For the last week the Los Angeles Clippers have been accused by various parties of tanking at the end of the season in order to secure a more favorable playoff draw.
This video of how they closed out the season speaks for itself:
“The Clippers absolutely weren’t tanking against the bottom feeder Rockets and Thunder to avoid the Lakers in the 1st or 2nd round.” – Clippers fans and bloggers pic.twitter.com/RNBCqo5Y37
— Under the Buss (@TheUndertheBuss) May 17, 2021
As a result of those efforts, LA dropped to the No. 4 seed in the West and earned a right to face off against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round.
This week, Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue finally got blunt about the accusations that have been levied against his squad.
“I don’t give a damn what anybody else thinks on the outside,” said Lue, per Mirjam Swanson of the OC Register.
“I don’t listen to that anyways, so at the end of the day, we [chose] for the team. We decided to go with health over all else. We finally got our team healthy, and that’s what we focused on.
“We took health, and that’s the most important thing to me,” Lue added. “So whatever people say on the outside I don’t care. I don’t read Twitter, or have Twitter, or InstaTwit, or all that. I don’t care about all that. I’m my own man, I do what I want to do. That’s how I live my life.”
For what it’s worth, it’s not just the dark corners of the internet that suggested the Clippers were tanking. ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst not only reaffirmed what everyone was thinking, he also confirmed that others around the league were saying the same thing.
— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) May 18, 2021
“We see teams tank at the end of the season all the time,” Windhorst said on SportsCenter.
“That’s not the end of the world, a lot of teams have. What they [Clippers] did here is make moves to avoid the Lakers in round one and round two. We may be sitting here in two months and say, ‘Boy, what a genius move. It was good strategy for how it set up the bracket.’ But boy does it send a strange message to your team, and it certainly sent a message to the Lakers…
“They weren’t just resting their guys, that was what Ty Lue said they were doing. They were actively not attempting to win. Some of the plays that they ran near the end of this game, I was talking to scouts and executives today, they couldn’t believe some of the stuff they were doing in this game.
“So, if you’re the Lakers and you may not see them at all this postseason. You may not see them for six or seven weeks or whatever it is. You got to believe that you’re in their head, because that’s the message that the Clippers sent by so actively losing to both the Rockets and the Thunder over the weekend.”
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
This is going to be a big playoff run for the Clippers. There was a lingering Kawhi Leonard issue that they simply couldn’t figure out during the regular season, and it’ll be interesting to see if that changes going forward.
If it doesn’t, and if LA flames out in the postseason once more like they did last year, it wouldn’t be all that shocking to see Leonard suddenly go with his Free Agency Plan B come this summer.