Clippers Notes: Game 7 Loss, Next Steps, Kawhi, George

The Clippers blew double-digit leads in each of their last three games against Denver, losing the series and missing out on a date with the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Having failed to advance after taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the series, the team was left searching for answers on Tuesday night.

As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN details, head coach Doc Rivers accepted blame for the club’s shortcomings and suggested that conditioning issues played a part in the Clippers’ inability to put Denver away. However, Lou Williams and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard pointed to chemistry issues as they looked to explain the club’s disappointing postseason run.

“I think a lot of the issues that we ran into, talent bailed us out. Chemistry it didn’t,” Williams said. “In this series, it failed us.”

“We just couldn’t make shots,” Leonard said. “That’s when it comes to the team chemistry, knowing what we should run to get the ball in spots or just if someone’s getting doubled or they’re packing the paint, try to make other guys make shots, and we gotta know what exact spots we need to be. And you know, just gotta carry over and get smarter as a team. Get smarter. Basketball IQ got to get better.”

Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising comment of the night came from Paul George, whom the Clippers acquired last summer in a deal that cost the team Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, five first-round picks, and two first-round pick swaps.

I think internally, we always felt this was not a championship-or-bust year for us,” George said, per Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Clippers:

  • The Clippers are now very much on the clock, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who points out that Leonard and George can opt for free agency in 2021. Rival executives don’t expect the Clips to make major changes, but they could make a trade to bring in more talent if they’re willing to take on some long-term money, writes Windhorst.
  • One rival executive suggested to Windhorst that the Clippers are essentially pot-committed to their win-now approach, meaning it doesn’t make sense for them to back off now by significantly shaking up the roster. “You’ve heard of the saying, ‘In for a dime, in for a dollar’?” the exec said. “Well, they’re in for 95 cents, in for a dollar.”
  • Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer and ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) also explored what’s next for the Clippers. As Marks points out, one of the first orders of business for the team will be figuring out which of its major free agents – Montrezl Harrell, Marcus Morris, and JaMychal Green – can and should be re-signed. Harrell and Morris are unrestricted free agents, while Green has a $5MM player option that he may turn down.
  • Marks also notes that the Clips could offer a George a contract extension worth up to $128.9MM over three years, if they so choose. George would be 32 years old before that extension begins in 2022 though, so it’s not clear how aggressive L.A. will be on that front.
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66 thoughts on “Clippers Notes: Game 7 Loss, Next Steps, Kawhi, George

  1. natsfan3437

    Replace Pat Bev with a healthier option, Replace Harrell with Nerlens Noel, Sign a 4/5 wing combo, Sign another shooter (unless that is under the Pat Bev replacement category).

  2. C-Daddy

    It’s pretty clear now that the Raptors needed Kawhi, but also that Kawhi needed the Raptors.

      • jasonbourne23

        A bit? That’s like saying he should be spokesman for the Clippers because of his statement.

    • Kawhi made a life decision, not a basketball decision, going home to LA. The Raps have a supporting class so strong, they went just as far as the Clips. Would be a great story if he went back to TO after the next season, whenever that may be.

      • sovietcanuckistanian

        as a raps’ fan, I agree. I am not bitter about him playing at home (disappointed? sure. he made the team better, can’t lie, Danny Green helped space the floor a little too). I would like him to come back in a couple years – especially if they don’t get Giannis. also. isn’t one of Kawhi’s (only?) kids canadian too?

  3. It’s not that shocking to see this team fall short. Harrell is probably priced himself out and they should let him walk. It’s clear they need a defensive big. They didn’t have an answer for Jokic and they weren’t making past the Lakers size if they advanced

  4. imindless

    Okay so we can see kawhi impact on a team. Last year clippers made it to playoffs with pretty much same roster and took gsw to 6. This year without kawhi raptors fell in 7 to celtics in second round. So kawhi is worth about 1 round of basketball had he have been on raptors they are moving on to face heat and most likely finals. Raptors are much more talented than we thought.

  5. nutznboltz

    Get rid of Rivers. He’s the most overrated coach in pro sports in my opinion.

    • Sillivan

      Danny Ainge said Doc Rivers is the best coach in the nba

      I feel that he is about an average coach

      I predict that Rivers and Donovan will be part ways one month ago

      • x%sure

        Silli use the right tense: “predicted”. Try to find a style that includes sourcing, so that you’re believable. You seem to read a lot.

        Doc Rivers is all about the individual, like Ainge was as a player. Rivers does not get the team concept, and bringing individuals together is kind of the HC’s main job.

    • I’ve been saying that for three years. I hope Jerry West is in Steve ballmer’s ear. Doc Rivers did nothing in Orlando, was handed a championship team in Boston and one only one ring, then he was handed another championship team in La couldn’t get out of the second round LOL. He’s had more than enough chances.. if they don’t fire him would be a huge mistake. Their offense is three guys waiting on one side and two guys pick-and-roll and one-on-one. They don’t even have any plays. If you watch Miami and Boston that’s how coaches run a team.

  6. The core needs more time together, not new components. The starting group is good, and can be great. The organization (and their HC) should rethink the role and function of their bench. A second starter level group is great, but maybe not the best way to maximize talent with a two superstar team.

    • Lakers1

      The core needs more time together.. From last years team, the clippers kept 9 players.. They added, kawhi, PG, Morris , Noah, and reggie jackson.. The majority of the team has played together.. The lakers holdovers from last year are Lebron, Caruso, Mcgee, Rondo, Pope and Kuzma.. Lakers totally turned there roster over but don’t have the same excuses the clippers have.. Lakers have the #1 seed in western conference and are in WCF.. So i don’t want to hear about they need more time to gel.

      • LOL. Get earplugs. Every team is different. The Lakers aren’t relevant to what the Clips’ issues are/were, or what they should do going forward.

        I said for awhile (before the bubble and after) that the Lakers did a much better job than the Clips in integrating new players into their roster. Though, in fairness, they were integrating one new star, and he doesn’t facilitate the offense. Still, bad job by Rivers. Good one by Vogel. But that doesn’t change what the Clips need to do from here (which is all that’s being discussed).

        • Lakers1

          That’s an excuse.. lakers added 9 new players too roster.. lakers are also playing without their top perimeter defender in bubble Avery Bradley.. kawhi isn’t the best player.. he had the luxury of having a stacked raptors team playing vs a severely injured warriors team.. that same team that went 7 games vs celtics and got #2 seed in East.. he also had Duncan, Ginobli and parker in San Antonio.. hes not a killer and he’s certainly not a leader as the #1 option..clippers probably should’ve kept sga rather than trading him.. more importantly, lakers have a better coach.. rivers is trash

          • El Don

            @Lakers1 couldn’t agree more with you… Kawhi is a bit overrated, not a killer that’s for sure!

            • Don are you kidding me? You’re going to forget last year just like that because someone can’t coach an All Star roster? Did you see the plays or non plays that Doc Rivers throws out there? He should be fired after all these chances he’s had. Kawhi Leonard is still the man but someone needs to tell the other four guys what to do as well.

  7. jump shot

    I said last year, the Raptors carried Kawhi in the playoffs – especially the Finals, instead if vice versa. They had a couple other guys who actually coulda been Finals MVP.
    Great player. But, imo, 99.9% of the time, if you’re gonna win a championship, your best player can’t be your quietest player.

    • El Don

      Why people keep thinkin’ Kawhi is so great?
      Shouldn’t he be held accountable for his teams failures?
      I mean if a team with LBJ had flopped & been schooled like LAC… haters would never stop ranting about him, but with Kawhi you never hear much of his continual failures!

      • I’ll take Kawhi Leonard today, any day of the week over any player in the universe you can name. End of story.

        • jump shot

          You can take him, Gary… he’s available – he’s not busy doin anything else. lol
          Great player. Imo, a complimentary player. A “two”. What he was in San Antonio and what he was while being carried in the Finals last season. Sure, it counted, but if his shot that bounced 5 times and went in vs the Sixers DIDNT go in, we wouldn’t even be talkin about him in this thread today. Again, I think he’s a great player, I just don’t think he’s a guy who’s back you can jump on and he’ll take you there. He’ll go WITH you and be great, but I don’t think he’ll lead you.

          • Yeah I think you’re right but I just would take him first anyway because of his two-way ability and his shot-making ability and I think he gives 150%. He’s not an alpha dog but I would still take him number one. Then your leader can be your number one guy who is great at leading an offense or great at verbalizing encouragement Etc. That guy can be your Alpha Dog number one guy. Even a Chris Paul type or Draymond Green type or Marcus Smart type. But yeah you’re totally right.

  8. Playoffs is all about match ups. Nuggets are a tough to team to match up against. Their center can dominate. He is such a great passer it makes them so much better. Nuggets will need 1 more player to step up big against the Lakers. Lakers have a tall team so they match up better.

    • x%sure

      They’ve been missing Barton; they just overcame it. Twice!
      MPorter could be ‘unleashed’. He claimed earlier he was suppressed.

      • Lakers have some flaws that can be exploited. Houston was obviously to small to beat them. Now they play a team with a solid center. go nugs.

        • Lakers1

          When lakers were struggling in the bubble, still beat the nuggets..lakers in 5.. nuggets can’t stop lebron or ad.. zubac isnt ad.. good luck Jokic vs Ad.. ad will lock him up

  9. C-Daddy

    Also, why is Doc Rivers considered an “elite” coach? He’s never won anything of consequence other than the 2008 Finals when he had three future HOFs on his team. He’s something like 14-27 in playoff elimination games in his career and the only coach to blow multiple 3-1 playoffs series leads.

  10. Afk711

    HAHAHAH the Clippers propaganda we saw all seasons comes crashing down. Do those people still think the Clippers are a “deeper team” than the Lakers now?? I was told all season the Clippers were built for the playoffs with that roster and the Lakers were built for Hollywood. Enjoy watching the Lakers win chip 17.

    • Dxit90a

      Let see how lakers deal with Denver first . Next year clippers will be better than the Lakers . More time to mesh . I believe Denver will push the Lakers to the limit .

      • Lakers and clippers both went into this year with pretty much new teams respectively. So to say the clippers need more time to mesh is laughable. Lakers had the same amount of time and look how they’re playing. Only way clippers are better than the lakers next year is if they fire rivers

        • Lakers1

          agree 100.. in fact, From last years team, the clippers kept 9 players.. They added, kawhi, PG, Morris , Noah, and reggie jackson.. The majority of the team has played together.. The lakers holdovers from last year are Lebron, Caruso, Mcgee, Rondo, Pope and Kuzma.. Lakers totally turned there roster over but don’t have the same excuses the clippers have.. Lakers have the #1 seed in western conference and are in WCF.. So i don’t want to hear about they need more time to gel.

      • Afk711

        I love it. Clippers flop and now the bad takes are doubling down “it was a building year, next year they will come out better”. Please. As long as AD comes back the Lakers will always be better than the Clippers. Its a star driven league and the Lakers big 2 is so much better than the Clippers stars. As for the “depth” argument the Lakers role players showed so much more than the Floppers this playoffs. Playoff Rondo on the league minimum is much better than Beverly in crunch time. Lakers have the better Morris twin and didn’t have to trade a first rounder and former lottery pick to get him. Kuzma, KCP and Green showed so much more heart than Low Will, Harrell and whatever disappointing Clippers you want to name.

      • Lakers1

        lakers in the bubble are also missing there best perimeter defender avery bradley .. Lakers match up well with nuggets.. They have size.. Jokic wasn’t playing against a player the caliber of AD.. Offensively AD will get his but AD on defense will be where jokic wilts..

  11. x%sure

    Woj talks about getting more talent, but as LouW said,
    “… talent bailed us out. Chemistry it didn’t… In this series, it failed us.”

  12. GoLandCrabs

    Anyone who thinks LeBron is not the best player in the sport needs their head examined. Kawhi came up soft for the franchise he was supposed to save. Blowing a 3-1 lead is bad but being up by double digits in the last 3 games is an epic collapse. His buddy who he forced the Clippers to trade 5 first rounders 2 swaps and Shai/Gallo for Pandemic P George is worse than Westbrook and Harden in the playoffs. Clippers would have been 1000x better off not trading for George and bending down for Kawhi’s demands. Y’all really think Kawhi is humble cause he is silent. Dude is insane who drained the Clippers future for his buddy. Not even Lebron did that when he first walked in the door in LA. PG hasn’t shown up for a big game since the days Indy went to the conference final. Like I said the media was worried about the wrong LA team.

    • Dxit90a

      Mmm to early to gloat laker fans . Let’s see how the do against Denver. They are way better test than Portland ( especially with Dame injury ) and Houston . Lebron always destroyed franchises he left because he brought players that are veterans and just mesh with his basketball. Let’s see what happens on western finals I have a feeling Denver will win

      • x%sure

        You’re stretching. Lebron hasn’t played franchises that he left. He destroys in general.
        Players who come with him have not amounted to much. Dion Waiters, JRSmith. James Jones, Mike Miller.
        Anyway, Lakers not Lebron vs Denver.

      • GoLandCrabs

        Lebron has destroyed every franchise he has left by them having a ring in hand. You haters are comcial. You play the game to win championships. Oh please the Lakers will make quick work of Denver. Lakers are not the choke city Clippers or Jazz.

      • Lakers1

        You don’t know basketball. Lakers beat nuggets earlier in the bubble.. The difference, Lakers play defense.. Nuggets have size.. Clippers couldn’t defend that.. Clippers also don’t have 1-2 punch of Lebron and AD.. i’ll take Lebron and Ad all day over kawhi and pg..

    • x%sure

      Kawhi has issues. And those draft picks to get PG are unprotected! I suppose Ballmer thought he could always buy FAs as needed with his internationally known location.

  13. Sillivan

    Are Lakers better than Clippers now?
    To me it’s hard to tell at this moment

    • Lakers1

      Hard to tell? Lakers beat clippers last 2 times they played.. First 2 games were tied going into 4th quarter.. Lakers team had 10 new players from last years team.. Clippers brought in 5 new players from last years team.. Lakers have more new players but don’t need more time to play together like the clippers.. Clippers are and will always be trash.. Magic said it best, This is a Lakers town and will always be a Lakers town.. These Clipper bandwagon fans weren’t around when the clippers were playing in the sports arena. Comical..

  14. Reflect

    The problem is the coach. The same disappearing acts happen over and over and over under him, with 4 different rosters and 2 different teams.

    • Not sure why everybody is suddenly down on Kawhi Leonard. There’s Five Guys on the floor and seven on your bench. Coach needs to run plays or else a guy like Kawhi has to go one-on-one and carry his team. That’s not the kind of player he is. He’ll lock down the other team’s top guy, and he’ll be a beast for you and get you a bucket when you need one. But you’ve got to have plays LOL. Doc Rivers should be fired in the next 24 hours. I’m calling Jerry.

  15. goldenmisfit

    From the beginning of the season I said this team was overrated. From the beginning of the season I said load management will be there downfall. Here we are now Coach Rivers saying conditioning was an issue. As a Lakers fan not sorry to see them bounced but I will just say told you all.

    • jump shot

      I wasn’t sure they were overrated but I DID know with Doc as coach, they wouldn’t get any help from him.
      Not surprised at all where they are today.

      • Exactly. He should be on the first plane out of town. You know he’ll wind up somewhere like Philly or Chicago. He’ll get a job quickly.

  16. Chucktoad1

    First thing…the Clippers didn’t flop. Denver is a very good team. The WCF was within reach for them last year and I wouldn’t be surprised if they won it all this year.
    2nd the Heatles didn’t win it all the 1st year. Albeit in the finals instead of the semis they themselves lost to a team with very good chemistry who’s core had been together a few years that were ready to take the next step just as Denver is today.
    We will see how the off-season goes but there’s no reason to believe that the clippers won’t be contenders again next season.

    • Thronson5

      Yea they did flip! A team that talented shouldn’t lose 3 straight to Denver no matter how good they are and Denver didn’t do anything great in D to cause two of the best players to shoot that badly as PG and Kawhi did last night. That’s just straight up choking.

  17. Lakers1

    These bandwagon clipper fans are comical.. Where were you in the early 80s when benoit benjamin and michael cage were the top players?

  18. nutznboltz

    When The players say there is a problem with chemistry I’ve kind of have to put that on the coach because when they had Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Chris Paul there was a problem with chemistry too. So you have to ask yourself what’s the common denominator and it would be Doc Rivers.

  19. x%sure

    Paul George: “I think internally, we always felt this was not a championship-or-bust year for us.”

    Translation: GP looks at this edition as a transition year team. He assumes the ‘old’ Clips will leave or be traded to make room for the new. Who is the other in “we”?— Kawhi? Was that part of the pitch?
    He’s tellllliinng

    • The Human Rain Delay

      Funniest part about that is they will be losing the players that actually have some heart and soul in Harrell and Jamcheal Green- Lou probably leaves the year after for somewhere that has better crawfish avail……. 1 of or both PG or Kawahi opts out as well after next year……

      Only thing they got going is the Logo and Ballmer are elite grade in the upper managment realm…That does mean a lot I hate to say

      Im just so glad PG ghosted us (Lakers)- We really lucked out

  20. Simmons>Russ

    Clippers were going to fail.

    Harrell was u happy with the stars being treated differently. Lou Will was at the strippers he wasn’t locked in and focused. PG and Pat Bev were calling out Dame and for what reason ….
    Kawhi will be big mad cause he chose them over the Lakers and Toronto. If he was with other team right now he would’ve made the finals. Kawhi was also locked in focused and quiet not getting distracted and PG the second star was playing like trash.

    • El Don

      Kawhi ain’t that good, having said that he played great against DAL but he was at a much lower level against DEN, definitely not at a level to be the number 1 guy in a team making the WCF! Jokic was by far the best player in the series, then I might even get Murray ahead of Kawhi, at least he didn’t shrink… specially in game 7 Kawhi 6/22 Vs Murray 40pts, that is were stars are made!
      So to me if Kawhi is mad should start in home to himself before anyone else!

  21. KnickerbockerAl

    This is a 2way sport and team gm. Stop with the fan idols. Denver took it to them. They blew them out. Clippers who I was rooting for. Didn’t show up. How do you let a team come back from 3-1. When 1 win gets you in west Finals. Were you never been. Clippers were overconfident. And Nuggets used that to their advantage. Jazz are not the Clippers and they had Denver down 3-1 without one of their starters. It’s like Denver stood up to the bully. And the bully couldn’t do shoot. This was a bad loss. Denver’s D was not great. PG n Kawhi both shot bad. No one else stepped up. Only Montrezl did maybe Beverley. Then they could not stop Jokic or Murray. Rivers deserves blame too. You can’t get your life kicked out of you. In a gm 7. Because you didn’t show up. This was a team failure. And Denver totally stepping up. If Denver is for real. And this wasn’t as much a Clipper failure. Then they should go 7 with a Lakers. Clippers were built to beat Lakers. They had four capable guys for Bron. Not to stop him. But to contain him. Unfortunately they forgot you had to get to Bron. To beat him. This is a bad loss. A Real contender. Does not let a team come back. From down 3-1. I get they lost. But getting your life kicked out you. I can’t believe that.
    Kawhi – 14 pts, 27% FG
    PG – 10 pts, 25% FG
    Lou – 7 pts, 27% FG
    Jackson – 4 mins, 0 pts
    Morris – 7 pts, 22% FG
    Clippers took 90 shots. Nuggets took 77 shots. And they won by 15 points (104 – 89). In a gm 7

    • x%sure

      Clips had so much talent they got in their own way, and Rivers may have enjoyed some of the dysfunction, calling it spark. They have the opposers for James and Denver doesn’t, but they were falling apart.

  22. hoosierhysteria

    KL will regret teaming with choker George. Keep Harrell…let Morris go. Clips were worse after he came. Chemistry issues…start with Morris. Clippers were beat when KL wanted to stop play and go home.

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