The Los Angeles Clippers are in trouble.
They’re in the fight of their lives with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The owner of the ball club, Donald Sterling, is being Donald Sterling and the media is unrelenting.
For the Clippers, the goal remains the same: win an NBA championship. It just seems to get tougher and tougher. Between inconsistent play, public scrutiny, and controversial whistles, the Clippers are on the verge of elimination.
Last night’s game was a combination of all of it. Sterling’s latest comments and interview needed to be ignored before the game. The media’s attention on the story continues to hover around the team, despite the lack of participation. The questionable calls toward the end of the game did not favor the Clippers and more inconsistent play toward the end of the game cost the team dearly.
It’s now 3-2 in favor of the Thunder and the Clippers cannot point fingers at anyone. They’re on the brink. If it wasn’t DeAndre Jordan‘s foul troubles and lackluster final line, it was the team’s failure to close out on the three-pointer. The controversial foul call on Russell Westbrook aside, the Clippers could not clutch out a 13-point lead at the final four minutes of the game.
This team is championship material. It’s battle-tested and definitely resilient. The factors that will put the over the edge remain the same: decision-making and Jordan. While Chris Paul and Blake Griffin receive the most publicity for their basketball deeds, Jordan’s the man in the paint. He’s played in the fourth quarter, and crucial spots, multiple times in the playoffs and he’s the biggest defensive difference of any NBA team in the playoffs. The decision-making is up to Paul and coach Doc Rivers. If the game plan succeeds, the Clippers tend to win. But, like last night, not all the best laid plans work out.
Photo credit: EPA/LARRY W. SMITH CORBIS OUT
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