After entering the 2019-20 NBA season as a title favourite, the LA Clippers postseason run came to an end before the conference finals.
LA was just one win away from advancing to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in the franchise's 50-year history after building a 3-1 series lead over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals but that one win would never come. and the ways in which the team's three losses came were especially demoralizing.
In Game 5, the Clippers were outscored 44-25 over the last 13:25, suffering a six-point loss after leading by as many as 16 points in the game. Game 6 saw LA build a 19-point lead before getting outscored 56-25 over the final 20:27 of a 13-point loss.
And then there was Game 7.
As the Clippers looked to overwrite 49 years of shortcomings while simultaneously living up to championship expectations, they led by as many as 12 points in the first half and held a seven-point lead just over a minute into the third quarter.
Then things fell apart.
Over the final 32 minutes of game time, Denver outscored LA 47-28 as the superstar duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George scored a combined five points on 2-for-17 shooting to close the game.
Just like that, LA became the 13th team to squander a 3-1 series lead after holding double-digit advantages in each potential closeout game. Unfortunately for the Clippers, this feeling has become all too familiar, as they've failed to get over the hump a number of times.
The 2020 Western Conference Semifinals became the latest addition to a lengthy list of letdowns and heartbreak for the LA Clippers franchise, which we bring you here.
The LA Clippers history of misfortune
- In their 50 years of existence, the LA Clippers have never advanced to the conference finals. It is the longest such streak in professional sports.
- Dating back to its years as the Buffalo Braves, the franchise is 0-8 with an opportunity to advance to the conference finals.
- The franchise is 0-4 in Game 7s of the Conference Semifinals (1975, 2006, 2015, 2020)
- LA has now blown a 3-1 series lead in the Conference Semifinals twice (2015, 2020)
- Per ESPN Stats & Info, the Clippers have lost four series in which they've held a two-game lead.
The Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead, marking the 4th time they've lost a series despite holding a 2-game lead. They are the only franchise with four such losses.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 16, 2020
They now have a .333 series win pct. when leading by two games. Every other team in NBA history has a winning record. pic.twitter.com/Vu1UTk01Xg
- With a 3-2 lead in Game 6 of the 2015 Western Conference Semifinals, LA led by as many as 19 points in the second half before being outscored 40-15 in the fourth quarter by the Houston Rockets.
- Doc Rivers has been the head coach of three teams to blow 3-1 leads: the 2003 Orlando Magic, 2015 Clippers and 2020 Clippers
- Rivers has now lost eight Game 7s, no other NBA coach has more than five Game 7 losses. As head coach of the Clippers, Rivers is 2-3 in Game 7s.
Now that their pursuit of the 2020 NBA title has come to a close, there are a number of questions surrounding the LA Clippers.
Perhaps none are bigger than those surrounding their ability to overcome a riddled past of letdowns and heartbreak in order to reach new heights in the postseason.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.