Clippers mourn season-ending loss to Oklahoma City Thunder

Clippers mourn season-ending loss to Oklahoma City Thunder
Clippers point guard Chris Paul is embraced by Thunder point guard Derek Fisher after Game 6 of their playoff series. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Clippers' season came to an end Thursday night, as the team fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games, 104-98.

"I think we'll have good memories of being together as a group but ultimately just disappointment," guard J.J. Redick, who finished with 16 points before fouling out, said in reaction. "We fell short of what we were hoping to accomplish."


The Clippers gave up an early 16-point lead and were outscored by 14 in the second half.

Now the team enters the off-season, armed with the 28th and 58th picks in June's NBA draft.

Most of the team's core is under contract, although Danny Granger, Darren Collison and Glen Davis can opt out of their contracts.

"We'll be back next year, but it was tough for us to end the season like this at home, but [we've] got a lot of work to do," said center DeAndre Jordan.

Of course, the NBA still has to resolve the ownership issue with Donald Sterling, who recently received a lifetime ban from the league after his racially charged comments were caught on a leaked recording.

The issue dogged the franchise throughout the playoffs.

"Clippers, definitely you got to take your hat off to them, what happened to them the last few weeks, to continue on fighting," said Thunder all-star Kevin Durant. "It was almost cool to see them keep staying together and everyone kind of rallying around them. It was fun playing against them."

Chris Paul struggled to understand what happened to the Clippers, dating back to his own mental mistakes in Game 5 of the second-round playoff series that led to a late Thunder rally.

"It's tough.  It's tough," he said. "You don't get a chance to be on teams like this that often, you know. Oklahoma City absolutely deserves it."

Ending in Game 6 of the second round, the Clippers finished their second-deepest playoff run in franchise history. The 2006 squad advanced to Game 7, falling to the Phoenix Suns.

"I don't know anybody in our league that plays for ... the Western Conference finals," Paul said.  "That's not enough."

Coach Doc Rivers said he was naturally disappointed but that he tried to help his players deal with the loss.

"I told them we're going to have our day," Rivers said. "This is not the end; this is the beginning for us."

Despite the uncertainty surrounding ownership of the team, Rivers said is optimistic for its future.


"I thought during this playoff series, we started figuring out exactly ... what Clipper basketball is and will be," he said.  "I just kept thinking, 'Man, if we can get through a couple more games, we're there.' You can feel it, and time ran out. That's the tough part."

Oklahoma City now moves on to play the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals.

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