Lou Williams and Paul George both pointed to the team’s chemistry as an issue for the Los Angeles Clippers in their early playoff exit this season.
The Clippers lost 104-89 to the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinals series on Tuesday night. The Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead and choked in the fourth quarter, putting up just 15 points in the frame.
The disappointing Game 7 and season left the Clippers answering questions after the loss. The team’s lack of chemistry was a major talking point.
“We came up short. We did have championship expectations. We had the talent to do it. I don’t think we had the chemistry to do it and it showed,” Williams said after the game. “We had lapses on defense and on offense. I think guys have played in systems where they were expecting guys to be in certain spots offensively. A lot of different guys made adjustments. It showed. But at the end of the day we were up 3-1 … we should have closed this deal out. You give credit to Denver. We take our lumps and keep moving.”
George pointed to the same issue.
“First year together … we can’t even say we want to change our roster; we like what we got. We’ve been saying it all year: just chemistry, being together. The more we’re together, the better we will be. It’s year one, year one. We’ve got a lot to reflect on.”
Even head coach Doc Rivers brought up the team’s lack of continuity.
Doc Rivers said he felt that multiple Clipper players missing time outside the bubble hurt the team's continuity and conditioning. He said several players were visibly gassed in Game 7, which isn't usually the case under normal circumstances.
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) September 16, 2020
The Clippers had their two star players join the team over the summer. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George took turns missing games in the regular season. Other players missed games too. Then you had players in and out of the Orlando Bubble at times too, including one who got punished.
None of that stopped the Clippers from building a 3-1 series lead against Denver, but when the going get tough, it may have kept them from powering through.