They've shown uncanny ability to thrive when presumably left for dead; when their veteran leader Chauncey Billups was lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon; when they lost 12 of 19 games between late February and early March; when locker-room toil had allegedly wedged the team apart; when superstar Blake Griffin took sinister hit after sinister hit from opponents; or when small forward Caron Butler fractured his left hand.
The Clippers waded their way through it all, so why not Game 7 on the road?
They know the score: 3-3. They know the odds: nearly 81% of all home teams win the winner-take-all game.
This year's group has won in places of past futility: Denver (nine-straight losses), Utah (16-straight losses), and San Antonio (18-straight losses).
There were Mo Williams and Chris Paul draining shot after shot to topple the Spurs in the Alamo City for the first time since 2002. They beat the Thunder in Oklahoma City and did it again a week later at Staples Center, holding the West's No. 2 seed to 25 points in the second half.
In fact, they went 4-1 against Lebron James and Kevin Durant, the top two finishers in the NBA's Most Valuable Player race.
So, why not Game 7 in the place that vociferously booed an injured Griffin five days ago?
With Griffin, nursing a sprained left knee, tossing his body around like Game 5. With Butler making plays like he did Friday, driving baseline using his broken left hand, taped and padded, to throw down a dunk in traffic. It's not like they haven't stared down adversity before.
It's likely what makes Paul's proclamation after their two-point loss in Game 6, so sagacious. “I'm not dead,” he said, drawing laughter from the audience but also reminding them that his strained right hip flexor, an injury that left him laboring through much of
Friday's game, should not yet be considered banishment to an early summer.
Paul's not dead and neither are the Clippers, battered but certainly not beaten. They've been through this before, seemingly all odds against them.
So why not do it one more time?
blog comments powered by Disqus