I got to be honest, I don't think I have ever seen anything like it. The Clippers simply can't finish against quality opponents anymore. We have seen teams that have had the inability to win the big game before, that's nothing new. However, I have never witnessed a team that had the ability to do so one day, and completely lost it the next. The last time the Clippers played well under pressure against a great team was when they put away the San Antonio Spurs in game 7 last year. How can a team that battled tooth and nail against one of the best teams in NBA history, and came out victorious, suddenly lose that killer instinct? It's like they sold their clutch to the devil just for a chance to get into the second round. I'm not even kidding. As good as this team looked in game 7, they have looked equally as bad in every pressurized situation since then. They don't even resemble themselves when the game is close and the stakes are high. Blake Griffin goes from one of the most confident, unstoppable players in the league to anxious and turnover prone. Chris Paul, one of the best pure point guards in NBA history, somehow looks like he has lost complete control of the offense. It's truly baffling.
That's not to say that the Clippers are a bad team, but it's impossible to argue that they have the ability to win a championship with the way they are playing now. Sure, they will reel off wins against mediocre teams, and likely make the playoffs as a 5 or 6 seed, but unless something drastically changes that's pretty much their ceiling. This team is far too talented to be content with a measly playoff birth. Anything less than the conference finals is an abject failure, and nothing about this team thus far has shown that they have the gumption to win two seven game series against good basketball teams. I thought they were starting to piece it together when they won four out of five on their rough trip. However this team's troubles, that were made glaring by two separate blown leads to the Golden State Warriors, resurfaced in the 4th quarter against the Spurs. They let that carry over into a demoralizing performance against the Rockets. And though they looked like the solved their end of game woes against Oklahoma City, when the lights shined the brightest their leader couldn't even get a shot off. In most situations you would just tip your cap to Kevin Durant and credit him for making a great play, but this Clippers team has the reputation of being choke artists, and unfortunately they deserve it. It's only December and things can change quickly, but with every 4th quarter failure the weight on their shoulders gets heavier and heavier, and they haven't proven mentally tough enough to shake it off.
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