Death by Expectations

Life, Sports

The Clippers were slammed Friday night in San Antonio. I didn’t watch the game, but I did see a rerun at a bar later that night where I saw about two minutes of the first quarter in which Blake Griffin turned the ball over. Sigh.

Their 27-point loss in Game 3 was something I expected but didn’t want to happen. Of course the Spurs were going to come out on their home floor, guns blazing, ready to demolish the Clippers. After all, this could be the last year of an epic NBA dynasty of Coach Pop/Tim Duncan/Tony Parker/Manu Ginobli (so they say, anyway). Meanwhile, the Clippers have never seen past the second round and if they don’t break that streak this year, it could be the last year of their core team as well.

Both sides have lots to lose. The expectation runs higher in San Antonio than LA because championships speak louder than anything else. The Clippers are the second class citizens in Los Angeles, sharing their home court with a legendary franchise, and I’m certain their confidence levels and mindsets are nowhere close to that of the experienced Spurs. I think this is where the problem lies.

Everyone has expectations of you. First impressions are long lasting and judgments stick. It becomes easy to bend to them, to truly believe, “OK, maybe they’re right.” The thing is they’re not right. Not always. Flip that perspective and rewire your thought process. Focus on the positives and own them. Soon those expectations will be crushed, stomped on and overcome. That is what the Clippers need.

They’re down 2-1. It’s not experience or better players that they’re lacking (their youth and athleticism is enough), it’s brash determination. If they have that, I’m calling this series Clippers in seven.

The tank is fluttering on empty and I don’t see a gas station nearby

Sports

At 7:16 p.m. (PT) tonight, I tweeted this:

The Heat did not just crumble tonight, they were pulverized into dust. What happened?

I could rattle off some stats, but I think the following facts can speak for themselves.

Patty Mills’ hands turned to gold as he sunk three after three, finishing with 14 points. Boris Diaw almost notched a triple double. Coach Spo gave Toney Douglas playing time. Kawhi Leonard dropped 20.

Notice that I haven’t even mentioned Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli — it’s because I don’t have to.  You could’ve sat Parker and Duncan the entire game and (basing this solely off points scored) the Spurs still would’ve walked away with a win.

I haven’t mentioned LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh either — two of those three didn’t bother showing up. And combined, their plus-minus plastered a whoppingly low -53.

That was Game 4. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 series deficit. The sort of good news for Miami is the new 2-2-1-1-1 NBA Finals format allows them to return home *if* they win Game 5 — that is a huge ‘if.’

With the way the Spurs have been shooting and whipping the ball around, who knows if anyone can beat them at this rate. The Spurs have turned basketball into an art form, while the Heat are turning it into a bloody mess.