Clippers dystopia — Rising Bucks — Unruly NBA fans

Friday, May 28th, 2021

  The Opening Tip

  • What the hell are the Clippers going to do if they blow this series?
  • The Bucks are getting some serious revenge on the Heat. 
  • Are terrible fans having a moment?

Tonight's playoff games

1. Five unfortunate facts regarding the Clippers’ future

The Clippers face their first bout with existentialism tonight since their last bout with existentialism, which was, uh, seven months ago.

They’re down 0-2 to Luka Doncic and the Clippers, and play Game 3 tonight in Dallas in front of a near-capacity crowd. If they win, they still have a giant uphill battle just to make the second round.

If they lose, their season will be (basically) over and they’ll have to face a few uncomfortable realities, including …  

  1. The fact that they went all-in as all-in can get only two years ago, which will have earned them one playoff series win, a blown 3-1 lead in 2020, and a first-round exit in 2021. 
  2. That Kawhi Leonard can become a free agent after this season. And no one -- n-o o-n-e -- knows what Kawhi will do. 
  3. That they’re roster -- because they traded five first-rounders and two pick swaps to OKC for Paul George -- isn’t going to significantly improve on the margins. 
  4. That they owe Luke Kennard and Marcus Morris a combined $128 million from 2021-25. Kennard hasn’t played against Dallas and Morris is shooting 29 percent for the series. 
  5. That we wrote in April that the Clippers could win it all this year because, “Why not the Clippers?” (Actually, that’s our own existential crisis. We’ve hired an in-house psychologist to deal with the fall out. He says we need to focus on our impulse control.)

FWIW, the Clippers enter tonight 2.5-point favorites.

[READ: Ty Lue says Game 3 will show what the Clippers are made of]

2. Daily GIFEric Bledsoe would not have made this

After another blowout win last night, the Bucks are up, 3-0, over the Heat. The glaring difference between this year and last year has been Jrue Holiday, who is thriving by virtue of being good at NBA basketball, and also by not being Eric Bledsoe.

His stat line last night: 

  • 19 points on 10 shots, 2-of-4 from 3, 12 assists, +41 -- the highest by a Buck since 1997. 

Also: If you want to see truly elite individual defense, watch #PlayoffHoliday shadow the opposing team's best guard for 30 minutes a night. It's breathtaking. 

On the other side, the Heat are shooting 38 percent from the field and 33.6 percent from 3.

[READ: The Bucks aren’t just beating the Heat, they’re humiliating them]

3. Trivia time

Who is the Bucks’ all-time leader in points scored?

Answers at the bottom.

4. We are calling for a total and complete shutdown of NBA fans entering arenas until we can figure out what is going on

Photo courtesy of SB Nation.

These four stories involving shitty fans have all broken/happened in the last two days:

  1. A 76ers season ticket holder poured popcorn on Russell Westbrook. He was banned for life. 
  2. A grungy Knicks fan actually spat on Trae Young. ("We come here to play basketball, not to get spit on,” said Clint Capela, in the all-time why does this have to be said quote.)  
  3. Three Jazz fans were banned indefinitely for “heckling” Ja Morant’s family at Wednesday’s Memphis-Utah game. By heckling, we mean they said racist and sexually explicit things to Morant’s family. (“My family should be able to cheer for me & my teammates without getting inappropriate shit said to them," tweeted Ja Morant, in the other all-time why does this have to be said quote.) 
  4. A $100 million lawsuit filed by two Jazz fans against the Jazz and Russell Westbrook was tossed by a Utah Judge. The fans alleged “defamation and infliction of emotional stress” after being kicked out of a game for heckling Westbrook. Losers.

Plus, there was Kyrie Irving’s (questionably-timed but many times validated) “subtle racism” claim against some Celtics fans on Tuesday.

What’s causing this? Well, this is the first time since the pandemic that many thousands of NBA fans have been allowed into arenas. Combine that with the high-pressure moments of the playoffs, and you get the three pillars of human nature: Cheap shots when you know the victim can’t hit you back, spitting, and racism. These people are just lucky Vernon Maxwell is retired.

5. Some housekeeping on every other series we haven’t mentioned

No. 1 76ers vs. No. 8 Wizards -- 76ers lead, 2-0 -- We thought this series would be a little better. At least we got Joel Embiid dry-humping air.

No. 2 Nets vs. No 7 Celtics -- Nets lead, 2-0 -- From the Boston Globe: When Kyrie Irving returns to TD Garden, be at your loudest. But also be at your best.

No. 4 Hawks vs. No. 5 Knicks -- series tied, 1-1 -- Julius Randle is shooting 28.2 percent from the field and the Knicks aren’t in an 0-2 hole. That’s a good sign, but he’s got to get it together.

No. 2 Suns vs. No. 7 Lakers -- Lakers lead, 2-1 -- Before this postseason, LeBron had gone on to win 11-of-15 postseason series in which he lost Game 1. It seems like this one might be his 12th.

No. 3 Nuggets vs. No. 6 Trail Blazers -- Nuggets lead, 2-1 -- Forgive us for saying this, but this Blazers team, Damian Lillard and all, is starting to feel a little stale. Austin Rivers(!) helped close out the win for the Nuggets last night.

6.  Quick hits

  • Tristan Thompson, on the idea of being spat on: "I dare a motherfucker to spit on me. I'll follow you right to your house."
  • By this stat, Nikola Jokic has been Jordan-esque to start the postseason. 
  • Devin Booker got a cheap shot on Dennis Schroder last night. 
  • TNT put a 10-second free throw clock on Giannis’ attempts from the line last night. 
  • Shout out to Chris Paul for being able to trip an opposing player and also bait the ref into giving the opposing player a foul. 
  • Last night’s playoff win for LeBron, who has a title with the Lakers, was his first at Staples Center.

7.  Reads and podcast pick

  • The latest Luka leap is very real [ESPN]
  • Trae Young brings the noise [The Ringer]
  • Don't clown Kyrie Irving's mental health days. I wish I'd done the same during my pro hoops career. [SFGate]
  • Recent fan altercations + Kyrie Irving’s return to Boston [The Right Time with Bomani Jones]

Trivia answer:  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (14,211)


That's the buzzer.
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