Clips Gonna clip. And they’re gonna clip at the worst possible time. Game 5, at home, tied at two games apiece. With a chance to take control of the series, heading back to Utah, the Clips go into the tank again.
It does not look good for the Clips, headed back to a hostile barn in Salt Lake. Doesn’t look good because they don’t look good. Doesn’t look good because the team that wins Game 5 of a series that’s knotted at two games apiece wins 82% of the time. Doesn’t look good, because without Blake Griffin, the Clips just don’t match up.
Never mind beating Golden State, they’re not beating Jazz. Not without Griffin. Not when Doc Rivers has to go small to compensate for the loss of Griffin. Not when they’re getting abused on the boards because of it and getting killed late with two offensive boards going to the Jazz. And not when the Jazz are imposing their will on the Clips, dictating tempo and slowing things down. They’re making the Clippers play the way they want to play and not vice-versa: if it sounds like I’m saying, they’re not coming back for a Game 7, it’s because I am. And they’re not. And whatever you do, don’t ask Chris Paul about it. This reporter did and it did not go well for him:
I know why Paul is so bent. He just played his ass off. Again. And has next to nothing to show for it. Again.
Not the sharpest question ever, but that’s not what Paul is so upset about. He’s bent because he’s about to go down in the first round again. And miss the conference finals. Again. Bent that he has to do it all by himself. Again. Bent that despite being a Hall of Famer, rocks an embarrassing postseason resume.
And it’s really not even his fault. They don’t play well together. That is, when Blake Griffin isn’t hurt and they actually get a chance to play together. But when they do, the pieces, the chemistry is off and that’s why they keep getting hammered in the postseason. So unless Paul can pull another 38 point game out of his backside and get the rest of them on his back to get it back here for a Game 7, they’re a game away from what should be an inevitable rebuild.
They’re not close. And they’re not getting better, they’re getting older. Six years into it, they really have nothing more than a ton of regular season wins and shattered dreams to show for it.
Break it up. Then put it back together. Because as currently constructed this crew isn’t going to win jack. The pieces, the chemistry is all wrong and their mojo is whack. As you’d imagine, Doc’s not giving up on his crew. Not going forward, and certainly in Game 6, quote: “there was a lot of things that I did like about the game and there were a lot of things I didn’t. I think they’re all fixable.”
Better be, if not there are probably a lot of guys who are going to be firable.