In the wake of the historic LA Clippers collapse to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of this year’s NBA Playoffs, there has been a lot of talk among fans about how similar it was to the 2015 Clippers collapse at the Houston Rockets.
Not only did both teams take a 3-1 lead after scoring one less win than the franchise’s first Western Conference Finals appearance, but they were both coached by Doc Rivers, who recently signed with the Philadelphia 76ers after the his ouster last week.
When former Clippers guard JJ Redick joined Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson All the smoke Earlier this week, the group analyzed what it feels like to experience the collapse of 2015.
(Discussion starts around 48:45)
“When we’re in that free fall with Houston, you can feel it’s happening,” Redick said. “That game, how many times did you think about the fourth quarter of that game? Just the different plays that happened. Josh Smith got three three three, Corey Brewer a couple of threes … I remember that game 7, I was so tired I think we underestimate how much that San Antonio series took from us. “
Redick also said he felt the team would lose their mental strength at times, something that seemed to be a problem for this year’s team as well.
There have been multiple times during the LA series with the Nuggets that the team looked defeated, even before their elimination. After getting double-digit leads in Games 5, 6 and 7, the Clippers didn’t seem to know how to catch up as a group. Instead, the attack became iso-heavy, with the ball ending up in the hands of Paul George or Kawhi Leonard on almost every possession.
Denver didn’t have Corey Brewer or Josh Smith, but there were Michael Porter Jr. and Paul Millsap, leading the charge for the Nuggets when it seemed all hope was lost.
As terrible as the 2015 series was, it could easily be argued that this season’s crash was much worse. LA should have dominated the Nuggets. The Clippers have been favorites to win the NBA title almost all year round. Instead, it ended in a very familiar way.
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