It’s easy to believe the Los Angeles Clippers can’t do the impossible.
Trying to win a third NBA playoff series after trailing two games to none is pipe-dream, Hollywood-ending type stuff.
And given this franchise’s sordid history, it’s hard to wrap your head around them getting to the NBA Finals. Period.
After all, the team is in the Western Conference Finals for the first time. Yep, after 50 seasons in the NBA, the Clips finally got to the doorstep of a possible championship.
Somehow, they did it without their best player. Kawhi Leonard injured his knee in Game 4 of the previous series against the Utah Jazz.
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It spelled gloom and doom.
The Clippers won the final two games of the series without him.
And, again, somehow, the Clippers have a chance to tie this best-of-seven series against the Phoenix Suns tonight.
They need a victory in Game 6 at Staples Center to force a Game 7 in Phoenix on Friday.
For sure, most will count out the Clippers. The job is too big to do without the team’s biggest gun.
This Clippers team seemed destined to complete what they have started. Honestly, had they made a few free throws in two of the first four games in these conference finals, this series could have been over already in five games, with Leonard not playing a single game.
Yes, and for the record, the Clippers have actually outscored the Suns in points, but trail 3-2 in the series.
If the Clippers didn’t want to do this — move a piano up to the penthouse apartment — they could have easily buckled Monday night.
That’s when they heard the news that center Ivica Zubac would miss Game 5 with a knee injury.
It meant the Clippers were without Leonard, Zubac, and Serge Ibaka, who had back surgery after playing in just the Clips’ first two playoff games.
Talk about a stacked deck. They were staring at a guaranteed loss.
Instead, star forward Paul George turned in his best playoff performance ever when his team was in need of a hero, scoring 41 points on 75 percent shooting from the field — lifting L.A. to a comfortable 116-102 road win. It shocked the Suns, and their fans, who were ready to party like it was 1999.
For sure, most thought the Suns would wrap up the series at home and head to the Finals for the first time since 1993, when Charles Barkley was still playing in The Association.
Barkley’s Suns back then didn’t win the title. And perhaps this Suns team won’t even get there.
The Suns might not be ready for the pressure that goes with closing out a team in the postseason. That loss in Game 5 at home against a depleted Clippers team spoke volumes about where the Suns are. Winning a close-out game is a tough task, especially for a team with a young core.
Sure, the Suns have veteran point guard Chris Paul. But there is only one problem: Paul has stalled a few times in trying to push through to the NBA Finals.
Without question, on paper, the Suns have a clear advantage. They only need to win one game and the Clippers have to win the final two. L.A. has no room for error.
Still, it was the same way for the Clippers in the first two series. Everything looked bleak.
Remember, they lost Game 5 at home to the Mavericks, only to win Game 6 in Dallas and Game 7 in L.A. to advance to the second round.
Against Utah, they didn’t need seven games. After losing the first two contests, the Clippers won the next four, including Game 5 in Salt Lake City. Remember, the Jazz were the No. 1 seed in the West.
Clearly, the Clippers have lived by the motto: if it ain’t rough, it ain’t right.
Time and time again, they have come through. Why would this series be any different?
The Clippers can buck the odds and do the impossible once again. Toss logic out the window and believe in what you have seen from this bunch.