The Los Angeles Clippers fell to the Denver Nuggets this past week in their Western Conference semifinals match-up. Despite having a 3-1 series lead at one point, LA took its foot off the gas and squandered an opportunity to play in the Western Conference Finals.
Now it is the Nuggets, and not the Clippers, who will play the Los Angeles Lakers for the right to go to the NBA Finals.
On Wednesday, Kyle Kuzma reacted to the Clippers’ collapse and what it meant – big picture.
“We’re not focused on the Clippers and we never really were,” he said.
“It’s all about who’s in front of you. When you focus on other teams instead of taking care of your food, I mean, shit happens like that.
“So, for us, we’ve always focused on us, and then focused on Portland, focused on Houston and controlled what we can control as a team. Now our focus is on Denver.”
“… We’re not focused on the Clippers, and we never really were.”
—Kuzma on if the Lakers enjoyed seeing the Clippers get eliminated pic.twitter.com/mAkC0FnUtP
— ESPN (@espn) September 16, 2020
Clippers personnel offered a lot of different explanations for their playoff collapse, but the common denominator in all the excuses seemed to be a lack of chemistry. They simply didn’t have enough time to gel as a unit, they insisted.
Interestingly enough, the Lakers have also undergone a serious makeover over the past year.
As noted by Reggie Miller, it didn’t seem to slow them down in the same way it slowed down the Clippers.
Inevitable fallout. https://t.co/nL79lOL4Qk
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 17, 2020
“You can’t tell me it was all about chemistry,” he said.
“Their cross-town rival has a brand-new coach in Frank Vogel. They’ve got, what, 6-7 new players as well? Avery Bradley is not even in the bubble? … So everyone’s dealing with chemistry in the restart.”
The point is not an unfair one. While it is true that the Clippers had to adjust to two new superstars instead of just one, the Lakers had to integrate a new head coach and game plan. That more or less evens out.
The Knicks are already making some big plans. https://t.co/7eA3iigL5f
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 16, 2020
Either way, the Clippers will have all offseason to diagnose what precisely went wrong in the playoffs this year.
The Lakers, meanwhile, are due to take on the Nuggets on Friday.
Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals takes place at 6:00 pm and will air on TNT.