The Clippers’ exit this year is really surprising. No one expected that the Western Conference’s 3-1 lead would be overturned in the second round. It would happen to the Clippers twice in 5 years. The Western Conference finals were against the team that was built 50 years ago. For them, it is still beautiful. After the Clippers were out, "Fansided" pointed out the 5 major problems the Clippers needed to solve.
The Clippers squandered their 3-1 lead and lost three consecutive games to the tenacious but relatively inexperienced Nuggets after the series. In G5, they led by 16 points in the first half and lost 6 points in the end; in G6, they led by 19 points in the second half, and finally lost 13 points; in the tiebreak, they led by 12 points in the first half, but then fell behind by 20 points. Lost by 15 points.
In the last three games, the Clippers' offense with a large number of singles sometimes can't be used, and the Nuggets seized the opportunity every time. In the second half of the last three games, the Clippers averaged a staggering 46.1 points per game, which is terrible for a team with so many offensive strengths.
Jamal Murray scored 40 points in the tiebreaker, which was even more than Kaka and George combined (24 points in total, 10 of 38 shots, no catch in the fourth quarter). Starting in G5, the small card shot 26 of 64 (40.6%); George was worse, 21 of 55 shots (38.6%); Lu Wei still did not improve, 32 shots 10 (31.3%).
Coupled with Beverley's foul trouble, Lu Wei and Harrell are limited by the opponent's defense, all make the Clippers offensive stagnation and lack of understanding between players are magnified, even if the lineup has talent, it will not help. The Clippers were eventually overturned in the stormy sea.
First of all, be clear: The Clippers will never fire Rivers. He is the best coach in the history of this team accompanied by the total failure, and he has branded himself in the new era of the Clippers. Back then, in the era of "Airport City", Rivers had proved himself to be a reliable leader. In the later Donald-Sterling disturbances, as well as when Xiaoka and George were driving, he did not leave, and will not go to any in the future. local.
The question is, should everything be like this?
If it were not for the four-month suspension of the season and gathering in the Disney rematch, the Clippers have no home court advantage; if it is not for some key Clippers players to be quarantined; if it is not the relatives of the players who unfortunately died of the new crown, the Clippers Should be able to win this season. Clippers fans always hold this kind of thinking, even more so than Bucks fans. These negative effects do exist, but every team participating in the rematch has been affected, which is why this year's championship is so unique.
But some of the problems the Clippers exposed in this round still have to be attributed to Rivers' rotation. For example, he insisted on using Harrell, even when the Clippers' defense was greatly weakened when he was on the court, and Rivers was at a loss as to how to reactivate the Clippers' stalled offense. Could it be that these problems won't exist if you have played 82 games this season? Can the Clippers get rid of the "Western Curse"? Can Rivers also get rid of the shadow of "3-1 lead being overturned"?
Harrell, Morris Jr. and Reggie Jackson will all be unrestricted free agents this offseason, and Je Michael Green may also join them, provided he refuses to implement the $5 million player option next season. For Ballmer, who is worth as much as 70 billion, the so-called luxury tax is not a concern at all; but to a certain extent, the inability to correctly assess the worth of players will also become a big problem in team building.
Harrell was expected to have a high salary, but due to his lack of height, he was weak on defense. He was incapable of playing against elite big men such as Jokic and Anthony Davis in the playoffs; the Clippers spent a series of first rounds. The young Morris, who was just hired, has an annual salary of 15 million this season, which far exceeds his contribution to the Clippers in the limited time this season; Jackson's performance against the Nuggets is a disaster; Green may Will not jump out of the contract, which is good news for the Clippers. But if he is bold enough to test the free agency market, the Clippers will be stretched.
In addition, Kaka and George, who are expected to jump out of their contract in the summer, will also refuse to complete the early renewal this year, which means that the Clippers will be more urgent to win the championship next season. George Jr. has wasted a year. If the top executives do not make the right offseason operations, they are likely to lose again next season when "not winning the championship is losing". The Clippers will also lead to more tragic results, after all, they have spent all the draft picks before 2027.
No matter what happens from now on, Xiaoka is already a two-time championship, two finals MVP, two defensive players, four All-Stars, four All-NBA teams. He played the strongest personal playoff performance in league history in 2019, winning the first championship in team history with the Raptors.
Of course, in the NBA, everyone knows what it means to be a 3-1 lead, especially when James has advanced to the Western Conference Finals. Kaka must bear the blame for this defeat, and he is already doing it now. But all those who are quite critical of the performance of the small card in the second round of G5 to G7, I advise them to also recall James' performance in the 2011 finals and the past three years when Jordan fell at the feet of the "bad boy piston". Even the NBA legendary superstar will inevitably encounter a career trough, but this time it is the turn of the small card.
may be true, otherwise it would be difficult to explain why such a favorite team in the second round had a big lead in each of the next three games. If even the small card can't lead the Clippers to the Western Conference Finals with a 3-1 lead, we can only accept the fact that God hates the Clippers!