Culver City Observer -

OH, NO, Clippers Get Ambushed By Sacramento

Sports Editor


March 30, 2017

Outscored 22-3 At The finish They Search For Answers

After the Clippers lost an 18-point lead in the final five minutes at Staples Center Sunday Coach Doc Rivers was asked the obvious question. “What happened and why?”He didn’ t flinch from the question. He didn’ t blame his players. He tried to explain. “I always look at myself first,” he said. “I wasn’ t happy from early in the fourth quarter. We led

by 15 and I’ m looking for it to become 25. But that didn’ t happen.”The questions continued. Was it hard for players who’ d been removed when victory seemed assured to perform well when they re-entered the game in the final five minutes? “It’ s hard mentally for them to go back in,” said Rivers. “I didn’ t want to put them back in. I hoped our second unit could finish the game.”Afterward Blake Griffin and Chris Paul seemed stunned as they answered questions. ‘ We sort of messed with the game and Sacramento got it going,” said Paul. “It was a bad loss.”When it was time for Griffin to respond he took time to gather his thoughts. “We’ re supposed to be ready whenever we play,” he said. Pausing for a moment he added “this was our worst loss.”

It always seems to be something for the Clippers. Thet lost a playoff series to Houston a few years ago after taking a 3-1 lead. They lost to Portland in the first round last season when Griffin and Paul were sidelined by injuries. And now this. They were outscored 22-3 in the final five minutes. These collapses block out the reality that the Clippers have won at least 50 games each of the last five seasons. It’ s also easy to forget that they started this season by going 14-2. So what happens next? Do they regain their winning form to make a run in this season’ s playoffs? Or do they add another chapter to their list of lost opportunities? The Clippers are in a close battle for a high playoff seeding. The Sacramento Kings are out of playoff contention. Yet the Kings had a lot

more energy down the stretch, outscoring the Clippers 22-3 to win 98-97. The Clippers have become unhappy with a lot of 12:30 gametimes and owner Steve Ballmer has entertained the thought of building an arena in Inglewood in the 2024 season when the team’ s Staples Center lease expires. The Clippers played at 12:30 two straight days, beating Utah Saturday before falling to Sacramento the next day. Rivers didn’ t blame the loss on the 12:30 start but the schedule remains a sore spot because the Lakers and hockey Kings, who were tenants before the Clippers arrived, get to choose playing times first and second.


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