The star-laden and title-hunting Los Angeles Clippers opened the second half of their Sunday afternoon game against the Dallas Mavericks with a 10-0 surge, led by superstar Paul George’s steady playmaking. The Clippers, playing without Kawhi Leonard after his mouth was smashed up by teammate Serge Ibaka in Friday’s win over the Nuggets, used this impressive run to close the margin to [checks notes] ah, it says here 40 points? No, that simply cannot be right.
Yikes. Well, an NBA team playing without its best player would be expected to struggle mightily on the road against another playoff-grade NBA team playing at full strength. And the Mavericks [checks notes again]—excuse me, it says here the Mavericks are playing without Kristaps Porzingis? And that in fact the Clippers are at home? Is someone double-checking these notes?
Well, if Magic Johnson says it’s real, it quite simply must be so. The third-quarter surge would not last, and the Clippers went on to lose 124-73. Looking good.
It would be soothing to say, here, that every team has a bad night and it happens to the best of them, but it would also be false, as it has never happened before, not even to the very worst of them. The Clippers dumped longtime head coach Doc Rivers and allowed several solid rotation players—Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet, JaMychal Green, Moe Harkless—to depart in free agency after flaming out embarrassingly in the bubble playoffs. This was done to fix their spectacularly rotten internal chemistry! Luckily, these revamped Clippers have cleared the air, emerging stronger and ready to take leadership in troubled times:
Imagine how badly they would’ve lost to the hobbled and visiting and winless Dallas Mavericks if, ah, they’d kept the winningest coach in team history and those several good and useful players. It boggles the mind.