The Clipper Curse lives.
The hex that has haunted this team since it arrived unwanted and unloved in Los Angeles 35 years ago rose up again Tuesday night with its most chilling ramifications yet.
The monumental Hallway Series is dead, and the Clipper Curse killed it.
The historic NBA Western Conference finals playoff battle between the Lakers and Clippers is over before it started because the Clipper Curse got there first.
Needing a win against the overmatched Denver Nuggets team Tuesday to advance to play the Lakers in the postseason for the first time, the Clippers blew a double-digit lead for a third straight game and stunningly lost a series, a season and a chance to shake off a bit of their horrid past.
Instead, on a gloomy night filled with an underachievement that felt so familiar, that history was embraced in all its black-and-red gory.
In a quarantined gym near Orlando, Fla., the Nuggets blew out the Clippers in crunch time, won the deciding Game 7 in the conference semifinals, 104-89, and will now play the Lakers for a spot in the NBA Finals.
"That hurts, that hurts," repeated a somber Clippers' Paul George afterward. "It hurts, it hurts."
Don't look now, but by being easily the best team remaining in the NBA's final four - which includes Boston, Miami and Denver - those Lakers may have just won a 17th title. Meanwhile, though, the Los Angeles sports landscape loses what would have been a delicious bite of drama.
There will be no Battle for L.A. There will be no City Championship. There will be no chance for a long-awaited postseason collision between two teams that have spent much of their lives uncomfortably circling each other while hoping for this moment.