After navigating the NBA well for decades, the Los Angeles Clippers have achieved some stability and results in the last ten years in two distinct stages. Before the emergence of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in 2019, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan led the ‘Lob City’ that installed the team assiduously in the playoffs.
Despite chaining five consecutive seasons surpassing 50 victories and generating great expectations, those Clippers were not able to overcome the Conference Semifinals. A barrier that, finally, they broke this past year when reaching the Conference Finals.
Griffin, once one of the main faces of the franchise, recalled that stage in his career with his former partner JJ Redick on the podcast The Old Man and the Three. Both players opened up about the reasons that caused that team never to be able to meet expectations despite having all the ingredients to achieve success.
The current Brooklyn Nets player remembered the 2015 playoffs as the Clippers’ best chance to record his name in NBA history books. “2015 was just a complete mental breakdown,” the six-time All-Star noted. “I don’t think egos are the reason we lost in the playoffs that year. Nor the year before against Oklahoma City. Egos didn’t make us lose those seasons. “
Clippers fans will never forget the 2015 Conference Semifinals, when the team not only blew a 3-1 in favor against the Houston Rockets, but also squandered a huge lead in Game 6, in which they would be outscored by a 15-40 partial in the fourth quarter. This breakdown increased the number of rumors that suggested chemistry problems and a bad locker room environment. However, Griffin insists that it all came down to lack of mental toughness.
“I tell people this every time they ask me about the Clippers,” the player continued. “Our two chances to win the championship were in those two years. Then the Warriors and LeBron took it all. “
The era of Lob City it is a thing of the past. And while they haven’t been able to confirm their potential as a team, they represented the first truly successful era in Clippers history.
(Cover photo by Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)