Shortly after the LA Clippers season collapsed in a wide ranging method, coach Doc Rivers stated the finger might be pointed at him as a result of the staff had did not stay as much as its huge championship expectations.
After the Clippers utterly broke up for a 3rd recreation in a row in Sport 7 of the Western Convention semifinals in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, shedding 104-89 to the Denver Nuggets, Rivers stated title expectations weren’t for his staff The Clippers did not get what many believed was a showdown within the West Finals with the Los Angeles Lakers all season.
“We did not meet them,” stated Rivers of the expectations. “That is the underside line. I am the coach and I will take all of the blame for it. However we clearly did not stay as much as our expectations as a result of if we did I believe we would nonetheless be enjoying.”
The Clippers epic wasted a 3-1 lead on the Better of Seven sequence. They’ve misplaced double-digit leads of 16, 19 and 12 factors within the final three video games because the drought hit 50 years within the franchise’s Western Convention finals.
Rivers is the one coach in NBA historical past to have misplaced a 3-1 lead in three playoff sequence after taking the Clippers within the 2015 West Semifinals in opposition to the Houston Rockets and with the Orlando Magic within the first spherical had executed in opposition to the Detroit Pistons in 2003.
That staff, nonetheless, was seen as a championship contender from the second the Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard within the free company and acted for Paul George.
“We’re offended,” stated Lou Williams, who struggled and shot 4:27 from a distance. “Easy and clear, we’re mad. We had been 3-1. We had two choices to win this sequence and we did not.”
Williams added, “I believe plenty of the issues we encountered had been saved by expertise. Chemistry did not. We failed on this sequence.”
Leonard, a two-time NBA Finals MVP who led the Toronto Raptors to a championship final season earlier than signing with the LA company, stated the Clippers would want to enhance their basketball IQs and develop chemistry after their breakdown, like championship groups do.
“We simply could not hearth any photographs,” stated Leonard, who shot 1:11 within the second half. “That is in relation to staff chemistry, once we know what to run to get the ball in all the fitting locations, or when somebody doubles up or packs the paint, attempt to get different individuals to photographs to do, and we have to know what the precise areas are. ” we have now to be.
“And you realize I simply should go forward and get smarter as a staff. Get smarter. The basketball IQ has to get higher.”
Within the greatest recreation of the season, Leonard and George shot collectively 10 to 38, together with Four to 18 from a distance, for a complete of 24 factors in Sport 7. As soon as issues had been unraveled within the second half for the third recreation in a row, the Clippers seemed utterly paralyzed off, and the Nuggets took a 50:28 lead within the remaining 22 minutes and 50 seconds.
“I’ve by no means felt snug. I simply wasn’t,” stated Rivers of the Clippers’ 3-1 lead. “I simply knew in regards to the stamina, we had individuals who simply could not play a minute and that is exhausting, you realize. I imply, there was two or thrice an evening the place we really began it going and a person needed to come out. I imply, it’s what it’s. So no, I’ve by no means felt snug. I can inform you that prematurely. I instructed our coaches that. “
For the Clippers, discovering chemistry has been a wrestle all season. Leonard and George had been slowly working their manner again from accidents that got here into the season. It was a chore connecting the 2 stars to final season’s gritty group of veterans who had been over-achieved. Additionally, the Clippers handled fixed interruptions from accidents to mid-season dietary supplements. As quickly as they began getting a way of coming collectively, the coronavirus pandemic struck and the season was suspended for greater than 4 months.
Not lengthy after they bought into the Bubble for the restart of the season, life disrupted and the Clippers had been disturbed by Montrezl Harrell, Williams and Patrick Beverley, all of whom needed to go away for funerals for family members. The three key gamers every missed the time as a result of they had been not within the bladder and needed to be quarantined. Harrell had been off the bottom for a month.
“Now we have confronted plenty of adversity,” stated George, who shot 7-1 within the second half on Tuesday. “Rightly so. You understand, guys needed to go dwelling for authentic causes. We simply missed plenty of time with accidents within the common season and within the bladder.”
George stated the group was speaking about how the Clippers had been constructed to combat for greater than this season. However it is going to be a while earlier than the staff will get to the most recent mark in franchise historical past riddled with loss and heartbreak.
“It was an apparent strain to fulfill title expectations,” stated George. “However as a participant, I imply you need that. … It isn’t an excuse. The actual fact is, we did not meet that expectation.
“However I believe internally we at all times had the sensation that this isn’t a championship or chapter 12 months for us. You understand, we will solely get higher the longer we keep collectively and the extra we’re collectively. Extra chemistry for [the] Group the higher. I believe that is actually the story of the band this season. We simply did not have sufficient time collectively. “