It seems to me that every single post-season, the Clippers have dealt with some form of unluckiness no matter what, beginning way back to the 2012 playoffs which was their first playoff berth since 2006. Now for this year’s Clippers, they have to fight the Jazz without their star power-forward Blake Griffin, but let’s take a look at every year of the Clippers since 2012.
The Clippers started the post-season with a miracle 27-point comeback against the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round, which then lead to a series win that lead up to 7 games. However, they had to face the number-one seed San Antonio Spurs in the semi-finals. With the first two games in the hand of the Spurs, the Clippers look to try to overcome the 0-2 deficit with home wins in the next two games. However, they let up a 24-point lead when the Spurs went on a 24-point scoring run with the Clippers scoring 0 during this run. This blown lead eventually led to the Spurs sweeping the Clippers out of the post-season, leaving the Clippers without a win against them.
Seeming like it would be an easy series for the Clippers against the Memphis Grizzlies again in the first round for the second time in a row, they went up 2 games to 0. However, it all went downhill from there. Like how the Grizzlies blew the 27-point lead the previous year, the Clippers blew a 2-0 series lead in the following season. At this point, fans began wondering if the Clippers really can be championship contenders.
While not related to basketball, this topic certainly affected the mindset of the Clippers franchise as a whole – Donald Sterling banned from all NBA facilities and games due to his racist remarks while the Clippers faced the Golden State Warriors in the first-round, causing the series to go all the way up to Game 7.
On another note, the series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the LA Clippers seemed to have came down to the wire every single game for the first four games, but it the next two game had been controversial in favor of the Thunder. In game 5, the Clippers apparently turned the ball over out of bounds in the final seconds of the game, even though it was clearly evident that the Thunder’s Reggie Jackson touched it last. In the same game, Chris Paul had supposedly fouled Thunder’s Russell Westbrook on a three-pointer, who then later made all three free throws to put the Thunder up by one point, which lead to the win, which also lead to them winning the series 4 games to 2.
The Clippers looked to have reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history, but came up short in Game 5, blowing a 19-point lead against the Houston Rockets. Throughout the series, the Rockets seemed out of shape and outplayed by the Clippers. Not giving, up they managed to pull off a historic comeback and advance to the conference finals to go against the Warriors.
Like the famous line, “Warriors blew a 3-1 lead,” which have been trending on social media and apparently became a meme after losing in the 2016 NBA Finals, this time, it was the
Clippers who blew a 3-1 lead, becoming only the 8th team at that time to do so in NBA history.
In 2016… it was simple and clear…
The Clippers faced tough injuries from two of their key stars – Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Just as the Clippers seem to be able to easily defeat the Portland Trail Blazers after being up 2-1, both Paul and Griffin were injured in Game 4, eventually leading to the Clippers losing the series 2-4.
Now for the 2017 post-season, the Clippers will once again be cursed with another injury, this time on Blake Griffin again. As of this writing, the current series between the Clippers and the Utah Jazz is tied at 2-2, but things might not seem to go well for the Clippers in the future.
Yes, Austin Rivers will be back for Game 5 and so on, but that doesn’t help with the big men problem. With Mareese Speights, the only other center to backup all-star DeAndre Jordan, replacing Blake Griffin in the starting lineup, the Clippers have no other center for the bench lineup. This means that the Clippers will face the problem of being under-height in the face of the Jazz’s centers Rudy Gobert, Jeff Withey, and Derrick Favors.
For me, I will once again reconsider the Clippers as no longer a championship contender, but rather will most likely go back as a rebuilding franchise in the long run. With Chris Paul likely leaving after showing frustration with the team throughout the season and fellow teammates Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan both being a free agent this upcoming summer, I believe it’s time for the Clippers to go back as a lottery team.