All season long, the battle of LA between the Lakers and Clippers seemed like the inevitable Western Conference Finals matchup.
Both teams were built to win an NBA championship this year, and they were clearly the two best teams in the West all season. When the Clippers took a commanding 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals, everyone all but penciled them in for the date with destiny.
But Kawhi Leonard and Paul George couldn’t close out the series, and they were rightly trolled for it. Jared Dudley, who was watching Game 7 with the rest of the Lakers, said the team even had a good laugh about the Clippers’ brutal collapse.
The Clippers ruined the chance of the battle of LA in the WCF
No one gave the Nuggets a fighting chance once they went down 3-1 to the Clippers in the Western Conference Semifinals. Well, no one except the Nuggets.
Denver stormed back to force a Game 7, and at that point, they stole all the momentum in the series. The Nuggets used that momentum to blow out the Clippers in the second half to win Game 7, 104-89.
Leonard and George, who were brought to LA to lead the Clippers to a title, went a combined 0-11 in the fourth quarter and scored zero points as they crumbled to an embarrassing collapse.
The highly anticipated battle of LA crumbled along with it.
Jared Dudley said the Lakers laughed out loud after the Clippers lost Game 7
The Lakers made it to the Western Conference Finals with relative ease, and they were fully expecting to meet their LA rivals there. In fact, they didn’t even consider the possibility that the Clippers would lose to the Nuggets.
Jared Dudley recently appeared on The Bill Simmons Podcast and spoke about the Lakers’ reaction to the Clippers’ collapse. Suffice it to say they were entertained.
We were laughing. We were laughing in the sense like ‘I can’t believe it.’ I picked them to win Game 7 [vs. the Nuggets], there was no way I thought they were gonna lose. Our whole mind was, ‘we gotta beat the Clippers.’ We want the Clippers, they wanted us. It was the trash talking that happened; Pat Bev ‘check ball’ during the pandemic; Playoff P talking about he the best, him and Kawhi; Kawhi with the commercials and the crown; we’re seeing all these billboards up here. When we’re going to practice every day, there’s a Kawhi billboard. We see this billboard every single day. The world wants it, the world’s picking the Clippers. The Clippers are happy Avery Bradley didn’t show up to the bubble… So we were looking forward to that matchup, but it was just crazy. Seeing Paul George hit the side of the backboard, Kawhi not having it, but those boys didn’t want to be in the bubble. They didn’t want to be there. I don’t blame them for certain times, but the world needed to see the Clippers and Lakers, and it was unfortunate we didn’t see that.Jared Dudley
The Lakers got the last laugh
After watching the Clippers blow their chance to reach the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers had to regroup and prepare for a whole different opponent.
But LeBron James and company had little trouble with the feisty Nuggets. The Lakers won the series 4-1 and went on to beat the Miami Heat to win their 17th NBA title.
After all the Clippers have done to build a title contender in recent years, they’re still the little brother in LA until further notice.