If Clippers Lose Will There Be A Big Shakeup?

Sports Editor

As this paper goes to press the Clippers have lost Game 5 and have to win Games 6 and 7 to avoid elimination from the NBA playoffs. The Utah Jazz, who didn’t make the playoffs in recent years, have steadily improved and are a worthy first round opponent The teams both won 51 games in the regular season so their close battles now should not come as a surprise. My conclusion is that they both should be congratulated for being better than all Western Conference teams except the top three, Golden State, San Antonio and Houston.

But I’m not the guy running the Clippers. Steve Ballmer is and we don’t know how he’ll react if the Clippers are quickly eliminated. He spent a couple of billion to buy the Clippers. He sits in full view of fans and becomes a cheerleader game after game instead if hiding in a luxury suite. But how will he react to another in a series of early round playoff defeats? We don’t know. There are a lot of important decisions to be made. Blake Griffin is injured again, just like last season in the playoffs. He’s a free agent, He could stay or the Clippers might encourage him to go. Chris Paul is also a free agent and I can’t imagine the Clippers letting him go. But that’s just me.

J.J. Redick is a free agent and he’d get a lot of neat offers if he tests the market. The Clippers need to keep him happy. I don’t want to write the next paragraph because it’s ridiculous. But I do hear rumors that doc Rivers could be replaced since he’s coached the Clippers for five years without getting the team to the Western Conference playoff finals. Hey. Stop right there. He’s got an NBA championship with Boston on his resume and he’s brought respect to the Clippers, who had staggered with coaches under the prior administration. When Ballmer bought the Clippers he added five years to the contract Rivers had, increasing the total to 10. The Clippers got little offense from their reserves in the Game 5 loss. The subs must do better if the Clippers hope to win the series.

Maurice Speights, starting in place of Griffin, scored only one point. Austin Rivers, returning after missing a month with an injury, didn’t score at all. Now the Clippers need a road win followed by a home win at Staples Center Sunday. If they win those games they’d qualify for a series against the heavily favored Golden State Warriors. Winning that series would allow Ballmer to relax. And would allow me to find some other topic for my writing.


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