Monday, May 18, 2015

The Clippers Do What They Do

First things first, the Binge is indeed back. Yes, we took a year off. Yes, that happened out of the blue. Yes, we gave no warning. But to quote John Lennon or one of those other British guys that I don't pretend to love: life happens. I hope you enjoy what we provide, and in case you're wondering, we have indeed made an offer to Bill Simmons and are awaiting a response.

 Anyways, to understand the purpose of this post today about the Clippers, I need to tell a story about this guy I met in college. I will call him Davos like that guy in Game of Thrones . Now, Davos was one of those guys that you would see everywhere. Everybody seemed to know him, he would make an appearance at every party, and he was a friendly enough person for you to at least begin a conversation before you patiently hope for it to end. So one day, I see Davos at this party. We exchange hellos, and I ask him how he's doing. Davos responds by saying, "You know, I've been doin' what I do over in Vandy." Vandy is a dorm room but thats not important."doin' what I do". I repeat. "doin' what I do". What a fascinating phrase to explain what I was asking about. At first I thought it was a strange way to describe what he's been up to, but I've grown to love "do what I do." What do you do, Davos? Well, he plays a lot of pickup basketball, but shoots too much for his skill level. He's about the last guy you would text to see "what's going on tonight?", but still worthy of a text. And he's extremely comfortable at interacting with any group of people. That's Davos. That's doin' what I do.

 So how does doin' what I do translate over to sports and other figures Well for guys like Tom Brady, doin' what I do implies he will lead a go-ahead fourth quarter drive. LeBron James will find a way to have extremely impressive statistics (while not seeming overly skilled on the court) and ultimately winning. Derek Jeter will put together a great at-bat. Gerry McNamara will hit a big shot. Floyd Mayweather will win. Tony Soprano will evade the law then go to therapy. And Vinny Chase will get the girl. When they say doin' what I do, that's what they do.

 The Clippers have a different narrative. Like a mid 20's backpacker in Europe, the hot-headed younger brother in LA has officially found themselves . After the Game 6 choke and the early setback in yesterdays Game 7 in Houston, it is clear if the Clippers were to tell you they are "doin what they do", then it is safe to assume that they are underperforming, cracking under pressure or shriveling from the moment. It did seem a little different this year after the Game 6 win in San Antonio followed by the Game 7 win at home, but even then it seemed like they put that first round matchup way too high on a pedestal. Maybe not Doc Rivers or Chris Paul, but the reaction and celebration made it seem like winning a first round series in a dramatic way was enough. Yes, the quotes and the comments from players suggest that's not true, but like every woman in all of our lives has said, actions speak louder than words. Getting outscored 40-15 at home in the final quarter of a clincher speaks louder than anything Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan can say in a press conference. The Clippers probably thought that the experience and influence of Doc Rivers could change their "do." But, it really didn't. Maybe Doc was enough to overcome the deficit they had verse the Spurs, but I suppose he is not enough to overcome the fact that 80% of home teams win Game 7's. Lastly, and most importantly, at the center of this is the Clippers best player: Chris Paul. Arguably the best point guard the past ten years in the NBA, CP3 has never made a conference finals. In college, he never made it beyond the Sweet Sixteen despite having Wake ranked #1 in the nation at one point. It is sad to see this as his fate and legacy, but barring a big 3 team-up, this is who Chris Paul is, and this is what Chris Paul-led teams do. They show up to every class, do well on tests, then bomb the final. They puke at the end of a long day filled with drinking. They miss the free throw to get next on the court. They can't pee in a crowded bathroom.

 So in the end, unlike my man Davos, we don't need to ask the Clips or Chris Paul how they're doing. Because even if the response was that witty "doin' what I do", it still wouldn't be good.