One of my favorite things about sports? Losers can’t control when the winners cease trash talking.
This holds true for the Clippers as Houston Rockets forward Corey Brewer, who re-signed with the franchise this summer on a deal worth $24 million over four years, had some interesting words to say to about Houston’s Game 7 win over Los Angeles to CBS Sports: going into the matchup, the Rockets knew they were going to win.
Brewer: Man, it was like a switch clicked or something. It was just, everything started going right. We started making plays, Josh [Smith] started making shots, I started making shots and it went from there. By the time I looked up, I got a dunk and I was like, ‘Man, I just tied the game.’ After that it was all she wrote. We won.
Herbert: Could you kind of sense after that everything had shifted?
Brewer: Yeah. After we won that game, we kind of knew we were going to win Game 7. The whole mindset, the whole mentality changed.
Whether true or not, Brewer’s commentary plays into the idea that paints the Clippers, in their current state and all past iterations, as a franchise that’s mentally weak. Having one two straights games to tie the series 3-3, momentum was on the Rockets’ side, and had homecourt advantage to welcome them home for the then-biggest game of their seasons.
I’d rather not argue how ones brain functions under pressure without a psychiatrist at hand but losing two straight playoff series (2014 vs. Thunder, 2015 vs. Rockets) despite once leading after three games isn’t a good look for the Clippers in context of the conversation.
This is where the Paul Pierce signing comes into play. Under the idea the the Clippers are mentally fragile, adding the championship-experienced Paul Pierce, who has a reputation for being a killer in big moments, will hold a lot of weight when evaluating where the Clippers can go this season — some think they’re again destined for a second-round ceiling while others believe they’re a top-5 team who can break past the described ceiling and reach where the franchise has yet to go.
With the Rockets and Clippers expected to return as top teams in their conference — and the NBA as a whole — the chances of a playoff rematch come 2016 is real. So basically, what we may have on our hands is the brewing of another Clippers-related NBA rivalry.
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