Enough is enough. Break them up.
This isn't about one game, it's about six years. Break them up.
The end of this first-round series should also be the end of an era. Los Angeles has seen enough. This core group of Clippers has failed enough. The fact that three of their four stars are free to leave the team this summer should be reason enough.
Break them up.
Two seasons after rolling over in Game 7 in the second round in Houston, the Clippers were bounced by the Jazz in a 104-91 loss that was stunningly lopsided and sickeningly familiar.
Two seasons ago, in their most important game of the season, they didn’t lead once. On Sunday in a
It was awful. It was unsightly. It was six years of playoff failure whittled down to 2 1/2 hours of abject frustration.
In the game's first timeout, somebody dusted off Clipper Darrell to lead a cheer. That didn't work. Late in the first quarter, Jay Z and Beyoncé showed up to sit courtside. That didn't work. By the third quarter, the game was being stopped to clean up some sort of spill directly in front of Jay Z and Beyoncé, and all was lost.
It was only the third win by a road team in the
It was same old, same old.
“Once again … we’re done,” said
At least Paul showed up.
"Basketball is a game of rhythm, and I guess we had trouble finding our rhythm," said Crawford of the most talented group of out-of-step players in the league.
Afterward, the Clippers repeatedly talked about the difficulties of winning a series without their second-best player, the injured Blake Griffin. Except the Jazz survived the series without the full services of their second-best player, as
“Like I tell every guy, we’ve just got to keep pounding away,” said the Jazz’
You know what's possible for the Clippers now, right? Break them up.
This summer, Paul and Griffin can opt out of their contracts while Redick will become a free agent. It is the Clippers' chance to change the culture of a team that, despite being one of the league's top regular-season teams in the past six seasons, has yet to make it as far as the Western Conference finals despite having three of the best 25 players on the planet.
Swept by San Antonio. Crumbled against Memphis. Stumbled against Oklahoma City. Collapsed against Houston. Injured against Portland. Dissolved against Utah.
Seen enough? The Clippers need to understand that their fans are likely no longer star-struck by their Big Three, but sick and tired of watching them flop.
There are rumblings that because Ballmer has been here only three seasons, and because two of those playoff chases were cut short by injuries, he hasn't seen enough to give up on this group. There is a feeling that the organization will let Redick walk while paying insane amounts of money to keep Paul and Griffin together.
This is, by the literal definition, insanity.
I helpfully expressed this viewpoint to Ballmer on Sunday as I walked with him in the Staples Center tunnel toward his car. I asked him to break them up. I almost begged him to break them up.
As always, Ballmer was unfailingly polite. And, as always, he respectfully declined comment.
The only Clipper whose job should be safe is Paul. But even though he can make millions more staying here, who knows whether he is also sick of the losing and wants to go somewhere where he can have a legitimate chance at a title?
If the Clippers are lucky enough to retain Paul, and insist on re-signing Griffin, then they need to trade Jordan for a couple of wing players to create more speed and space.
If they are set on keeping their Big Three together, this is a Big Mistake, but one that can be ameliorated if they can acquire a scorer like the
Not incidentally, forget quickly rebuilding the team with draft picks. The Clippers don't have any this summer after losing them in trades by Rivers, who has struggled as the top basketball executive.
"Things are going to change, but we don't know what's going to change," admitted Rivers in an interview a couple of days ago. "Things are going to change, but it doesn't mean the key guys aren't going to be here."
The Clippers are probably afraid that without those three key players, they won't win as much, and their sellout crowds will cease. But with change, there will be fresh hope. With implosion, there will be new interest. And really, how much worse can it be?
Break them up.