The LA Clippers have endured many, many terrible nights of basketball but it’s NEVER this bad with a team this good!
Mid-third quarter the Clippers were cruising toward the franchises first appearance in the Western Conference Finals. Up 19 points and facing a Houston Rockets team that had quit earlier in the series on that Staples Center floor and they were on the verge of mailing it in again and going home for the season. Then something completely inexplicable came to pass. Rockets coach Kevin McHale benched the MVP voting runner-up James Harden and went with energy vets Jason Terry, Josh Smith and Corey Brewer. The Clippers helped out by trying to run out the clock and quit attacking. When the dust settled and the carnage was everywhere, the Rockets were still alive, outscoring the Clippers 40-15 in the 4th quarter forcing Game 7 with a ridiculous 119-107 game 6 win. J-Smoove provided plenty of 4th quarter juice, scoring 14 of his 19 points in the last, fueling a 23-2 run to pull away in a game they were buried. Corey Brewer added 19 points and 10 rebounds and Dwight Howard played through a chorus of criticism, shutting up lots of us who had been critical of his attitude. Howard finishing with a dominating 20 points and 21 rebounds.
Game 7 is Sunday in Houston where the Clippers won at the start of the series, and where they must win again or face a summer of immense rippage, if they blow the 3 games to one lead and see Houston advance to the Western Conference Finals. Sunday figures too tense and crazy dramatic!
Not nearly as much drama in Chicago but the Cavs made it another road win. Lebron James struggled hitting shots (7-23 but did finish with 15 points and 11 assists) and his super star running mate Kyrie Irving didn’t play in the second half. So how did Cleveland close out the Bulls on their home floor in Chicago? The backups King James calls his Bench Mob. Aussie Mathew Delavadova, James Jones and JR Smith combined for 40 points. “Delly” leading the way with a career-hi 19 ponts, JR Dropped a dozen. Bulls out in 6 games and after the game Coach Thibs says he’s the Bulls coach until someone tells him he isn’t.
Cavs into their first Conference Final since 2009, waiting on the winner of the Hawks/Wizards series. Atlanta leads that 3 games to 2 with game 6 in Washington Friday.
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