JR SportBrief: The Clippers Choked In Game 7

The Clippers squandered a 3-1 series lead against the Nuggets, which is simply the latest example of the franchise "being an embarrassment," JR SportBrief says

JRSportBrief
September 16, 2020 - 7:40 am
Clippers Paul George

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The Denver Nuggets made NBA history Tuesday night, becoming the first team to come back from a 3-1 series deficit twice in one postseason. Indeed, the Nuggets beat the Clippers 104-89 in Game 7, as Jamal Murray scored a game-high 40 points.

The Clippers, meanwhile, lost their third straight close-out game – and now their season is over.

“This is an embarrassment for the Clippers,” JR SportBrief said on CBS Sports Radio. “If I’m Steve Ballmer, one of the richest people on earth, he has spared no expense in making this team competitive. These aren’t the Clippers that people ignore. The fact that we’re talking about them right now lets you know that they’ve moved up a space. But then you spend all that money and still don’t get over the hump?”

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 24 points on 10-of-38 (.263) shooting in Game 7, including 4-of-18 (.222) from three-point range. It was the eighth Game 7 loss of Doc Rivers’ coaching career.

“They choked,” JR said. “That’s what Doc Rivers can’t or will not say publicly because it’s not a good look for the head coach to say it. But I can say it. I’m not on the Clippers’ payroll. They choked. They stunk. The Nuggets came back from 3-1 to send them home. For them to be an embarrassment, to get ridiculed online by other NBA players, by me – I chose the Clippers. I picked them to win this series. I picked the Clippers months ago to, at minimum, go to the Western Conference Finals. And I know we did have a stoppage in March. Here we are. I was wrong. Not the first time, not gonna be the last. 

“But for the Clippers, this just continues a long line of being an embarrassment,” JR continued. “What do you do next season to rectify the situation? I have no idea. Maybe the Clippers can acquire a big man who can help stretch the floor from a shooting perspective. Maybe they get another shooter to go along with Lou Williams, another scorer.”

Williams also struggled in Game 7, scoring seven points on 3-of-11 shooting. Montrezl Harrell kept the Clippers in the game with 20 points off the bench, but Los Angeles didn’t get enough from its star players.

The Clippers didn’t have any answers for Murray – or Nikola Jokic, who finished with 16 points, 22 rebounds, 13 assists and three blocks.

“Paul George, he is going to receive a lot of the blame, and it’s well-deserved,” JR said. “He played poorly. Kawhi Leonard has carried the team. He didn’t play well tonight, but Paul George hasn’t been the best friend or the best sidekick to help him out. I know he’s had issues focusing in the bubble.”

The Nuggets, who last reached the conference finals in 2009, play the Lakers in Game 1 on Friday. Tip-off is slated for 9 p.m. ET.