Free falling into an 0-2 hole in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, especially against a Dallas Mavericks team that the
Los Angeles Temecula Clippers purposely slid down the standings to play against, must be a humbling experience. But if you let the Clippers tell it, despite the very real possibility of this team once again floundering in the postseason, there’s no need to panic.
Nope. Not at all.
Their ark is supposed to be capsized, their tires are supposed to be flat. All is well in the world, and there’s absolutely nothing to see here despite the fact that their championship aspirations have seemingly gone up in flames—again.
“I’m not concerned,” head coach Ty Lue told reporters after the Clippers got trounced 127-121 on Tuesday night. “We gotta win four games, and you come in on an opposing team’s floor and play, there’s no pressure on you to make shots. You just try to come in and steal a game, steal two games. But now they gotta go home and keep up the same shooting. It’s easy to go on the road and do that with no pressure. We’ll see in Game 3.”
“There is none,” George said, when asked what the team’s level of concern after losing consecutive games at home. “It’s a competition. We got to rise to the occasion. The fact of the matter is if we don’t, we’re done for. There is no level of concern.”
He continued, “We just got to play our game, we got to play through this. We got to incorporate our defense. Luka is going to get his touches. We just got to do a better job defensively of quieting everyone else.”
Both of these niggas are absolutely full of shit.
While the Lakers were able to capitalize off of Chris Paul’s lingering shoulder contusion and gut out a gritty 109-102 win against the Suns in order to tie up their series, the Clippers, who last I checked just lost their fifth consecutive postseason game including last season, lack similar resolve or championship pedigree—and have plenty to be concerned about.
They still don’t have an answer for Luka Doncic, who once again shit down their throats—this time with a brilliant 39-point outburst; they still don’t have an answer for the Maverick’s relentless assault from deep, as evidenced by a second consecutive game in which Dallas buried 17 or more three-pointers; and they still don’t have an answer for their own reputation as front runners, who are entirely capable of handling their business when the stars align, but who buckle under pressure when the odds aren’t stacked in their favor.
“We don’t want to be a front-running team,” Lue admitted before the start of the season. “When things are going great, we’re cheering for one another. When things are going bad, we’re going to do the same.”
Well, shit. Instead of worrying about cheering, maybe you should douse what’s left of your season with water instead of pretending like it isn’t currently engulfed in flames. Because concerned or not, there’s plenty at stake if the Clippers can’t get their shit together and pull this series out.
For one, your team will never be able to show its face in Los Angeles again after assembling one of the most loaded rosters in recent memory, only to completely fuck off a 3-1 series lead against the Denver Nuggets in last year’s Western Conference Semifinals, then flame out a year later in the first round of the playoffs. Ain’t no coming back from that shit, bruh. But more importantly, perennial MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard is a free agent this summer. And considering his Darrelle Revis-esque penchant to ignore personal ties and instead sell his services to the highest bidder, I think it’s a foregone conclusion that he’ll leave the Clippers on read and take his talents elsewhere.
“[The Mavericks are] playing free and with confidence and I think we’re giving them a little too much confidence,” George said. “It’s up to us to shut that down.”
“We got to come out and play basketball,” Leonard said. “Get stops. That is the name of the game right now. They’re shooting too great in the first two games, and we have to help each other. Too many straight-line drives, dunks, layups. We got to hang our hat on the defensive end.”
Shieeeeeeeeeeeeeet, y’all better. Or it’s gonna be a long-ass summer in Temecula while the rest of us are out here living our best vaccinated lives.