Quantcast
 

Here is a link to my column about Game 7 of the Warriors-Clippers series. The full text runs below:

LOS ANGELES — The Clippers ran them down, ran down the Warriors, beat them 126-121. The Clippers came at the Warriors like fate. The Clippers wouldn’t stop and the Warriors couldn’t stop them.

The Clippers began the third quarter down eight points, had trailed by as many as 12. The Clippers had been slow and careless, their ball-handling and shooting brutal. They were ready to be taken. The Warriors were going to advance, about to fly to Oklahoma City for the second round of these playoffs.

And then the Warriors just stopped. Or maybe the Clippers came on. The Clippers’ stars, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul had seemed so earthbound and vulnerable in the first half. The Warriors — see Draymond Green — had taken away Griffin’s inside game, Griffin reverting to the crude, desperate player he used to be, Griffin bulling his way inside, using his head like a battering ram, the Warriors blocking off his moves and stealing the ball. Griffin would look at the refs, his eyes sad, a look of moral indignation on his face. This was not supposed to be happening.

Chris Paul, L.A.’s other superstar, was wounded. Before the game, Doc Rivers had said, “He can’t get away from anyone.” He meant Paul couldn’t get off his shot, although Paul finished with 22 points and 14 assists. Paul couldn’t defend either, Curry running him ragged, Rivers putting Darren Collison on Curry partway into the first quarter just to rest Paul’s aching hamstring.

Then Paul and Griffin got well. Don’t ask me how. Those two and the rest of the Clippers ran down the Warriors, ran them down, ran them out of the game, out of the series and out of the playoffs. The Clippers took their first lead at 6:01 of the third quarter on a two-point jumper by J.J. Reddick with an assist from Paul. And they kept running. Ran away.

Griffin took over in the fourth quarter, just took over. Made a driving layup with less than a minute to go. Put L.A. up by 5. All of a sudden, he had become a different player. Superman. And the Warriors couldn’t stop him.

It was a colossal failure by the Warriors, a monumental failure even though the Warriors had excuses — three hurt centers. But they had played without those centers. And they had played well. They are as good as the Clippers. But the Clippers ran them down. Came like fate. Would not stop.

If the Warriors were high schoolers, say Cardinal Newman players, you’d say, “Great job, kids. Get ’em next time.” You’d praise their brave season and talk about the future, talk about hope.

But the Warriors are professional athletes. Many are millionaires. They don’t get credit for a good effort. They’re expected to give effort. And they don’t get a thumbs up for defeat. They don’t rate an atta boy.

When you strip away all the drama from the Warriors-Clippers playoff series, when you strip away Donald Sterling and the gut-wrenching moral dilemma he posed for everyone including you and me, when you strip away the Warriors’ plucky effort, when you strip away how they troubled Paul and Griffin, when you strip away all that, the Warriors lost in the first round. Got sent home. Banished. Losers.

They may be plucky, for sure, and that makes them plucky losers. Nothing more. There is no kind way to put it. A good losing effort isn’t good enough. Means nothing. And this we know, the Warriors advanced to the second round last season, gave the San Antonio Spurs a tough battle in Round 2. And this season, the Warriors lost in the first round. Which means they went backward. Regressed.

Before the game, there was a give-and-take between Doc Rivers and Mark Jackson about which team had more pressure on it. Jackson has been saying the Clippers were the ones with pressure.

Rivers came first to the interview room and spoke through the media to Jackson. “He’s been saying that for a while. I think what he’s trying to say is, ‘Please, my team, you’ve got to relax. It’s all on them.’ I think that’s what Mark’s really saying.”

In other words, Jackson was nervous. Then Jackson came to the media room and talked about pressure, about who has it: “The facts remain that they have two of the top 10 players in the world. The facts tell me they have the Sixth Man of the Year winner again (Jamal Crawford). The facts tell me they have a future Hall of Fame coach.

“The facts tell me they’re a better basketball team over the course of 82 games which made them the No. 3 seed and have home-court advantage in Game 7. So, the facts are they’re the better basketball team up until this point and the pressure is on them to finish off a No. 6 seed. We’ve got nothing to lose.”

Well, the Warriors had plenty to lose and they lost it.

Jackson is a good talker. He can talk all he wants about the pressure gap, about how special his group is, how he loves them, how the Warriors have to “stay true to the process at the end of the day.”

He loves those two phrases, “true to the process,” and “at the end of the day,” says at the end of the day all different times of the day.

But his group wasn’t special enough on a hot, searing night in downtown L.A. His group wasn’t special enough to make the Clippers null and void in the first round — all those games the Warriors lost to so-so teams made them the sixth seed going against the third seed. Now the Warriors are bird seed.

This loss, this elimination leaves questions. How good is this team, really? What else do they need?

They were supposed to have all the necessary pieces. Is Jackson the right coach? He brought the Warriors only so far. Could someone else get them over the top?

There are so many questions after this fast elimination. Exactly what the Warriors didn’t expect and don’t need.

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.

 

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments

22 Comments

  1. Dennis

    “This loss, this elimination leaves questions. How good is this team, really? What else do they need?”

    I guess you can start with two healthy centers that can plug up the middle. Rant all you want Lowell, this series proves nothing. One healthy center would have made a lot of difference.

    If you are going to give you opinion and you want it to be valued, at least give one that is based in reality. No team wins with their three centers out. You know better than that.

    May 4th, 2014 12:03 am

  2. Big Miz

    This article is very unfair. To criticize the warriors right now after this excellent series is really disappointing. This is a franchise that made the playoffs once in 17 years or whatever, and now has had back to back playoff appearances in a LOADED western conference. They’re not “losers”, they lost the series. There is a difference. I suppose you think it was smart for the nuggets to have fired George Karl too since they “regressed”. Well shoot, the 49ers should have given harbaugh the ax for “regressing” too! Ridiculous

    May 4th, 2014 12:28 am

  3. parnell

    Tim Kawakami: “Warriors fans will talk about Saturday’s Game 7 for years and decades, and when they do, they will remember that the Warriors were under-sized and under-manned and just kept battling.

    They will remember the sheer audacity of this team, the stubborn pride, and that they took the Clippers to the end of seven games.”

    Ray Ratto: “In sum, Los Angeles’ 126-121 victory over Golden State in Game 7 of this Western Conference quarterfinal will be remembered whether you like it or not as a great moment in both franchises’ histories. “

    Monte Poole: “The Warriors went down honorably and with a furious fight, pouring their hearts and bodies into a fantastic Game 7 that provided an emphatic last word to a classic playoff series “

    Lowell Cohn: “When you strip away all the drama from the Warriors-Clippers playoff series, when you strip away Donald Sterling and the gut-wrenching moral dilemma he posed for everyone including you and me, when you strip away the Warriors’ plucky effort, when you strip away how they troubled Paul and Griffin, when you strip away all that, the Warriors lost in the first round. Got sent home. Banished. Losers. “

    You saw a different game than I saw or Kawakami saw or Ratto saw or Poole saw or my friends and I saw. I saw a team with a depleted roster (no center, no backup center, no backup point guard) play a terrific seven-game series and fall just short of moving on in the playoffs. The roster deficiencies are on Lacob and Myers and the sainted Jerry West if you have to blame someone but in the long term this year should be viewed as a successful building block in the evolution of a franchise that was awful for a decade or more.

    Lacob was smart enough to hire a good GM and a good coach and Myers worked a near miracle when he dumped the contracts of Biedrins and Jefferson and managed to get Iguodala. But the roster that started the season had several holes and given the salary cap restraints Blake and Jordan Crawford were just adequate replacements for the unproductive Toney Douglas and Kent Bazemore, not the level of talent needed to provide much off the bench in a playoff series.

    Yahoo sports reports that Mark Jackson has no allies in the front office to make a case to ownership for keeping him on. Perhaps you can ask Jerry West what coaching technique Jackson should have used to get his two power forwards to grow a few inches in height or to induce Bogut’s cracked rib to heal.

    What a truly pathetic column.

    May 4th, 2014 12:40 am

  4. chris

    oh get off Lowell’s back guys………sure you can say if Bogut had been there the outcome woulduv been different. But the fact is the Warriors owner and GM hired Bogut who had a history of injuries and it came back to bite the whole organization big, right when they needed a center the most for the playoffs against the physical Clippers. They have no one else to blame but themselves and need to address the center position which clearly cost them the series vs. the Clippers.

    May 4th, 2014 10:50 am

  5. Stan

    They beat the Clippers three times,one a rout..to the Clippers four wins. If they could do that without their best center,I think its not exaggeration to say they would have won the series.

    But,the center that wouldn’t play even with a “bone bruise” for five games while O’Neal played the next day is just more of what seems more of divided coach love.

    I don’t see any Bogut quotes of how much he wants Jackson to return.

    Jackson is polarizing pretty much sums him up. And he wins.

    Lacob better think long and hard. He was wrong on the Stadium thing that I saw clear as day as never going to happen..and now finding all new chemistry..big risk.
    And,where has Bob Meyers been? Not a peep the last few weeks. There I give you,is your proof.

    May 4th, 2014 11:40 am

  6. Waldo Lydecker

    Would have rather read the column the headline promised: “Many questions for Warriors after early playoff exit.” We all watched the game, know the Clippers executed better in crunch time and prevailed in a hard-fought, memorable seven-game series. The better column would have been an exploration of what the Warriors can do to get to the next level, how they can add an inside element so they’re not so reliant on the Splash Brothers going off.

    May 4th, 2014 11:56 am

  7. Dr. Feelgood

    Gee Lowell, it seems that you honestly believed the W’s were going to win this series. Really?
    Even when the W’s are at full strength, the Clippers are a better team.
    The W’s played hard to the end, gave it their best shot and came up short.
    Applying your standards, there will soon be 28 other millionaire laden “LOSERS” joining the W’s in your metaphorical garbage bin.
    What I watched was a disadvantaged team desperately trying to survive, not one merely going through the motions and hoping that the clock would hurry up and time run out.
    Congratulations to the Clippers for winning a tough series and moving on.

    May 4th, 2014 11:58 am

  8. Steve the cat rescuer

    I don’t always agree with you, but I’ve never criticized you – until now. This column is one of the cheapest shots I’ve ever read about a local team. How the Warriors made it to a game 7 and lost on the road by only a few points without a bench or center is testament to the coaching of Jackson and the skills and will of its remaining starters. To call them losers and have their effort sullied by this column is beneath you. At least Streetglide will be happy now that you can report on Giants regular season game 34 instead of Warriors playoff games.

    May 4th, 2014 3:07 pm

  9. Steve the cat rescuer

    @ Stan: I might have missed it, but I didn’t see Bogut in street clothes on the bench, even at home games. Maybe there was an element of truth to Jackson’s quote of Bogut hurting himself while asleep.

    May 4th, 2014 3:14 pm

  10. kg

    Well I will give the Warriors this…”they went down fighting, to the end.” Unlike that Hockey team, that plays in the South Bay, that folded like a cheap pup tent”…

    Hopefully the Warriors can build on what they have achieved, and done this year, and come back stronger next season.

    May 4th, 2014 3:48 pm

  11. dharte

    The main problem is just carelessness, and Jackson is not the solution.

    Almost two months ago Tom Tolbert spent ten minutes on KNBR arguing that turnovers do not matter. It’s an absurd argument, a logic that only a Don Nelson player would try to pawn off as expertise, and the test of this theory is a coach like Popovich.

    Does anyone in the Bay Area really believe that Popovich would put up with Step Curry tossing those stiff-armed hook passes, especially with his left hand, which are a turn over waiting to happen? Neither do I. And Curry is the least of this team’s problems.

    Until they have a coach who insists on taking care of the ball, the Warriors will never be serious contenders. They are so much better than the lost years of the last three decades (Run TMC was always a fraud…Don Nelson never coached a game that mattered at Golden State, which is to say Don Nelson never bothered competing for a title), but even this much improved team is still not close to a ring.

    Let Jerry West work: they need a power forward–emphasis on power–and a back up for Curry. Then they need to figure out what the hell happened to Andre Iguodala. The guy chasing (and losing to) JJ Redick was clearly an impostor.

    In any case, the current team is still a long shot to compete for a championship, and Jackson is a large part of the reason at the moment.

    May 5th, 2014 12:30 am

  12. Brady

    You took the easy way out with this one, Lowell.

    Very poor.

    Also, much of your column is based on a wildly false premise: “They are as good as the Clippers.”

    No. No they are not. The Clippers were the 3rd seed. The Warriors were the 6th seed, and playing without their third best player. The Clippers were the vastly superior team.

    The fact that this series came down to the final minute of game seven is a testament to the Warriors, nothing else.

    May 5th, 2014 9:51 am

  13. Stan

    Bob Fitzy tried to pass the story that at home games,Bogut was in the trainers room watching laying down because it was “too painful” to sit up and watch,as in from the bench.
    Baloney, Salami,and malarkey. Not believable for a second.

    Bogut said all the right things on his contract run last year. This year he coughs,and announces he needs a 5 game rest.

    There is a good reason even David Lee said to the press “You can play with a bone bruise”.

    May 5th, 2014 10:18 am

  14. Stan

    Because,you can. lol.

    May 5th, 2014 10:21 am

  15. Dave T

    While all the players showed up in Game 7, to me only three players truly came to play. Curry, Green and Lee. Their efforts from start to finish were strong and straight from the heart. Say what you want about Curry and his lack of field goals, but he went 19-19 from the line and any true fan or analyst will tell you that when you can score points without the clock moving, and be able to get into your defensive set without having to transition, that is an advantage. Green was a flat out beast of a player, scoring inside and out and doing a strong job on Griffen, not just in this game, but in this series. And Lee, for all his short comings as to not being a true power forward hustled, got up and down the court, gave every effort and left it on the floor. Having to take on Jordan was an unfair and unenviable task and he more than gave it his all. Thompson and Iguadala to a lesser extent did not seem to be all there. Klay was lost, the odd man out, had some open looks and did not make them. His defense was solid, but he did not make the most of his offensive opportunities and for a shooting guard, that has to happen. Frustrating to be sure.

    For me this season will be one that I most remember as the one where the mental lapses and disappointing losses cost the Warriors a better playoff seeding, possibly as high as the 4 seed as opposed to the 6 seed. Too many home floor losses to teams they should have beaten. Those are things that a young team overall has to learn how to keep their focus and not give away games that can have so much meaning at the end of a season.

    May 5th, 2014 10:49 am

  16. Unca Chuck

    Hmmm. You say they were down 3 healthy centers and then ask what would they have needed to win? How about a healthy team? Beyond the fact that LA has arguably 2 of what, the top 5 players in the world, what was your prediction before the series started? Dubs in 4? No. You said they’d lose. And since they did BETTER than you thought they would in losing, they still earn your scorn. Good for you. Still a troller at heart.

    Hmmm. Let’s reverse this, eh? Take Griffin and D Jordan out. Do the Clippers win?

    I don’t think so.

    The only loser here is you. It used to be all about the Letters to the Green. Now it’s post generation. I expect a hatchet piece regarding the terrible job Mark Jackson has done very soon. I suppose you think Steve Kerr is the answer.

    What would help is a ball handler (remember Jarrett Jacks?) and a big man that won’t get hurt. Curry is being asked to do too much on a regular basis. He shouldn’t be the scorer and the disher. Turnovers are important despite Tolbert’s assertions.

    May 5th, 2014 11:13 am

  17. Mark M

    I’m impressed they got as far as they did. I expected them to be out much sooner in this series. They did well to force a game 7 and make it competitive. Still, Lowell is right. The thing we’ll remember, the only true measuring stick of a bball team, is that they lost in the first round and therefore regressed.

    I know there are lots of other things to say about this series, but focusing on the court play, this team under achieved. I still don’t believe Jackson should be let go unless ownership KNOWS they have someone better lined up. Interesting to read Jack cracked on his “no excuse” mentality. The pressure is surely getting to him. I imagine he’s probably out the door with all the smoke billowing in the room.

    May 5th, 2014 11:55 am

  18. Unca Chuck

    Mark, with this team healthy, the Dubs would have been the underdog. They weren’t healthy, with their starting center out, and they almost pulled it off. They call a foul in game 4 and they may very well have won the series. No one gave them a shot. To say they underachieved and regressed is ludicrous. The mindset is vastly different than it was 3 years ago.

    So, these last 2 playoff appearances were failures? What were the last 20 years? Practice?

    May 5th, 2014 3:46 pm

  19. Brady

    Stan – Bogut and his doctor publicly said that he could play through the pain no problem, but it would be about a 50% risk of him re-injuring it, and re-injuring it would end his career.

    Not worth it for the individual or the team.

    May 5th, 2014 3:49 pm

  20. Stan

    That Brady,was for the rib. Earlier,he missed 5 games because of a bruise. You add what Lee said on top of what Jackson had said and you have a team not impressed by Boguts effort.
    LAST YEAR, he did everything he could to play. It was for the contract year.
    And even with the rib…Rothlesburger and Aaron Rogers,and a few more athletes strapped on the flak jacket and played. Played tackle football. Even after two weeks of rest ,Bogut made no offer to do the same. He couldn’t have come across as another Beidrens if he tried this year. Get out of playing,AND not even try to score. The GS curse.

    May 6th, 2014 9:39 am

  21. CohnZohn

    Stan, I try never to criticize injured players for not playing. I simply don’t know what they are feeling.

    May 6th, 2014 9:54 am

  22. Stan

    I don’t give them that much leeway. Not when a McFadden or Bogut take long vacations to recover when others play on. LeBron had “planar fasciatis” like McFadden..and still played his way to a World Championship . True.
    And when David Lee said that “You can play with a bone bruise”. I get it. Maybe not at your best..but hell,its still just a bruise. And basketball is close to baseball when it comes to contact.
    Bogut was still a good trade..if it rid us of Monta ball,that’s a plus. But,the dream we had a good 7′ center, hard nosed..died.
    The Big Eucalyptus was out shaded by the regular NBA big Oaks.
    And the Dr’s excuse..sounds like sympathy Dr. talk. He can play was the only true part-lol.

    May 6th, 2014 10:37 am

Submit Your Comments

Required

Required, will not be published