You know when the results of a sporting event are so confusing that a day later you are still trying to figure out if it was real? Like, if someone pinched me and I woke up and it was still 6PM yesterday it would make more sense than the outcome of the Clippers/Rockets game last night. One second the Rockets were throwing up abominably bad shots and Blake Griffin was making no look 180 layups, and the next second the Clippers were down by 10. It doesn't register in my brain how both of those things could have happened in the same game. The Clippers went from up by 19 in third quarter with nothing to worry about but when the fat lady would finally make her appearance to some alternate universe where James Harden sits on the bench while Josh Smith becomes a formidable shooting threat. It's like someone woke up Josh Smith's talent after a decade long nap and told it to hurry up and get to Staples Center before the Clippers made history in Los Angeles. Does Josh Smith have a twin that is considerable better at taking wide open jump shots? If he does I think we have a legitimate scandal on our hands.
But to say that last night's meltdown was only a result of the Rockets most unlikely of hot streaks would be disingenuous. As fast as the Rockets got hot, the Clippers went from the top offense in the NBA to an unwatchable version of pickup basketball. We have seen the Clippers play some terrible games this postseason. Notably game 5 this series and game 3 against San Antonio. However, watching them forget how to execute on offense was unchartered territory. If one thing has been consistent with this Clippers team it has been their ability to get open, high percentage shots. With a place in the conference finals, and a chance at history on the line, the Clippers simply forgot how to play winning basketball. Matt Barnes was missing the rim on contested 3 pointers. Jamal Crawford, who has always been a hot/cold player, reverted to some cataracts inducing New York Knicks version of himself. Blake, a player who has been nearly unstoppable this postseason couldn't make a lay up. Dare I say it, they looked nervous. They looked like they didn't want the ball. They looked like the gravity of the situation was weighing on them. Considering this team beat San Antonio twice with their backs against the wall, that doesn't make much sense to me.
One thing is for certain. For all the good will this team built up through a 7 game battle with the Spurs and a game 1 win without CP3, it could all be lost if they manage to blow a 3-1 lead against a team they are clearly superior to. They have to win on Sunday. Absolutely have to. They have to win for Doc. They have win for CP3. They have to win for Blake. I don't know if this team started reading it's own press clippings when the Clippers became the odds on favorite in Vegas to win the NBA title, but they certainly aren't the favorites anymore. Time to forget what this series means to the franchise and get back to playing the type of basketball that got them here in the first place. There's no margin for error anymore. No time for nerves. The Clippers are the better team in this series, and if they aren't able to prove that on Sunday it will go down as a disappointment of epic proportions. The Clippers probably have more to lose in game 7 than they stand to gain, if that makes sense. People had already wrote this team into a matchup with the Warriors. If they fail to achieve that it isn't just a loss for the organization, but a loss for every casual fan that has to subject themselves to another series of the Rockets bad brand of basketball. Don't just do it for yourselves or Clippers nation, do it so we can say the best basketball has yet to be played. The adversity may be self induced the time, but it's not something the Clippers haven't overcome before. Time to pull up the pants and tighten up the belt, it's win or go home, and home won't be quite as welcoming as usual.