The Los Angeles Clippers have arguabley the deepest team in the NBA. They also have, in my opinion, the second best coach in the NBA in Doc Rivers. Many argue Chris Paul is the best point guard in the game today and that Blake Griffin is an elite talent. So why is it they can never seem to win close games? Why does it seem like that, if the game is on the line, the Clippers look like a JV basketball team running scout team for the Varsity squad?
We saw it happen again last night vs the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs. With an 80-75 lead at the six minute mark in the fourth quarter, the Clippers managed only five points for the remainder of the game and squandered away the win 89-85. While Chris Paul was only one assist away from a triple double, he also had four turnovers, his last coming with 52 seconds left in the fourth and his team down by three. We've seen this before from CP3, he's had a history of folding under pressure and I think its time we bring it to the light. The Clippers are not, and should not be considered true Championship contenders while they keep choking in winning time.
Now, I will give credit where credit is due. The Spurs looked like the NBA Champions, at least for the final three minutes of the game. Kawhi Leonard was amazing again, dropping 26 points, 10 rebounds, and three steals in 37 minutes. However, how can we really take the Clippers seriously when they get outscored 25-15 (14-5 in the final 6:31) in the fourth on their home court? I know its just a regular season game but we have seen this from the Clippers in the playoffs as well.
Anyone remember this?
The Clippers are a very deep, talented team with a great coach and a (statically) great point guard. They will no doubt be a top three seed in the West going into the playoffs, possibly even one or two with the OKC injuries, but they need some serious improvements when it comes to closing out big games before I will consider them a real threat to win an NBA Title. If their stars continue to fade in crunch time, they will be nothing more than a great regular season team who underachieves in the post season.