Once again, in flashbacks to the days of Donald Sterling and Michael Olowokandi and the rat-infested Sports Arena, the Clippers ruined everything. Yes, they've been embarrassing before, but, in losing a three-games-to-one lead despite having a team favored by many to win the NBA title, they've never quite blown it like this.
They are endowed by Steve Ballmer, the richest and arguably best owner in the NBA, and they still blew it.
They have Kawhi Leonard and George, two of the top 10 players in the league, and they still blew it
They have new uniforms, a new destination culture, plans for a new $1.2 billion arena project, and they still blew it.
The perception is that it's a brand-new organization. The reality is that it's the same old Clippers. The truth is that the Clipper Curse has never seemed more real.
Even the hardened Los Angeles sports fans, long immune to the Clipper troubles, will have difficulty forgetting this one. Despite all of the team's improvements, this loss will cost it any chance of gaining any sort of increased foothold in a market whose affections they so desperately crave.
It will also cost the city a chance to experience a series with a magnitude unmatched in these parts. The Dodgers and Angels have never played each other in a World Series. USC and UCLA have never played each other for a football championship or in the NCAA basketball tournament. The Kings and Ducks have met once in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but it was in the second round, not the conference finals.
Although the Lakers and Clippers have met 224 times in the regular season - the Lakers hold a 150-74 edge - they had never met on this stage, and it was going to be nuts.
Oops. The sports event of the year just got Clippered.
Their latest crumble began Friday, when the Clippers led the Nuggets three games to one and needed just one victory to advance to the conference finals for the first time in the franchise's 50 years, a drought that is the longest in American sports history.