Clippers and Rockets find out winning the West isn't as easy as the Warriors made it look
Well, well, well, the second round is where it all ended for these two "rivals".
As I watched the second round of the playoffs devour the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets, I marveled at how they failed to live up to the championship standard set by the Golden State Warriors.
For years, Warriors fans have been pelted with accusations on just how easy it is to put together a title team. Now, perhaps the NBA world can discover some appreciation for the Golden Empire’s dynasty after seeing two “contenders” collapse well before the NBA Finals.
Two MVP’s on the same team? That ruins the league!
Ah yes, Summer 2019 seems so long ago. Remember when the Rockets shocked the world and joined two MVP’s in their primes in James Harden and Russell Westbrook?
A scary tandem indeed, especially considering that when the Warriors paired MVP Kevin Durant to the Unanimous MVP Steph Curry the Dubs nearly had a three-peat and supposedly ruined the league.
Unfortunately when Westbrook teamed up with Harden, all they did was annoy Rajon Rondo’s brother on the way to a second round exit. Can you believe two MVP’s in their prime couldn’t even make the Finals? #cantrelate
It’s SO easy to win when your opponents are injured!
On September 7th, the heavily favored Clippers took a 2-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets with a 113-107 victory. As the “superteam” Clips took control of the series, many Nuggets believers clung to the pipe dream that the series would have been different if only WILL BARTON WAS PLAYING AND GARY HARRIS WAS 100%.
I’m sure many Warriors fans would chortle at that statement; two role players who had never sniffed an All-Star appearance making the ultimate difference against a championship contender? Consider that Dub Nation was on the receiving end of years of nitpicking because it seemed like nearly every single playoff team claimed a “series-shifting” injury during the Golden Empire’s dynastic run.
Remember when Cleveland.com wrote an entire article breaking down how lucky the Warriors were with injuries? (I bet they didn’t write anything about Andre Iguodala’s back or Andrew Bogut’s leg in 2016…but I digress). Funny how quickly NBA Twitter tried to glue asterisks to the Dubs trophies because it’s SO EASY TO BEAT UP ON AN INJURED TEAM.
And yet, the alleged superteam Clippers blew a 3-1 lead to this hobbled underdog from Denver. How could this be? The Warriors’ haters made it seem like crushing wounded opponents was so easy that no champion could possibly be fully respected after partaking in such debauchery.
I suppose there were warning signs when the Clips struggled to eliminate the Dallas Mavericks in six games despite the Mavs center Kristaps Porzingis shelved. Perhaps wiping out injured-but-plucky squads isn’t quite as simple as Dub Nation’s detractors thought?
It’s easy to coach stacked teams!
This one goes out to Clippers coach Doc Rivers, the guy who led the “Warriors got lucky” talk waaay back. When the playoffs started,his team was the betting favorite to win the 2020 championship:
Westgate sportsbook vice president of risk Jeff Sherman said he has favored the Clippers over the Lakers all season, “The Clippers haven’t had their team at full health all year,” Sherman said. “But they’ve got the best lockdown defenders with Kawhi (Leonard), (Paul) George and and Pat Beverley.”
Not to mention the team had TWO sixth man of the year winners coming off of the bench in Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell.
Shaun Powell of NBA.com wrote a glowing season preview of the Clippers, believing they would be a “historically elite” defensive force with tons of offensive firepower:
If there aren’t any perfect teams in the NBA, the Clippers come the closest. Rivers has a championship (Boston), Leonard has two championships (Spurs and Raptors) and George has championship-level talent. That, plus a very seasoned and proven supporting cast give the Clippers all the ingredients to hold a parade in June.
And yet the Clippers were giving their walking papers out of the Orlando bubble by the unheralded Nuggets. Can you IMAGINE the level of vitriol that would have been leveled Steve Kerr’s way if he didn’t coach the dynasty Warriors to the Finals five years in a row?
Heck, he’s been constantly second guessed by plenty members of Dub Nation (that Game 7 Anderson Varejao move, yikes) despite the fact that he delivered five straight conference championships with three world titles sprinkled in.
Meanwhile Doc’s “supersquad” just lost three straight humiliating games to a feisty Nuggets team led by a gentle giant-turned-assassin.
Wow, who knew that YOU CAN’T JUST THROW A BUNCH OF GOOD PLAYERS ON THE FLOOR AND GUARANTEE VICTORIES.