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Clippers fit the L.A. pattern

Los Angeles Clippers add to list of city's frustrating losses, but despite being tossed by officials, Chris Paul takes the high road.

May 03, 2013|T.J. Simers
  • Chris Paul stands before tip-off of Game 6 against the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs.
Chris Paul stands before tip-off of Game 6 against the Memphis Grizzlies… (Mike Brown / EPA )

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Bring on the next bunch of disappointing, underachieving, gagging local athletes.

And so it goes with our Trojans, Lakers, Clippers and even the Bruins losing their last three.

So much promise, raised expectations and then a quick goodbye to all.

The Kings? The who?

Oh yeah, I hear they're down already, 2-0.

Thank heavens for the grandchildren. They are waiting at home, in for a visit from Arizona, and they don't give a lick about the power trip referee Joe Crawford is on, disturbed fans in Memphis or a visit with the Choking Dogs on Monday night.

BOX SCORE: Memphis 118, Clippers 105

They don't ever let you down, and I look forward to our 10 minutes together before needing a break.

As for the Clippers, what a waste, the best possible season ending with Chris Paul getting tossed in a Game 6 won by Memphis, 118-105.

Too bad they don't allow the players to throw away the referees who come across as bullies and wanting to be the show.

Crawford, who is noted for as much, led an officiating crew that sent Memphis to the free-throw line 23 times more than the Clippers.

"I'm going to take the advice of a good friend who said be careful what you say," Paul told the media after we had talked. "I'll save it; I got kids to feed."

Paul scored 28 points, a game after throwing in 35 and ultimately was only stopped by Crawford.

But rather than criticize the officials and take a $25,000 fine, Paul chose to congratulate Memphis for its play and then stated the obvious.

"We got to the fight too late," he said. "Game 6."

The Clippers lost four straight to the Grizzlies, never a doubt in any one of them, while throwing away the chance to change the way folks think of the organization.

It was supposed to be a storybook season, and isn't that what they were telling us a few weeks ago about the Dodgers and Angels?

There are no guarantees for the Clippers they will get another chance. They return Blake Griffin, but will also be hogtied by the return of DeAndre Jordan, who was earning more than $10 million this past season as a statue.

Paul gets an additional $27 million for signing with the Clippers rather than any other team, but it's probably still a tough choice.

Caron Butler, Grant Hill and Eric Bledsoe each have another year left on their contracts.

"I didn't want [Grant] to go out this way if this is his last game," said Paul. "I've learned so much from him."

If Paul signs, the Clippers will climb above the salary cap, but will still have some wiggle room to sign players like Matt Barnes before hitting the luxury tax threshold.

As for Coach Vinny Del Negro, he said, "Absolutely," he would like to return, but team President Andy Roeser said not so fast.

He said the team will "assess where we are going," but he also said he doesn't believe the decision on who coaches the Clippers should be left to Paul.

The feeling all along has been the Clippers were waiting on Paul to decide who will lead the team, but if that's not the case, then why the hesitation on Del Negro?

Whatever, a lackluster loss in Game 5 highlighted by Griffin's ankle injury, doomed the Clippers.

Their toughness and heart questioned, they played the first half in Game 6 like you would expect them to compete in a playoff game. Had they played like that before Game 6, at the very least they would have been guaranteed a Game 7 at home.

But crazy how the Clippers wilted in front of their own fans. In a city like Memphis filled with disturbed fans making threats, if email and Twitter are such a measure, it should have been a little disconcerting to see the fans waving "We Don't Bluff" towels.

But the Clippers were still in this one late in the fourth quarter, down by six with the ball until Billups kicked it away.

In the end, Zach Randolph had his way with his former team, even going so far as to discount Griffin's sore ankle.

"You forget about my ankle," said Randolph, who injured his in Game 2. "It's the playoffs. It's a big-boy game."

The Clippers got the message, but far too late and so now everyone can turn their attention to the Dodgers and Angels.

THE THING I hate the most about the story that has Kobe Bryant taking legal action to stop his mother from selling his high school memorabilia is its timing.

Had they both just waited a week, it could have been one of the all-time Happy Mother's Day yarns.

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