0-8. That's the Los Angeles Clippers' all-time record in potential clinching games to the conference finals. It's a depressing stat, especially for a franchise that had to endure Donald Sterling's tenure. Yet, the franchise choked away its chance to face its crosstown rival, the Los Angeles Lakers, even with Steve Ballmer running the show. This has raised questions about whether this current incarnation can work and what went wrong?
Some will point the blame at Paul George for putting up pedestrian numbers (20.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.8 APG). In Game Seven, George had only ten points, five turnovers, and a plus/minus rating of -20. In the series against Denver, George averaged 3.4 turnovers a game along with 3.6 personal fouls a game. It doesn't help that George was much worse in the series against Dallas, averaging 18.5 PPG, an average FG% of 34.6, and four personal fouls a game.
Doc Rivers has stated that the blame should be put "all on him" and there's some merit. As good of a perimeter team as the Clippers are, Rivers steered away from that strength. As a result, the Nuggets burned the Clippers from beyond, draining 34.9% of their threes in the series. The Clippers also didn't avoid foul trouble, constantly sending the Nuggets to the free throw line.
Whatever the case is, the Clippers choked their way out of the playoffs. A potential matchup with the Lakers was lost due to a few problems. Will the Clippers be able to fix their issues in time? That's a question to be revealed sooner.
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