The Clippers can’t afford to do this, and yet, they’re doing it


The Clippers can not afford to be down 2-0 to Luka Dončić and the Mavs, however right here we’re.
Picture: Getty Pictures

Are the Clippers actually going to do that?

After Kawhi Leonard (and Paul George) selected them; after they fired Doc Rivers and introduced in Tyronn Lue; after they added Rajon Rondo earlier than the commerce deadline; after they blew a 3-1 result in the Denver Nuggets within the bubble; after they seemingly ducked the Los Angeles Lakers by taking their final two video games of the season; after the “L.A. Our Method” marketing campaign; are the Clippers going to lose a 22-year-old Spanish-speaking Slovenian who (rightfully) referred to as the NBA an simpler league to attain in?

Apparently so, as a result of they only dropped the primary two video games to the Dallas Mavericks at house to start their 2021 playoff run. In contrast to the Miami Warmth and Boston Celtics, who’re no less than going to their house ground for Sport 3, the Clippers are actually heading to Dallas, a matchup they seemingly tanked the tip of their common season to obtain by sitting their stars and dropping to the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder earlier than the playoffs. The Rockets and Thunder haven’t been attempting to win video games since final season.

However the Clippers are right here now and have solely themselves in charge. They have been the stylish NBA Finals choose forward of the 2019-20 season coming off a Kawhi Leonard-led Toronto Raptors squad, a group he arguably ought to’ve stayed on if he wished to proceed having deep playoff runs. And at the same time as that very same Leonard, who might have been the NBA’s finest participant two years in the past, dropped 41 factors final evening.

Let’s not kick dust on them but, as a result of this isn’t over, however as Luka Dončić scores a mixed 70 factors on over 50 p.c capturing within the first two video games, as pending free agent Tim Hardaway Jr. erupts for 49 factors on 17-for-27 from the sector over those self same two video games, and as Kristaps Porzingis provides 20 factors on 12 photographs, we now have little to level to concerning the potential of the Clippers successful no less than 4 of 5 to keep away from an embarrassing loss.

Of all of the favorites heading into the playoffs, the Clippers have been arguably those who might least afford this. The Lakers have their championship. The 76ers ought to pimp stroll to the Japanese Convention Finals no less than. The Milwaukee Bucks is likely to be OK relying on the subsequent week or so. The Denver Nuggets are banged up, the Celtics are no less than younger and the Warmth can retool in a short time this summer season, and on it goes. The Clippers, with Paul George on a contract extension and Leonard probably opting out and heading for 2021 free company, they couldn’t afford this begin, and might’t afford the attainable conclusion.

Although the method wasn’t good, they did attempt to accommodate the Leonard and George pairing with Rondo, Lue, and the departure of Montrezl Harrell. However the entrance workplace did have their missteps, too. They hilariously gave Luke Kennard 4 years and $64 million. Nicolas Batum is in some way third in minutes, and like others within the league, they’ve had their harm troubles up and down the roster.

Nonetheless, it’s a doomsday, panic-button, catastrophic situation on the floor, and the Clippers have to keep away from this primary spherical calamity as a way to protect what’s finest for his or her future.

Sadly for them, even which may not be ok in the event that they find yourself dropping in spherical two anyway. All of it begins with how this resonates with Leonard.


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