Instead, the Clippers are STILL trying to find ways to make excuses for the historic comeback the Rockets made at their expense.
The last NBA team to win three straight games to close out a Conference Semifinals on the brink of elimination was the Heat, coming back to beat the Knicks in 1997. The Rockets were the last team in the West to do it during their second championship run in 1995, beating the Suns (Thanks again, Mario Elie).
Grantland's Zach Lowe wrote his weekly column about the Clippers on Tuesday, and the mood out of Clippers camp was: Hey, we are almost championship contenders, if only we really focused during the Rockets series we would have crushed them!
Am I the only person that thinks this sounds a little like that kid who just got knocked out on the playground after talking large amounts of trash.... I only got knocked out cause I wasn't paying attention, duh next time I'll be ready.
In the words of former NFL receiver Chad
Johnson Ochocinco Johnson "child please!"
"In basketball you always you take your opponent seriously," Corey Brewer told me before the Rockets took on the Mavericks. "They say they didn't take it seriously. I'm happy they didn't, we were able to win the series and go to the western conference finals."
"They knew what they had to do when they got that third game, and that was to finish the series," Terrence Jones said. When asked if he thought the Clippers were on guard about the Rockets, he said "It wasn't off guard about what they needed to do. We came out and took care off business more to make sure our season didn't end."
In the end the, like all season long when the Rockets' backs were against the wall, they found a way to get it done.
"I think we took a stronger togetherness and focus to make sure we took care of each game, one at a time," Jones said.
But alas, the Clippers seriously believe: if only.....
"San Antonio got our full attention," Doc Rivers told Lowe. "The Rockets, for whatever reason, didn’t."
That's not out of context either. Essentially, the Clippers are saying... Damn, if only we took the Rockets seriously we would have been in the West Finals.
"We weren’t on guard against Houston," Jamal Crawford told Lowe. "We never thought we could lose three in a row to them."
I call malarkey! I'd use different words, but I don't think Ethan approves. (Ed. Note: I call bullshit on that)
Seriously though, could the Clippers have lost to the Rockets because the Rockets were a better team top to bottom? The Rockets had the best player on the floor, MVP runner-up James Harden, they also had a Dwight Howard who was in beast mode and they were able to go nine players deep. The Clippers arguably had a better 1-2-3 in Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan, but really, after Jamal Crawford they had no one else.
Could the Clippers have lost because the Rockets just wanted it more? This one is impossible to quantify, but there just seemed to be a look in their eyes. The team that had not lost three in a row all year wasn't going to down without a fight and end the season on their first three-game losing streak.
Regardless if the Clippers took the Rockets for real or not, the Rockets did, and they advanced.
The Clippers had three chances to get one game, THREE CHANCES TO GET ONE GAME. The Rockets just wanted it more plain and simple, they went to Los Angeles in game six and scored 40 fourth quarter points to come from behind and beat the Clippers.
"Once we got that one (game six)," Brewer said "we were home, one game, we could win the one game,"
The deeper team, the better team, the team who wanted it more, went out and extended their season another series. The Clippers did not. The Clippers have no one to blame but themselves.