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Los Angeles Clippers were basically crowned the NBA champs back in the summer of 2019 when they signed Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Almost everyone thought those two star players were more than enough for the rest of the league and a NBA title would be a sure thing.
Instead, the 2019-2020 Clippers ended their season the way so many other Clippers seasons have ended – in total disappointment.
The Clippers lost Game 7 to the Nuggets on Tuesday nigh in an embarrassing fashion. They were outscored 50-33 in the second half and played most of the fourth quarter with the intensity of a regular season game in February.
It was like they didn’t want to be there and now they are heading home from the bubble, much to the delight of Magic Johnson, who said the Clippers “choked again.” He wasn’t wrong, either, because this was a total choke job, a choke job we all should have seen coming.
Leonard and George were dreadful in Game 7, shooting a combined 10-of-38 for just 24 points. That’s not how Clippers fans thought these two stars would perform in such a big game but that’s what happened and it wasn’t pretty. Though Damian Lillard sure enjoyed it.
This Clippers team was a fraud from the start. The signings of Leonard and George gave the franchise an aura around them that a championship was a done deal and it wouldn’t be hard to flip the switch when things got serious and get the rings that they thought were theirs.
They plodded through the regular season, waiting for their chance to shine in the postseason and then they laid an absolute egg against the Nuggets. The Clippers coughed up a 3-1 lead to Denver and blew big leads in Games 5 and 6 before looking totally disinterested in the ugly Game 7 loss.
They never played like a champion all year long and they were never the best team in their own city – that title still belongs to LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Lakers, who are playing great basketball right now and are the clear favorites to win the championship.
The Clippers have never even made the Western Conference Finals in their 50 years of existence. They had a chance to punch that ticket three different times over the past week and failed in miserable fashion each time.
This team could learn from this and bounce back next season and make a serious run at it, but the Clippers head home now knowing they choked yet again and wasted a season that had so much promise back in the summer of 2019.
Tuesday’s biggest winner: Bam Adebayo.
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
The Miami Heat beat the Celtics in an overtime thriller that was sealed with a ridiculous blocked shot by Adebayo, who somehow was able to reject Jayson Tatum’s dunk attempt in the final seconds. This block is even more beautiful in slo-mo, which you can see right here.
Quick hits: Osaka’s powerful message… Dave Roberts’ ridiculous take… Ditka says something dumb again… And more.
– U.S. Open champ Naomi Osaka had an awesome response to people telling her to keep politics out of sports.
– Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had a ridiculous take on Trent Grisham’s bat flip after hitting a home run off Clayton Kershaw.
– Mike Ditka said something dumb again.
– “The Mandalorian” Season 2 trailer is out and it has already produced a new Baby Yoda meme.