2: 22 AM ETOhm YoungmisukESPN Workers Writer CloseOhm Youngmisuk has lined the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Earlier than that, he lined the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the Novel York Every day News for nearly 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan Instruct College.
Apply him on Twitter » Ohm’s chat archive »Now now not lengthy after the LA Clippers’ season came crashing down in dazzling vogue, coach Doc Rivers acknowledged the finger would possibly furthermore be pointed at him for the team’s failure to meet its colossal championship expectations.After the Clippers fully unraveled for a 3rd straight game in a 104-89 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, Rivers acknowledged the title expectations were now not too heavy for his team, even supposing the Clippers fell in want of reaching what many thought all season could be a West finals showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers.”We didn’t meet them,” Rivers acknowledged of the expectations. “That is the backside line. I’m the coach, and I whisk to retract any blame for it. But we didn’t meet our expectations, clearly, because if we had, for my segment, we would aloof be playing.”The Clippers squandered a 3-1 lead in essentially the most efficient-of-seven series in narrative vogue. They misplaced double-digit leads of 16, 19 and 12 facets up to now three video games, respectively, because the franchise’s Western Conference finals drought reached 50 years.Rivers is the finest coach in NBA historic past to lose a 3-1 lead in three playoff series, having executed so with the Clippers in the 2015 West semis in opposition to the Houston Rockets and with the Orlando Magic in the principle spherical in opposition to the Detroit Pistons in 2003.This team, even supposing, became regarded as a championship contender from the moment the Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard in free agency and traded for Paul George.”We’re pissed off,” acknowledged Lou Williams, who struggled and shot 4-for-27 from past the arc in the series. “Easy and simple, we’re pissed off. We were up 3-1. We had two opportunities to take this series, and we didn’t.”Williams added: “I maintain deal of the complications that we bumped into, expertise bailed us out. Chemistry it didn’t. In this series, it failed us.”Leonard, a two-time NBA Finals MVP who led the Toronto Raptors to a championship remaining season sooner than signing with LA in free agency, acknowledged the Clippers need to enhance their basketball IQ and invent chemistry, like championship teams procedure, following their crumple.”We correct would possibly now not invent no shots,” acknowledged Leonard, who shot 1-for-11 in the 2d half of. “That is in relation to the team chemistry, incandescent what shall we aloof inch to gain the ball in spots or correct if a persons’ getting doubled or they’re packing the paint, strive to invent thoroughly different guys invent shots, and we gotta know what real spots we would like to be.”And , correct gotta elevate over and gain smarter as a team. Catch smarter. Basketball IQ obtained to gain better.”In essentially the most attention-grabbing game of the season, Leonard and George blended to shoot 10-for-38, including 4-for-18 from past the arc, for a total of 24 facets in Game 7. Once issues started unraveling in the 2d half of for the third straight game, the Clippers regarded fully alarmed, and the Nuggets outscored them 50-28 over the final 22 minutes, 50 seconds.”I became never contented. I correct wasn’t,” Rivers acknowledged of the Clippers’ 3-1 series lead. “I correct knew conditioning-incandescent, like, we had guys that correct would possibly now not play minutes, and that’s the reason exhausting, . I mean, there were two or three instances a evening the put we in reality started getting it going, and a man needed to come out. I mean, it is what it is. So no, I became never contented. I can uncover you that up entrance. I urged our coaches that.”It has been a strive in opposition to all season for the Clippers to gain chemistry. Leonard and George slowly worked their potential reduction from injuries coming into the season. Meshing the 2 stars with remaining season’s gritty community of veterans who overachieved became a chore. Plus, the Clippers handled constant interruptions from injuries to midseason additions. When they started showing a factor in of coming collectively, the coronavirus pandemic hit, and the season became halted for four-plus months.Now now not lengthy after they arrived to the bubble for the season restart, life obtained in the potential, and the Clippers were disrupted by Montrezl Harrell, Williams and Patrick Beverley all having to leave for funerals for family contributors. The three key role avid gamers each left out time because they were out of the bubble and needed to quarantine. Harrell became off the flooring for a month.”Quite about a adversity we handled,” acknowledged George, who shot 1-for-7 in the 2d half of Tuesday. “Rightfully so. You know, guys needed to whisk home for rightful causes. We correct left out deal of time being along with injuries in the unparalleled season and accurate throughout the bubble.”George acknowledged the organization has talked about how the Clippers are built to contend for bigger than this season. But this would possibly occasionally retract some time for the team to gain over the newest stain on a franchise historic past plagued by dropping and heartbreak.”It became evident tension to stay as much as the title expectations,” George acknowledged. “But as a player, I mean, you’ll need that. … It be no cop-out. Truth of the topic is, we didn’t stay as much as that expectation.”But I maintain, internally, we have always felt here’s now not a championship-or-bust year for us. You know, we are in a position to only gain better the longer we cease collectively and the extra we’re around each thoroughly different. More chemistry for [the] community, the better. I maintain that is in reality the memoir of the tape of this season. We correct didn’t have ample time collectively.”