Chris Paul on Lob City Clippers: "We were never lucky"
The Lob City Clippers will forever be remembered for their incredibly fun regular season games, but underperforming playoff success. It seemed like every single year, something unfortunate would happen to the team.
Chris Paul looked back at his time with the Clippers in the Quibi documentary "Blackballed", and you could sense the sorrow in his voice.
Looking at every single year the Clippers were in the playoffs, there was always some kind of injury to one of their All-Star players. The only exception to that statement was in 2014, when Donald Sterling's racist comments were exposed.
Round 1: LAC def MEM 4-3
Round 2: SAS def LAC 4-0
Injuries: Blake Griffin sprained left knee, Chris Paul groin injury, Caron Butler broken hand
Notes: Even without the injuries, this didn't seem like a year the Clippers were prepared to go deep in the playoffs. It was their first year together, and the offense clearly wasn't there. There were some apparent holes in their game, like the free throw shooting of their bigs.
Round 1: MEM def LAC 4-2
Injuries: Blake Griffin suffers high ankle sprain. Plays limited minutes in games 5 & 6. Chauncey Billups coming off of an Achilles tear.
Notes: Once Blake Griffin went down, this series was over. The Clippers were up 2-0, and never capitalized. This could have been avoided if LA defeated Memphis before the Griffin injuries became an issue during game 5.
Round 1: LAC def GSW 4-3
Round 2: OKC def LAC 4-2
Notes: The Donald Sterling saga took a toll on the Clippers. While Chris Paul is a competitor and didn't want to admit it, you could see it in some of their performances. Regardless, this was one of those "the Clippers had a chance and blew it" years. The entire series hinged on those crucial turnovers and bad calls in game 5. In terms of a depth perspective, 2014 was the Clippers best chance at winning the championship.
Round 1: LAC def SAS 4-3
Round 2: HOU def LAC 4-3
Injuries: Chris Paul hamstring injuries. Misses game 1 & 2 against Houston.
Notes: There's no excuse for the Clippers blowing their 3-1 lead against the Rockets. LA won in such dominating fashions, it was ridiculous to think that they would lose. Whether they beat the Warriors was a big question mark, as the 2015 Clippers were nowhere near as deep as the 2014 Clippers.
Round 1: POR def LAC 4-2
Injuries: Chris Paul breaks his third metacarpal as his hand gets stuck in a jersey. Blake Griffin re-injures his quad. Both players freakishly miss the rest of the playoffs from game 4 onwards.
Notes: This definitely felt like it could have been the year. The Clippers got the opponent they wanted in the Blazers, and Steph Curry went down with an injury. For the first time ever, luck was on the Clippers side, but fate decided otherwise. Both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were gone in one game. After that, it was done.
Round 1: UTA def LAC 4-3
Injuries: Blake Griffin suffers toe injury in Game 3, out for the rest of the series.
Notes: This was a series that felt like a combination of missed opportunities, and unluckiness. Most people felt like the Clippers were going to win this in 5, at most. Instead, they didn't close game 1, and injuries made it extend to 7. Even if they won though, it seemed painfully obvious that they wouldn't get past the Kevin Durant Warriors in the next round.
For the most part, the Clippers were incredibly unlucky. Their All-Star players were out or injured in every single playoff run except 2014. Despite that, the team definitely had legitimate championship chances in 2014 and 2015. Even when they were healthy though, it's not like they ever had an easy path to the championship. Losing against an MVP Kevin Durant isn't something to have shame in. In the words of Chris Paul, "that's life."