The Clippers played Game 6 on their home floor last night. After blowing out the Jazz in Game 5 in Utah, without their star player Kawhi Leonard, everything was lining up.
Until it wasn’t.
The Clips came out flat and couldn’t hit shots. Their defense was awful, and the Jazz took advantage with a barrage of three’s. Everything was lining up until the Clippers were down 22 at the half.
So I do what every committed fan does… I turned off the game, kicked the cat, and prayed the Clips could steal a game in Utah on Sunday. My enthusiasm for this scenario wasn’t high.
The Clippers had never made a conference final in their 50 year history. 0-8 when playing in a clinching game to get to the conference finals. Soon to be 0-9. The Clippers are cursed.
Until the NBA gods threw us some love. So you’re saying we have a chance…
Clippers get down 25 points early in the third quarter. Did I mention I had turned off the game and was headed for bed. Like an ex-girlfriend that promises things will be different this time. No, they won’t. You always break my heart. I’m going to bed.
But why not check my phone one more time and see how bad the Clips are losing before getting some shuteye? Prove once again the Clips are cursed.
Wait, what is this? Checks phone, rubs eyes, refreshes the screen. The Clippers are up by seven with seven minutes left in the fourth.
How is this possible? Do you believe in miracles? You’re saying we have a chance?
Yes, I do.
The Clippers erased a 25 point deficit and were not winning late into the fourth. Apparently went on a historic run scoring 81 points in the second half.
Let that sink in. Eight one. This is the NBA, not the YMCA adult men’s league.
Terrance Mann, a second year talented player, had 39. The Clips shot 74% from three in the second half. Paul George scored 28, and Reggie Jackson added 27.
In the first half none of these guys did anything.
The curse is broken. Oh me, of little faith.
I’ve watched the Clippers since I was a middle schooler living in Los Angeles. My dad and I went to dozens of games. This is special. This is why basketball is the best sport. These nights can happen when a team catches fire at the right time.
I’m a witness. I almost cried.
This is also special because the Clippers have no business being in the conference finals after losing their all world player Kawhi Leonard to a knee injury. The guy that’s carried them the entire playoffs.
But the Clips play with the next man-up-mentality. No excuses, injuries happen, do your job. Cliche, yet true in sports, and life. It’s easier to make excuses of why we’re not succeeding because of the circumstances aren’t ideal. The Clippers have been historically great at making excuses.
It’s a new day. New ownership, new players, championship head coach, and a winning culture.
The Clips were also down 2-0 in both series, and in the second round, won four straight games. They are breaking historical NBA playoff records with their play. It shows the heart and guts and especially the leadership of Ty Lue. How many teams would fold getting behind in these games the way the Clips have in two rounds.
Clippers are finding something special at the right time. Late in the regular season, they looked like a hot mess. But this is what sports are about. Where the magic comes in. You have to get hot when it matters. The Clips have guys that play with heart and passion and play defense. All important elixirs for championship teams.
Not sure they can make the Finals without Leonard. But if they can shoot the ball from three and play defense I like their chances against the Suns.
We’ll see on Sunday.
I will remember this game for a long time. I wasn’t sure I’d see this day in my lifetime.
Oh me, of little faith.