Defining Moments......The Los Angeles Clippers

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Sunday, May 11, 2014 with No comments
The Final Chapter has yet to be written.......

There are times when a victory can change the course of a series in the NBA Playoffs and today was no exception but ironically the same can be said of a defeat.  The Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers engaged in a battle that will likely be remembered in the annals of time as one of the most significant playoff games in the history of the respective franchises.  The Thunder were 12 minutes, 720 seconds from escaping Los Angeles with a 3-1 series lead and a 90% chance of moving to the NBA's Western Conference Finals.  The Clippers and more so Chris Paul were 12 minutes, 720 seconds away from once again questioning one's place in the NBA after potentially preparing to suffer another second round loss and then it happened.

It was run that has been orchestrated in the past by the likes of the Thunder and the two time defending NBA Champion Miami Heat but the scoring outburst this time belonged to the Clippers and it came at the expense of one of the NBA's best defenses.  While on cruise control and at one point leading by 22 points in the first half, the Thunder was then outscored 38-24 in the 4th quarter by a resurgent Clippers team that was as close to being run out of their home arena as a franchise could be.  The plight of the Clippers has been well documented over the last 2 plus weeks and as the NBA world along with the real world were caught up with the salacious details, the players of the Clippers were united in a way that's greater than sports and entertainment, young men on a quest not only to win an NBA Championship but to also prove that they belong in a world that continues to shun them, disrespect them and treat them as the hired help.

The Thunder stood united behind the media's "MVP" in Kevin Durant, the "best basketball player" in the NBA.  It was a time where the eye test trumps the analytics of those who try to appear smarter than they are.  40 points on 50% shooting from the field, all the while converting 15 of 18 free throws should equate to a win for Durant and the Thunder but sadly that wasn't the case.  What was't visible in the numbers of the world of analytics is how the media's "MVP" failed to convert in the closing moments of the game.  Durant, standing at 6'10 seemed ineffective as the 6 foot Chris Paul crowded his airspace.  99.9 percent of the time 6'10 trumps 6 foot but when it mattered the most, Oklahoma City's Mr. Unreliable proved to be just that as he was pestered and bamboozled by the suffocating defense of the diminutive Paul.  As the war of attrition came to a close, a mini duel erupted between former UCLA teammates Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison.  Fueled by a three point shot by the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford to put the Clippers ahead for the first time in the game, Collison would have the last laugh as he scored the Clippers last 4 points on layups.

12 minutes, 720 seconds away from almost guaranteeing a spot in the Western Conference Finals to now having given birth to a franchise that's hungry for more than an NBA Championship.  Giving that team life is a colossal mistake on the part of the Thunder and the media's "MVP".  Due to allowing the Los Angeles Clippers to become only the 10th team in the shot clock era to win a playoff game after trailing by 17 plus points after one quarter of play, the Oklahoma City Thunder has opened the pandora's box of a city, a nation that will support this team as they not only fight for the right to win the champion but also to prove that yes they do belong against the will of those who continually try to oppress them.  Championship teams don't blow leads, championship teams come back from seemingly impossible leads.  The Oklahoma City Thunder has welcomed the Los Angeles Clippers to have their first of many defining moments.

The Final Chapter has begun........