The Los Angeles Clippers came into this postseason fresh off a blown 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets in the “Disney Bubble.” And then they were beaten at home twice by the Dallas Mavericks to begin the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
All you heard were whispers and jokes about their misfortunes. Memes were at an all-time high, as they headed to Dallas with their season hanging in the balance.
While in Dallas, they handled the Mavs in back-to-back games and finally took the challenge of guarding Luka Doncic who’d torched them the first two games.
Head coach Tyronn Lue said he wasn’t worried about losing both games at Staples Center and he knew his guys would respond.
They did just behind the ever efficient play of their two superstars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who both took the challenge slowing down Doncic personally. There’s a reason they’re always named in the top two-way players list.
Both enforced their will in the last two games on both ends, after basically playing just one end of the floor (offense) in the first two games.
Lue benched career overachiever Patrick Beverley and started “Bobby Schmurda” aka Reggie Jackson in his place. He also played Rajon Rondo earlier than normal which also paid dividends.
It I still believe they made a mistake not signing Rondo in free agency and then they had to trade Lou Williams to get him in a trade deadline deal from Atlanta.
But he’s there now and it’s huge for the entire team but especially for Kawhi and PG13 as they now have someone else who can set the table while they hunt shots.
With this series shifting back to Hollywood, is don’t expect the Mavericks to win another game. They just don’t have the talent and if not for two unbelievable shooting games from three in the first two games, along with some matador Clippers defense this series may have ended tonight.
The Clippers are capable of winning an NBA Championship, but first they must understand that they can’t get behind 2-0 in a series again.
Finally they’ll need to get Serge Ibaka back at some point, he’s vital for their rotations, sort of like what the Nets are missing without Jeff Green.