The Los Angeles Clippers came out fast in game 6 at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder. At one point, LA held a 16 point advantage, while holding Kevin Durant to 1-7 shooting and Russell Westbrook scoreless with 2 personal fouls. Regardless of this, it never felt like the Clippers were in control last night. It appeared game 5 was still on their minds and they did not have the killer instinct needed to put their foot down on the throat of the Thunder.
When the horn sounded Kevin Durant tallied 39 points 16 rebounds and 5 assists, the Clippers season was over and the thought process of Clipper Nation reverted back to the game 5 collapse. It was very San Antonio Spurs-esque. After their game 6 loss last year to the Miami heat, the one that got away, it really felt like their was no way the Spurs would recover and win game 7. The only team that can weather collapses like these and emerge victories is the Memphis Grizzlies, but that’s just because blowing leads is kind of their thing.
It’s almost mentally impossible to recover from a collapse like that, and Chris Paul’s response was the most visible. Paul ended up scoring 25 points dished 11 assists, and grabbed 7 boards. He needed that performance to somewhat rectify himself after his incredibly uncharacteristic showing in the final 45 seconds in game 5.
The question becomes, what will this team look like from the ownership, to front office, to coaching, to players once the season begins next November. Their are a lot of directions personal wise this team could go in, but for now the focus is on owner Donald Sterling who is reportedly not going to accept the league mandated fine and also plans to fight any ruling in court. These reports are coming days after Sterling, in an interview with Anderson Cooper, I don’t know if it’s really worth it to fight it in court, especially at my age.”
Mr. Sterling’s delusions that a group of players would still compete for a team which he owns are quite concerning. This court battle is going to be long, it’s going to get messy, and by the time November rolls around in all likelihood the Los Angeles Clippers will not have a longterm solution for the ownership of the team. Magic Johnson, P Diddy, Kevin Johnson, LeBron James, and Doc Rivers can say whatever they want, the Sterling family still owns this team and would like to keep it that way.
As long as this court battle rages, Doc, CP3, and Blake are going to have a hard time selling the Clippers organizations to big name free agents, and yes the Clips’ still are one big signing away from having a complete team that can make multiple championship runs. In essence, the Sterling dilemma will be the determining factor in the future of this team. Even if Sterling is eventually ousted as the owner, the situation which will take place this Summer is a deterrent to any serious free agent.