johnson. The Clippers are still the Clippers. Maybe if Chris Paul’s trade to the Lakers was OK’d by David Stern, he wouldn’t have to suffer a playoff meltdown such as this series. As a Mavericks fan, I contemplated which one is worse: being knocked out in the first round or leading 3 games and ultimately losing the series. My vote for the worst-case scenario goes to the Clippers.
As impossible as it is to know if a new group would work better, we do know that this group has an issue. We know because we saw it lose its cool against Dwight Howard and Josh Smith late in the third quarter of Game 6 and then again against James Harden and Pablo Prigioni late in the third quarter of Game 7.
The broader story of Game 7 on Sunday was about the Clippers still being sad from Game 6, their emotions getting the better of them.
As of now, I do not have a specific team to root for in the Western Conference (maybe Houston, since I’m a Texan). But in regards to the Eastern Conference, my ticket is punched for LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This should be an entertaining conference finals series on both ends. The MVP versus The Runner-up MVP (West); The Young Cavs versus The Seasoned Hawks (East).