After failing to hold on to their lead and close out the Denver Nuggets in 5 games, the LA Clippers now face a crucial game 6 with hopes of advancing to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. Win, and the first- and second-round losses will be quickly forgotten. Lose, and risk going home in an anything-can-happen game 7 on Tuesday.

Game information

Where: Disneyworld, Orlando, Florida
When: 10:00 AM Pacific Time
How to watch: ESPN

Starting lineups

LA Clippers: Patrick Beverley – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Marcus Morris – Ivica Zubac
Denver Nuggets: Jamal Murray – Gary Harris – Jerami Grant – Paul Millsap – Nikola Jokic

Injuries

LAC: None
DEN: Will Barton OUT, Vlatko Cancar OUT

The big picture

Everywhere I look, I see ghosts of Clippers past.

I know this is a different team, in a different series, led by different stars. Kawhi Leonard has made the conference finals more times in his career than he’s missed them. Hell, when he’s been healthy, his teams are 17-4 in playoff series. When Chris Paul came to the Clippers, he was 1-3 in four career playoff series, and during his six-year tenure in LA the team went 3-6 in their 9 series.

There isn’t a single player on the roster who was here in 2015 when the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead in the second round to the Houston Rockets. They’re aware of it–and aware of the team’s historic losing streak when a Conference Finals berth is on the line–but I don’t think it means very much to them. Why would Kawhi Leonard be bothered about the Clippers’ 2015 loss when he wasn’t on the team and has won a title since then? Why would anyone in the organization feel anguish at mention of the team’s 2006 loss to the Suns when practically every significant figure in the organization has arrived since then?

But when you’ve been following this team through thick and thin, like we have, it’s different. The ghosts are everywhere, from unlikely perpetrator Paul Millsap awakening to score 14 third-quarter points to a fourth-quarter three-point barrage highlighted by Jamal Murray banking in a deep, contested shot. Every fourth quarter turnover, every rushed shot from a nervous role player, every defensive breakdown from an “instant offense” bench player seeps into Clipper history, writing new pages in the sporting world’s most depressing book. I wish the author would get some new material instead of repeating the same tired storylines.

The antagonist

All of a sudden, the Denver Nuggets’ season is a success–something that didn’t seem likely when they were down 3-1 to the underdog Utah Jazz in the first round a couple of weeks ago. But their string of big wins to come back in that series was probably even more fulfilling than a run-of-the-mill series win would have been, as the Nuggets had to dig deep, battle through adversity, and get iconic breakout performances from still-young lead guard Jamal Murray. Needing 7 games and facing a 3-1 deficit was short of expectations for the Nuggets in that series, but the ultimate result was an undeniable feel-good win.

And now, with their game 5 comeback against the Clippers in the second round, even elimination in game 6 would be somewhat of a feel-good loss for Denver. Locked on Nuggets host and DNVR Nuggets reporter Adam Mares said after game 5 that taking 2 games off of the Clippers in the second round was the equivalent of Denver hitting par for the season: play well, get a good seed, win a series, and provide a legitimate challenge to one of the LA teams in the second round.

If the Nuggets are sent home Sunday, they can find pride in their performances and hope that only moderate adjustments–Will Barton’s return to health, a year of growth for Michael Porter Jr., a move or two around the edges–give them a legitimate chance to run this thing back and take another swing in the second round next year. Falling short, either in the first round or via a gentleman’s sweep against LA, would have forced the Nuggets to spend the off-season questioning if this core was capable of competing or if a more drastic move was needed. But outside of Denver’s game 1 fatigue loss, it feels fair to say that each team has outplayed the other in two of the last four games, with LAC stealing game 3 with a late comeback and Denver doing the same in game 5.

The significance of the Nuggets hitting par for their long-term team-building won’t mean much to the players in the locker room Sunday, though. They believe they can beat the Clippers, and why wouldn’t they? They have twice. Plus, as Nikola Jokic has said during this playoff run, Denver is at their best with their backs against the wall: they play more freely, with nothing to lose. Where the Nuggets were a bit timid in an elimination game 5 Friday, they’ll be playing with house money Sunday morning.

Sub-plots:

  • Montrezl Harrell: There’s little doubt: Harrell has been the worst Clipper this playoffs, on both offense and defense, but a notable margin. They’ve routinely been killed when was on the floor, losing his 202 playoff minutes by 41 points–and that number is offset by him stat-padding in garbage time. His only two positive games have been the team’s 43-point win over Dallas in game 5 (+34) and their 23-point win over Denver in game 1 (+7). In LA’s other 9 playoff games, they’ve lost 158 minutes with Harrell on the floor by 82 points. Essentially every lineup Trez touches becomes a nightmare: even when he plays in tandem with George, Leonard, and Morris, the quartet has a net rating of -16.3. In combinations that do not include Harrell, that trio has a net rating of +13.5.

    Harrell has had moderate success (survival is a better word) in this series against Nuggets backup Mason Plumlee, who is nowhere near the offensive weapon or creator that starter Nikola Jokic is. The Clippers have won 48 Trez vs Plumlee minutes by 9 points, primarily thanks to Denver’s putrid offense when Jokic is off the floor. While you’d be right to say that you’d like to run the score up by more than that with Jokic off the floor, at least LAC is surviving those minutes. They aren’t surviving then Harrell shares the floor with Jokic.

    It was particularly salient in game 5, where the two shared the court for just 4:20 in the second half, and the Nuggets went +18 in that stretch–the result of Harrell’s selfish offensive play and lazy defensive play spiraling into each other.
  • Guarding Jokic: Denver’s best player in this series has certainly been Nikola Jokic, which is perhaps not surprising as he’s their best player and likely the best big man in the NBA. Nobody in the league is a Jokic stopper, just like nobody is a Kawhi stopper–just look at Jokic’s lines against Rudy Gobert in the first round. The Clippers are going to lose the center matchup every time they play Denver for probably the next decade. If they want to win games, including Sunday’s game 6, the key will be keeping the margin of defeat at center small enough that they can overcome it elsewhere.

    Ivica Zubac has done that in this series. Against Zubac, Jokic pretty much gets whatever he wants. He gets to his spots on the floor, he scores with efficiency. When the two share the floor, Jokic is shooting 25 times per 100 possessions, a slight uptick from his regular-season numbers, and making 48% of his field goal attempts, a slight downtick. While Zubac hasn’t been great against Jokic, he’s been competent, and because the Clippers seem to lack a competent alternative, Doc Rivers simply needs to play Zu against Jokic as much as possible.

    When it’s not possible, either due to foul trouble or Zubac’s fatigue (Jokic is playing 40+ minutes a game), the answer simply can’t be Montrezl Harrell. Against Zubac, Jokic has 73 points in 124 minutes while shooting 48.4% from the field. Against Harrell, it’s 42 points in 45 minutes on 64% from the field. When both are off (meaning either Marcus Morris or JaMychal Green is Jokic’s primary defender), the sample size is inconclusive: 6 points in 15 minutes on 3-8 shooting. Jokic is productive vs Zubac but superhuman when Zu is off the floor–LAC needs to find a different plan for any non-Zu Jokic minutes or they’ll continue to throw away 44 minutes of hard work with 4 miserable minutes.
  • Regression: The playoffs are a mess of small sample sizes, and it can be really hard to know what’s real and what’s an aberration. As this series concludes, whether there’s 1 or 2 games left, look for a few things to reach more normal levels, like: Marcus Morris 3pt shooting (52% on the series), Jerami Grant’s 3pt shooting (25% on the series), Lou Williams’ 3pt shooting (10% on the series), Landry Shamet’s 3pt shooting (21% on the series), and Jamal Murray’s scoring (37.6% FG). There’s no guarantee that any or all of these things will adjust over the next 48-96 minutes–Murray’s struggles are the result of the Clippers’ defense systemically smothering him and leaving others open, while Grant’s struggles are in spite of those open looks. Just as Grant finding his shot would punish the Clippers’ aggressive focus on Denver’s stars and open up the Nuggets offense, Morris hitting a cold spell could tank LAC’s offense by not punishing Denver for over-helping on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, or the Clippers’ bench guards getting hot for a quarter could swing the game.
  • Game Thread: As with every game, Clippers fans will be congregating in the comments of this preview during the game to chat live as the action unfolds. Register for a free account and join the conversation!

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Lucas Hann

Lucas Hann

Lucas has covered the Clippers since 2011, and has been credentialed by the team since 2014. He co-founded 213Hoops with Robert Flom in January 2020.  He is a graduate of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, CA and St. John's University in Queens, NY.  He earned his MA in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University.

163 Comments

  • Avatar Minion94 says:

    God I hate to say this but Doc needs to learn from Vogel. Vogel and the Lakers win game 3 and instead of being pleased and complacent, he makes the proactive move of starting Markief Morris and cutting Javale and Dwight’s minutes to maximize their chances of closing out the series. Even after the loss, I’m not worried that the team won’t win the series. I’m just worried that Doc is making the players run extra games through the first and second round because of his loyalty to Trez.

    • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

      Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Doc shuts down Zu and plays Trez almost entire 2nd half tomorrow lol
      If this coach really cared about winning, he can easily bench Trez and play JaMychal more or play Noah who’s a smartest post defender in this team. If they want to space the floor when JaMychal is not on the floor, then he can play Patterson.
      And Noah doesn’t need to play like DPOY or score 20pts. He doesn’t need to play even great. If only Noah was there to boxout opponents, it will be a huge upgrade from Trez.

      We really don’t need Trez.

      • Avatar Minion94 says:

        Noah would get smoked by Murray on every Murray-Jokic screen play.

        • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

          I don’t think anybody expects Clippers center to shut down Murray. No Clippers center can shut down him.

          Noah can rotate, help & recover, box-out, rebound, pass the ball. And I’m OK with him not getting any minutes if Zu or JaMychal play well. Bench Trez.

  • Avatar chogokin says:

    Step 1: Bench Trez
    Step 2: Play Zu/JMG more
    Step 3: Profit

  • Avatar Justin Moore says:

    Look.

    Honestly, I am not sure if matters if we win this series or not. Think the Lakers are going to eat us alive with the way they are playing. Up 21 AND still playing with effort in a close out game. Credit to Vogel and their squad.

    • Avatar chogokin says:

      For the sake of argument, let’s just say the Lakers are a better team right now. Even assuming that, I don’t want to lose another series after going up 3-1.

      Plus the Lakers destroyed a Portland team w/ 8 healthy players and a Houston team led by one of the greatest front-runners in NBA history (Harden is the King of putting up great numbers when it doesn’t matter lol). If the Clips beat the Nuggets (as they should), and can go into a series against the Lakers healthy, then I think it’ll be a tough series.

    • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

      Lakers are like “Look at Clippers. They’re stupid. They’re losers. We just need to focus on this game.”

      Clippers always make rival teams comfortable and people keep laughing at this team.

  • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

    I would get HELLA mad if Doc plays Trez next time. But I guarantee Doc still doesn’t know why they lost Game 5. He has no idea what’s going on.

  • Avatar John Maclean says:

    Clippers are now favored by 9 at westgate 8.5 everywhere else Which astounds me. Maybe we’re just a bunch of cryptic Clippers victims but I’ve felt this ghost numerous times with other teams I’ve rooted for over the years. Just a gut feeling. Other than Kawhi the Nuggets are just plain more talented than we are. Joker is the second best player in the series and PG and Murray (when he’s clicking) are probably equal. For those who remember, MPJ was regarded as a Lebron or Durant level prodigy coming out of high school and he may be rounding into form before our eyes. The rest of their team is deep and battle tested and many of our rotation guys like Lou, Bev and Trez fell in their respective drafts and largely overachieve on heart and energy. Morris is a solid mercenary and Sham and Zu are good prospects doing the best they can. The hope for me was that Denver was still a year away and we’d sneak past them. Let’s hope that the bookies are right and I’m just a flailing Clippers fan and we close this out tomorrow. The good news is it looks like game 1 of WCF wouldn’t start until Wednesday if we can pull this off.

    • Avatar wwshep says:

      I wish sports betting was legal in my state. I would bet against the Clippers every time and make a fortune.

      • Avatar chogokin says:

        Or you’d be happy to lose some money. Win-win, really.

        • Avatar wwshep says:

          True. I would happily sacrifice those bets if the Clips beat the spread. But if they’re going to continually do the choke artist routine I might as well try and offset my emotional misery with some gambling winnings. Call it a hedge.

    • lying dog-faced pony soldier lying dog-faced pony soldier says:

      I think the bookies are right and you’re just a flailing Clippers fan (joking, haha). I’m keeping the faith personally.

      • Lucas Hann Lucas Hann says:

        Bookies have underestimated Denver all series. I think Clips in 4 was considered the most likely outcome and LAC have been favored in the 8-9 point range every game, right?

        But remember, the bookies aren’t making a prediction about the game, they’re making a prediction about how good everyone else’s predictions will be. So they set the line at LAC -8 and the public in general has written off the Nuggets so more money comes in on LAC -8 and the line moves further. It’s about manipulating casuals into wasting money, not a scientific prediction model.

  • Avatar Based Freestyle says:

    Unfortunately, I’ll be shocked if this isn’t another embarrassing loss. 10AM start time (always a nightmare for the Clippers), Trez won’t be benched, Doc won’t make a single adjustment. It will take a miracle to win this series at this point.

    • Lucas Hann Lucas Hann says:

      eh, I think the Clippers will probably win

      • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

        I want to believe they will win but they’re the Clippers. And their coach is Doc Rivers. Things don’t go well for them.

    • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

      I agree. Doc won’t bench Trez and play him entire 4th Q. They will blow huge lead again and after the game, Doc will say “Our defense was bad. I don’t know why…”

      • Lucas Hann Lucas Hann says:

        You’re being exceedingly negative. Nobody is sunshine and roses, but you’re having a pretty extreme meltdown. Other folks are allowed to have a discussion.

        • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

          Sorry.

          I don’t hate everything. I just hate Trez’ defense. But that mslaw? guy(I don’t even remember his name) said to me “you hate everything. Who are you! Go away” lol

  • Avatar Alan Ng says:

    Lakers just smoked the rockets to advance.

    See that Clippers. They’re waiting on you. Handle your business. If this doesn’t motivate you even more, GTFO of the bubble and continue to. be “contenders” on paper. Because your fan base will always mar you as pretenders until you get rid of your fake leader, Glenn Rivers.

    • Avatar wwshep says:

      I’m so jealous that Laker fans get to enjoy watching their team rising to the occasion (including role players elevating their game) and handling it’s business with confidence and swagger. Meanwhile we get traumatized by Doc’s insane rotations, inconsistent play from our stars, and our role players turning into pumpkins. 🙁

      • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

        Me too…
        No matter who’s on the floor, Lakers play solid. Everybody steps up when it matters.

        • Lucas Hann Lucas Hann says:

          I think this whole Lakers envy is pretty silly and embarrassing. They lost game 1 to the 8-seed Blazers and might have needed 6 games to finish them had Damian Lillard not gotten hurt. They also lost game 1 to the 4-seed Rockets and then Houston clearly quit after Danuel House was removed from the bubble. Look at the Rockets in games 4/5 and the Nuggets in games 4/5 and tell me that Houston was trying to win as much as Denver was.

          The Lakers struggled on offense at times against the 28th and 14th best defenses in the NBA. I want to imagine where the doomsday preppers on this board would be if we’d scored 93 points and lost game 1 against the 28th-best defense in the NBA, or the catastrophes that would be being predicted if fortunes were reversed and the Clippers lost two game 1s in a row and were “guaranteed to not show up ready and beaten by the battle-tested Lakers.”

          Clips have had their fair share of bumps in the road over the last 11 games, and I certainly have been writing about it in a manner that is far from sunshine and roses. But at a certain point we depart from level-headed critique, or even reasonable pessimism, and devolve into baseless discussions that ignore how vulnerable the Lakers have looked this playoffs and invent new problems that the Clippers don’t even have.

          • lying dog-faced pony soldier lying dog-faced pony soldier says:

            Thank you.

          • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

            I always appreciate your hard work, articles. Thanks.
            I need to stop being pessimistic.

          • Avatar ksihoo says:

            Like this statement much! Well done Lukas

          • Avatar ksihoo says:

            *Lucas; sorry for the typo, “Lukas” is my country’s version of your name 🙂

          • Avatar NovakDjokovic says:

            I get being biased, but this is a horrible comment comment from you, of all people.

            First off, the Blazers were the hottest team coming into the playoffs, and Dame Lillard was the hottest player in the bubble. There were many analysts stating this was probably the best 8 seed of all time and many even picked the Blazers to upset. Now all of a sudden cause the Lakers embarrassed them, they’re no longer a good team?

            Second off, the Dame Lillard had absolutely zero bearing on the series. The Lakers were blowing out the Blazers by 30 when Lillard was the game, how would he have taken it to 6. And this is an especially hypocritical comment considering the fact that if not for the Kristaps Porzingis ejection in game 1 and his injury, our series with the Mavs could have easily gone 7.

            Secondly, the Nuggets TANKED to avoid the rockets and you’re going to tell me with a straight face that you would have preferred playing the Rockets to the Nuggets before the playoffs? BE HONEST. The Rockets are one of the most high powered offenses of all time, and they were nullified by the Lakers defense. Give them credit where it’s due.

            And finally you’re excusing the Rockets getting brutalized and hammered to the Daniel House suspension? Seriously? DANIEL HOUSE? Are we as embarrassing as Rockets fans to resort to such pathetic excuses?

            Can we just admit the Lakers have looked much better in the playoffs than we have without giving such BS excuses? Please? I know this is a fan site and I’m a die hard Clippers fan, but please don’t resort to such biased bullshit. We aren’t Rockets fans.

            Peace out, and Lucas Hann, I expect better quality comments next time.

        • Avatar wwshep says:

          That’s what happens with awesome coaching and a playmaker like LeBron that makes everybody around him better. We unfortunately have neither of those things and it shows. Kawhi and PG are great scorers and defenders but we don’t have that playmaker that brings out the best in every role player. And we certainly don’t have the coach that get construct the best lineups and game plan to get the job done. So we rely on sheer talent to try and win and he result is predictably uneven and dicey.

    • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

      It’s really tough to beat LeBron in a 7 game series.
      Everytime teams beat LeBron in the regular season, those fanbase says LeBron is washed up or not great anymore and acts like they have a chance to win a championship. But you never learn anything until your favorite team faces Playoffs LeBron. It’s really tough.

      Rockets fans have been acting like they are the best team in the league despite they had never experienced Playoffs LeBron. Then, ended up miserable loss.

      • Avatar wwshep says:

        If we somehow eek out the series win vs. Denver (which I don’t feel good about at all) Lakers are going to smoke us. Lou and Trez will get murdered. Trez will get destroyed on the glass and Lakers will have a layup drill against his undersized lack of rim protection, and he’ll be forcing up shitty ball hog wild shots in the paint getting snuffed out by AD, McGee, and Dwight leading to Laker fast break points while he jogs lazily back upcourt. LeBron will hunt Lou on every Laker offensive possession, and Lou will brick every 3 pointer at his current 10% from 3 clip. Doc will ignore ALL of it and refuse to alter his rotations. Maybe we take them to 6 games to avoid the gentlemen’s sweep, but NOTHING Doc or our players have shown me so far in the bubble indicates that we are ready and able to be a true championship contender. I would certainly love for them to prove me wrong but I’m not holding my breath. 🙁

        • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

          Can’t agree more! I agree with everything you said.

          Our key bench players are one‐dimensional.
          They can score but that doesn’t mean they can score efficiently against elite teams. They always get destroyed by bigger players. And they can’t play defense and don’t know how to defense. (Lou at least put some serious effort on D in this series though)

          I mean, we’re not that deep at this point. But they can still be a deeper team if Doc just plays Shamet, JaMychal, Mann more. We need DEFENSVE MINDED ROLE PLAYERS and we have those.

  • Avatar wwshep says:

    BTW. I’m not going to be on the game thread tomorrow because I think it will just get way too toxic here and I don’t want to add to it as my frame of mind will be REALLY bad if/when this team does it’s typical thing.

    Plus I’ve decided not to watch it live but to DVR it and avoid news/scores/Twitter and wait to watch it at the end of the day just so that I don’t ruin my whole Sunday if/when Doc and the Clips implode again.

    • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

      Yes this shit is too much stress on me. I usually just pray that they win a game and check the score after the game.

  • lying dog-faced pony soldier lying dog-faced pony soldier says:

    I really don’t understand why Patterson in particular hasn’t played a minute. He’s big and smart and hits the three. Maybe someone can explain that?

    • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

      Me too. I don’t get why.
      When everybody is healthy, he doesn’t get any real minutes. Doc shuts down him.
      When someone is injured, Doc puts him into the starting lineup and he give us some quality minutes.

      Especially when Trez plays awfully, why not play Patterson? Trez doesn’t play defense, stays on dunker spot and fucks up spacing so bad.

    • Lucas Hann Lucas Hann says:

      Both Morris and Green do everything Patterson does, but better + more stuff. Hard to break through at a position in that case.

      Now if Doc does decide that Trez can’t play vs the Lakers, and we are trying to figure out how to match up with AD-at-5 minutes, and Zu is getting roasted, Patterson could make more sense cause we’d need minutes. If/when Morris leaves the bubble for a couple of games, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Patterson.

      But if I had it my way, I’d be shifting Trez minutes to Green and not using Patterson unless there was a foul trouble situation.

      • lying dog-faced pony soldier lying dog-faced pony soldier says:

        Thanks. You should be on the bench next to Doc. I’m no keen basketball mind, just average Joe Clippers fan. Was just wondering. Aside from seeming to be a quite competent NBA player, Patterson is impressive when he writes and speaks.

    • Avatar Based Freestyle says:

      That would require Doc to actually do his job and adjust over the course of a series. Good luck with that.

  • Avatar TheGreatestShowman says:

    Go Clips!

  • Avatar Rogelio Reyes says:

    I would like to put in my 2 cents worth. It’s good they lost game 5. To put it in Kawhi’s words, ” It’s a learning experience”. I just think it’s on the players now. Let’s see where their heart is. Go Clips!

    • Avatar dhpat says:

      I agree. It is crazy — but, we’re still trying to figure out this team — mainly due to injuries and load management. Denver is a damn good team, and it is better to have a harder road and adversity to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Don’t worry about the Lakers. Just focus on Sunday’s game, one possession at a time. We’ll gut out a win. Cheers!

  • ianbaron ianbaron says:

    Whoever isn’t nervous heading into tomorrow’s game… they’re lying.

    Praying to baby Jesus and Buddha we’ll pull through tomorrow…

  • Avatar NovakDjokovic says:

    I have lost all faith in this Clippers team and the Lakers have looked much much better than I had anticipated. And I expect much better from our fans, especially our blog writers, to give credit where credit is due instead of making up the most BS excuses ever(looking at you Lucas Hann). Are we Rockets fans now?

    Look, I get that digesting this might be tough. But is it that hard to admit that the Lakers are more of A TEAM than us? They have a better coach, have the better top 2(Kawhi and LBJ are equal but AD is better than Paul George). And they also have the better bench than us. Most importantly, each of the players plays hard DEFENSE, unlike ours. That is pretty ironic considering that Lakers were considered all game and we were considered the “dogs,” but the Lakers are the real “DOGS.”

    There is absolutely no way we get more than 1 game that series, assuming we get past the Nuggets. The Lakers biggest threat was considered to be their perimeter defense, especially with Bradley out, but they just brutalized a team that were best constructed to exploit that weakness. The Lakers basically have zero holes in their squad team. They have the firepower, the versatility, and most importantly, they have the “DOG” in them.

    This season is over, as much as it pains me to say. We will get 1 game from the Lakers, and the Lakers will sweep the finals.

    • Avatar chogokin says:

      Wow. Even if you’ve correctly predicted the ultimate outcome (which is unlikely), this was a steaming pile of self-loathing right here. Bye, bud. Enjoy the offseason.

      • Lucas Hann Lucas Hann says:

        The meltdowns are pretty intense for being up 3-2 in the 2nd vs 3rd second-round series.

        Lest we forget that last year, the Toronto Raptors went down 2-0 in this series before taking a 3-2 lead, blowing game 6, and winning because of four lucky bounces at the horn in game 7. They won the conference finals and finals in 6 after that.

        The year before, the Warriors were down 3-2 in the WCF before winning games 6 and 7 and then sweeping the finals.

        In 2016, the Cavs were down 3-1 in the finals before winning 3 in a row to win the title.

        In 2015, the Warriors were down 2-1 in the 2nd round against the 5th-seed Grizzlies before winning the series in 6.

        In 2014, Kawhi’s Spurs were down 2-1 in the first round to Dallas and needed 7 to win the 1st vs 8th matchup… and then they won in 5, 6, and 5 to win the title.

        In 2013, the Heat needed 7 to beat the 3rd-seed Pacers in the ECF and then were down 2-1 and 3-2 in the finals before winning games 6 and 7 to win the title.

        In 2012, the Heat were down 3-2 in the ECF before winning games 6 and 7 and then winning the Finals in 5. They were also down 2-1 to the Pacers in the 2nd round.

        In 2011, the Mavericks were down 2-1 in the Finals before winning 3 in a row to win in 6.

        In 2010, the Lakers were down 3-2 in the Finals before winning.

        Every title team in the last decade except for the 2017 Warriors, who went 16-1 and only lost in game 4 of the Finals when up 3-0, has not only dropped games in an early series but actually trailed in a series at some point en route to the title. So forgive me if I’m not melting down because the Clippers are up 3-2 heading into game 6. I think I’m pretty sternly critical of Rivers and the team’s shortcomings. If you want to hear about how the Lakers are perfect and the Clippers are afterthoughts, there’s a whole bunch of LA media willing to oblige.

    • Avatar mlslaw1 says:

      Just go back to SS&R and stay in that lane where you belong. Ur one sick puppy.

    • Avatar sjake says:

      Cmon dude. Every series is literally its own series. No doubt the Lakers looked good yesterday and Lebron is (surprise) a great player. That said, Clips just need to get through Denver. Clippers and Lakers are very evenly matched. It’s going to be a great series (if Clips get there…Let’s go Clippers!!).

  • Avatar William Wells says:

    This fear of the Lakers is silly. Both the Lakers and the Clippers are very talented. Both teams are flawed.

    The Lakers have Lebron. But the Cippers have Kawhi. Kawhi is simply better than Lebron. Kawhi is the best player in the NBA come playoff time. If the Clippers advance to play the Lakers it will be a tough series. I’d go with Clippers in 6.

    Kawhi is THE MAN.

  • Avatar toiago toiago says:

    It seems like everyone is freaking out at the prospect of facing the Lakers in the next round. I get it, I saw some of their games against the Rockets to, Lebron was a monster and everyone rose to the occasion. However, the Rockets proved to be much easier to dismantle than anticipated. Their concept was flawed (as expected, even if masked by a decent regular season), and they were absolutely beat up, uninspired and had given up by the time they lost game 2 (further exacerbated by the whole House situation). This is to say that, regardless of how good the Lakers are, they were made to look like world beaters by a very weak Rockets team. So, let’s just mirror our leader and best player Kawhi Leonard, stay even keeled, and we’ll see where it takes us.

    • lying dog-faced pony soldier lying dog-faced pony soldier says:

      I had a Lakers fan co-worker in an adjoining cubicle. We’d discuss Lakers and Clippers, and he’d always amicably say, “We’ll see what happens.”

  • Avatar Mario Molina says:

    We are going to win this game. Why? Because we are the better team. Yes Denver will play hard but the Clippers are going to be locked in on defense today. I’m sure Doc is feeling pressure after last loss and he will make the right substitutions today because he will be scared we will blow a lead again. I think this is the Clippers we have to get used to. They blow a huge lead and lose the game. Next game they come back and play great. Why does this happen? I agree with everyone here I think Harrell’s lack of defense is the main reason for this. He allows the other teams offense to make shots and that gets them in rhythm. Hopefully we win today and we don’t make these mistakes in the next round. Go Clips.

  • Avatar lobc1t1 says:

    Got my “It Takes Everything” playoff shirt on for good measure.

    Summoning the inner spirits of the great ones… Terry Dehere, Kandi Ma, Troy Hudson…

    We got this!

  • lying dog-faced pony soldier lying dog-faced pony soldier says:

    Exorcise those demons. Bust those ghosts.

  • Avatar sjake says:

    Here we go!

  • Avatar toiago toiago says:

    That’s a sluggish start. Our guys have to show some desperation and will.

  • Avatar sjake says:

    Clips playing good D. Denver going to hit some shots regardless, but over course of the game, Clips should wear them out. Got to keep up the tough D.

  • Avatar sjake says:

    Good drive Shamet. Be aggressive.

  • Avatar sjake says:

    Lou is being aggressive. Love it. He is a shooter that needs find his touch. I think he will.

  • Avatar sjake says:

    Green is lucky he’s so tall(and can shoot!), because that guy is not an athlete.

  • Avatar Eric Ho says:

    Lou lives.

  • lying dog-faced pony soldier lying dog-faced pony soldier says:

    Kawhi and Joker are amazing.

  • Avatar sjake says:

    I’m watching you Trez! Let’s see how you do.

    • Avatar sjake says:

      and he immediatly scores. Good stuff.

      • Avatar Eric Ho says:

        Then gets scored on with a 3 (not really his fault) and a MPJ layup (he could’ve given more effort on help defense). I think Trez, offensively, has been decent, but no so much on defense.

      • Avatar sjake says:

        Not disastrous. That was the right amount of Trez.

      • Avatar toiago toiago says:

        And he immediately fails on defense. You have to have a big that’s a good defender on Jokic, otherwise he’ll just make everything he wants on offense and facilitate for his teammates or himself. Morris should’ve reentered, or even Patterson. Hopefully he plays below 10min tonight, just to give the other guys some rest.

        I’m amazed him and Lou still are trying to run their two-man game on ofense. I’m yet to see it working in this series/playoffs.

  • Lucas Hann Lucas Hann says:

    Lou Williams and Landry Shamet are now a combined 5-37 (13.5%) from three in this series, with the vast majority of those shots being “open” or “wide open” according to tracking data

  • Avatar sjake says:

    Clips were OK on offense, hustled on D, Nuggets hit some shots and Clips up by 8. Doc, can you bottle that recipe for the rest of the game?

  • Avatar chogokin says:

    Trez is a fine player. It’s just that this team doesn’t have the right makeup off the bench (re: every single other player out there w/ him needs to be a great defender) to succeed w/ him long-term in these playoffs. If he can’t guard/rebound/box out his man (e.g. Joker, AD, etc) or the rim, and has trouble fighting through/scoring on length (e.g. AD, McGee), then the Clips need to keep him in the 5-10 mpg range to minimize the damage.

  • Avatar sjake says:

    Crap…Trez is hearing footsteps in his head. That was a dunk.

  • Avatar toiago toiago says:

    It’s a minor miracle that the Clippers still lead at this timeout. Doc must be stupid to keep Trez on the floor. Sure he scored, but he almost botched it before on the other end. His defensive acumen is truly non-existent.

    • Avatar Eric Ho says:

      It’s ok. We are nearing the end of quarter, which is Zubaca time.

      • Avatar toiago toiago says:

        There was no need to let the lead dwindle to a mere 3 points though. It increases the Nuggets’ confidence of winning the game and evening the series. They should put a foot on their throats and end it in the first half. This is not a game where it’s ok to have your opponent at arms length.

      • Avatar toiago toiago says:

        See? Even Jokic believes he can sink a hailmary like that with the confidence they’re getting.

  • Avatar chogokin says:

    Bench. Trez. Please.

  • Avatar Minion94 says:

    Bro how is Trez still in the game. Hahaha Doc wants to lose.

  • Avatar Eric Ho says:

    Gary Harris is really all defense and no offense. Most of the time.

  • Avatar kylethepile says:

    Can Doc just go to Hallmark and buy an “I’m sorry you suck in the playoffs” card for Trezz and leave his ass on the bench? The confirmation bias is strong but Trezz blows.

  • Avatar chogokin says:

    It was a 2 pt game when Trez came out.

    • Avatar Eric Ho says:

      That quarter was Exhibit A of how much better we are without Trez on the floor. Couldn’t be more obvious. Maybe it will take the media talking about it to finally get Doc to make the change.

    • Avatar toiago toiago says:

      Yup. His defense is atrocious. He’s lost 99% of the time. You can literally see it in his face, he’s just…. there. Not good enough.

  • Avatar Eric Ho says:

    Great finish to the half! Good to see PG keeping up his high level of play and Lou making a 3-point shot.

  • Avatar Eric Ho says:

    Damn it. Hate to see Jamal down like that. Also better not hear any “Clippers only won because Murray was injured.” I like when everyone on both teams is healthy.

    • Avatar Eric Ho says:

      Okay, he’s back. Maybe I should’ve thought twice before wishing for his return. But still much rather beat them healthy.

  • Avatar toiago toiago says:

    I absolutely despise those half hearted attempts by Jokic. They always go in!

  • Avatar chogokin says:

    Trez back in, Clips started +12

  • Avatar toiago toiago says:

    Trez in before Green. What the hell is Doc thinking/doing.

  • Avatar chogokin says:

    Clips need to stop taking midrange shots and take it to the basket

  • Avatar Eric Ho says:

    Wow, this is actually incredible. It’s like day and night.

  • lying dog-faced pony soldier lying dog-faced pony soldier says:

    Doc allowing a run and giving up a big lead again.

  • Avatar kylethepile says:

    This is actually hilarious

  • Avatar chogokin says:

    This looks familiar

  • Avatar toiago toiago says:

    Interestingly, Doc subbed Trez out. Finally. Let’s see if we can close this quarter strongly.

  • Avatar Eric Ho says:

    Zubac in early and Clippers back up. LMAO.

  • Avatar Ceaser McAlmond says:

    Yikes just standing there watching that wide open three go down. Where is the closeout. Thats the difference right now

  • Avatar toiago toiago says:

    Listening that snippet of Doc on the bench just made me more mad. What the fuck. He thinks things are going to work themselves out? It starts with him and his awful (mis)use of Trez. And he’s still on the floor. Pathetic.

    • Avatar Clipperfernald says:

      Yeah that was not a very uplifting pep talk. That was eye opening how Doc is responsible for not getting these guys fired up. He did the exact opposite. Lou wasn’t even listening

  • Avatar toiago toiago says:

    This is a carbon copy of last game. Jokic gets hot on Trez, and we get fucked.

    • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

      And that idiot head coach still doesn’t know why they keep blowing huge lead over and over and over.

  • Avatar chogokin says:

    I’m not gonna lie guys. I’m having a really tough time watching this.

    • Avatar toiago toiago says:

      This is horrendous. It’s all about confidence and momentum. How come the Clippers came out of half time so relaxed and soft? They’re completely sapped of energy and confidence. This is a disastrous loss. The Nuggets know they can win a game 7, and the pressure will be on the Clippers.

  • Avatar chogokin says:

    This team makes me sick.

  • Avatar jeremy fraj says:

    woohoo… cheers to free: anxiety inducing, heart wrenching basketball for all us clipper loyals… sheesh… wtf is this???

  • Avatar wwshep says:

    I’m done with this team. I can’t do this anymore. There is no sense in rooting for the Clippers so long as Doc Rivers is the coach. Just results in pain and frustration.

    HE is the reason why we will never make it past round 2. Insists on playing Trez vs. Jokic when anyone with a pulse can see it’s a complete disaster. -19 net rating for Trez in just 15 minutes.

    Fuck you DOC!

    Fuck this shit! It’s just pointless.

    I’m DONE!

    If/when Doc is ever fired then maybe it will be worth rooting for this team again.

  • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

    Are there still morons who wanna defend Trez?

  • Avatar toiago toiago says:

    It should be clear by now that you have to be 100% of the time on Jokic, suffocate him. You can’t, and this has to be stressed, you can’t let him get hot and confident! Having Trez on him enables him. He devours him, then the team gets going, with confidence and enthusiasm, and then it’s a steamroller, impossible to stop, because all the guys feed off it. It’s preferable to not have Trez on the game and have one of Kawhi, PG or Morris on him if Zubac can’t be on the floor.

    • Avatar toiago toiago says:

      This is exactly what happened on Game 5, and Doc didn’t learn from it for today. Will he have learned this time around? This very question will define the fate of Game 7.

  • Avatar Mario Molina says:

    Wow. Just wow. We went cold for like 10 plays on offense. Not sure what to make of this. We just don’t have the right coaching to call set plays to get us buckets when we go cold. Not even sure if I can watch game 7. 2 back to back games of blown 16 point leads. So frustrated. Not sure what else to say?

  • Avatar Jonathan Eng says:

    I hate Doc so much

  • Avatar Eshaan K says:

    Love this team making me cry after every 3rd quarter and despite having the stars go for 33 and 25 can’t muster anything over 100 points. I love this team having so much depth but not using any of it to play someone who is clearly ineffective in the series. Love this team being able to get up 19 and only score 34 points in the second half. Love this team defense where we allow 16 free throws in a quarter. I LOVE THIS TEAM

  • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

    Why tf does that idiot coach keep putting Trez in? Whenever Trez is on the floor, they’re losing. Why tf does nobody on the organization notice this problem? Why tf does nobody on the organization tell this fact to that idiot coach?

    • Avatar Clipperfernald says:

      It’s absurd that Doc continuously harps on defense: “Our defense dictates our offense” yet at the same time continuously trots Trez out there who hasn’t played one shred of passable defense since he’s been in the bubble. Doc if defense is so important to you then why do you keep playing Montrezl???

    • Avatar wwshep says:

      Good question… Ballmer is fucked.

      Kawhi and PG gonna walk after next year when they realize it’s ain’t gonna work and then we have zero draft picks for the next decade…

      All because of DOC FUKCING RIVERS and his undying Trez love.

      I despise what he has done to this franchise and it’s fans. If Ballmer has half a brain he fires Doc and pays massive $$$$$ (money is no object) to get a REAL NBA COACH like Spolestra to come to the Clippers. Otherwise all his big investments in this team and new new stadium were wastes of money.

  • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

    Someone seriously should ask that idiot coach why he doesn’t use Patterson or Noah when Trez who isn’t even interested in playing defense keeps getting destroyed and the team is blowing huge lead.

  • Avatar Alan Ng says:

    Rivers is no different than Vinny Del Negro other than skin color.

    Trez should’ve just stayed away out of the bubble.

    • Avatar Eshaan K says:

      man that’s accurate to a t

    • Avatar Based Freestyle says:

      There’s one key difference between Vinny and Doc. Vinny was actually held accountable for underachieving in the playoffs. Doc makes a bunch of pathetic excuses every single time and it always works for him.

  • Avatar wwshep says:

    We ain’t playing the Lakers LOL!!!… 0% chance we win Game 7. ZERO! Unless Trez leaves the bubble we’re going down Game 7.

  • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

    >Doc Rivers on Montrezl Harrell’s minutes tonight: “If you go by plus-minus, I don’t think either of our 5s were effective tonight.”

    LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
    This idiot really thinks Trez is not the problem lol Man, it’s unbelievable…

    • Avatar toiago toiago says:

      By now Doc should have a shortened, dependable rotation of 7, maybe 8 guys. If you have the starting 5 of Pat Bev, PG, Kawhi, Morris and Zubac, there’s 3 spots left, maximum. It seems fairly obvious that two of the other ones should be Lou (even despite his horrid shooting) and JaMychal Green (who is extremely underrated, even more so by Doc himself). The other guy should probably be Shamet. And that’s the end of it.

      The insistence on playing Harrell is purely delusional. Can it be that he somehow he believes, or feels that they will advance and is preparing Harrell for the next round against the Lakers? We have to admit that his team has a certain arrogance to them, that they feel entitled to win, and it shows with these weak second halves and the lack of effort when things don’t go their way. Honestly it’s hard to expect Doc to change his approach at this point . Maybe it should be Ty Lue coaching them on Game 7.

      • Avatar Clipperfernald says:

        It’s Lob City demeanor all over again. I want last years underdog mentality back!! I thought Lou and pat and Trez would keep that mentality going for the whole team but I’m not sure they’re the loudest voices anymore

    • Avatar chogokin says:

      Does Trez have incriminating pics of Doc? I don’t understand the fixation on him by Doc. At least w/ Paul Pierce you could say he won him a ring – Trez on the other hand looks like he’s about to win the Lakers one.

    • Avatar Thretch says:

      Um, one guy was +11, the other was -15. Yeah … I can’t really see a difference there.

      • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

        yes this completely proved that Doc doesn’t even check those numbers. He just yells at players like “Play hard!”, “DEEEEFENSE!!”. Laughable.

  • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

    Hey guys!! Did you see that!?

    https://twitter.com/TomerAzarly/status/1305237955355709440
    Doc Rivers on my question regarding lineup data – “We do it all. I’ve got one thousand coaches, 5 analytical guys. I don’t think there’s anything we don’t see.”

    …then why you keep ignoring the fact that the team is losing whenever Trez is on the floor. C’mon!!!

  • Avatar wwshep says:

    So might as well start talking about the offseason…

    2 things need to happen…

    #1 I NEVER EVER EVER want to see Trez in a Clipper uniform again.

    #2 Fire Doc. Any decent head coaches available out there?

  • Avatar Javi DG says:

    Not helping us for sure Pat being fouled out with almost all the fourth quarter remaining. Anyway, considering the morale boost we gave the Nuggs with the loss on the 5th, the worst we as a team could afford to do today was fueling even more their confidence, and guess what? Of course, we did. I’d rather lose this one tightly but with the Nuggets dominating all over the game than, again, blow up a 16p lead and help them build more trust in reaching the West finals. Game 7 will be highly disputed but I still trust Kawhi leading the way and changing our history.

  • Avatar wwshep says:

    And if anyone is dumb enough to think we have any chance to win Game 7. Just think all Denver has to do is attach Zu early and get him into foul trouble and then Doc bring in Trez early and it’s GAME OVER. Not sure why we even bothered to sign Noah it we weren’t going to use him.

  • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

    If that idiot had used Noah, this series would’ve already be over.

  • Darius Miles Forever Darius Miles Forever says:

    >Doc Rivers on the Clippers’ mindset right now after blowing double-digit leads in Games 5 and 6: “I don’t know what it is right now, but it’ll be good by Game 7.”

    This idiot is planning to do the literally same thing AGAIN!! lmao

    • Avatar toiago toiago says:

      Yeah, his attitude towards this is too nonchalant. There’s still a chance, but it’s gonna be really hard to overcome these hard-nosed Nuggets.

  • Avatar Labis says:

    – Trez needs to sit
    – Docs coaching seems lazy. Instead of implementing sets to give his stars open/easy shots he relies on them playing iso ball reminiscent of the Joe Johnson Hawks (guess how much they won)
    – We lack true shooters. Man guys can make a three but but other than
    Shamet (look at the shots Miami is getting guys like Herro/Robinson etc) we dont have knockdown shooters