The Dallas Mavericks might not be alone in their pursuit to humiliate the reeling Los Angeles Clippers. Perhaps karma has been chipping in, too.
In any case, the Clippers' decision to tank their final two regular season games in order to avoid an early-round matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers has backfired. Facing an ominous 0-2 series deficit to Dallas, they're on the brink of another playoff collapse. And ESPN insider Brian Windhorst still can't wrap his head around the Clippers' postseason strategy.
"The mindset that the Clippers came into the playoffs with was, in my view, unacceptable. And the mindset that they've come into these playoff games with, in my view, has been unacceptable," Windhorst told The DA Show on Friday. "Their lethargy on defense, their lack of knowing the type of intensity that you have to bring in a game -- you know, Game 2 was a must-win game -- I can't fathom and I can't believe it. And it goes back to the way this team was put together. They are a spectacular team on paper, but for various reasons -- some of which are easy to see, some of which are very hard to understand -- they do not play together like a championship team, most of the time.
"And Peter Vecsey, as I was growing up, in the New York Post, he used to call the Clippers, he would call them the "Paper Clips" as a way to rip them. And I can't think of a better nickname for this team right now, because they are great on paper, and they are absolutely average on the floor. And that is unacceptable... The difficulty I've been trying to figure out, as I've been talking to executives the last two or three days -- because they're all having this conversation, too -- what is the move that the Clippers make that can potentially improve their position?
"And it's a complicated one. There isn't an easy move... They have assets, but they don't really have good tradeable assets. So really, their best option is to dig in and turn this thing around right now, and play like the team that they're capable of. The problem is, how can anybody possibly expect that when they've routinely, over the last two seasons, fallen short of that goal?"
The fourth-seeded Clippers, which entered the playoffs with a league-high 43-percent chance to reach the NBA Finals, per FiveThirtyEight's projections, currently have a 19-percent chance to win the West, and a 12-percent chance to win the title.
Game 3 of their best-of-seven series will take place on Friday night in Dallas, with tipoff scheduled for 9:30 p.m. ET.
The entire NBA conversation between Windhorst and DA can be accessed in the audio and video players above.