Throughout the NBA season, the Western Conference seemed primed for a showdown between the Los Angeles squads with the right to play for a championship on the line. The Lakers held up their end of the bargain, dispatching of the Houston Rockets in the conference semis, and following Game 4 of their series against the Denver Nuggets, the Clippers boasted a 3-1 lead and every reason to believe they’d punch their ticket in due time.
And then, the meltdown happened. Denver ripped off three wins in a row, oftentimes in come from behind fashion, to beat the Clippers in seven games. It was shocking to watch and led to a major change in the organization, as the team parted ways with longtime coach Doc Rivers. But to their fellow Staples Center residents, the whole thing was extremely funny to watch.
Lakers veteran Jared Dudley appeared on Bill Simmons’ podcast and, among other things, discussed watching the Clippers bow out of the postseason. As he explained it, the whole ordeal was met with laughter in the team’s locker room.
“We were laughing. We were laughing, in the sense like, ‘I can’t believe it,” Dudley said, per The Score. “I picked them to win Game 7. There was no way I thought they were going to 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,” he continued. “Kawhi with the commercials, the crown, we’re seeing all these billboards up here. So when we go to practice every day, there’s a Kawhi billboard.”
Dudley did go on to say that he viewed it as “unfortunate” that we didn’t get the matchup “the world needed to see,” but posited that the Clippers didn’t really want to be in the Bubble. He is right that a Clippers-Lakers series would have been a blast to watch, we just might have to wait a year until it happens. And if it does, the Lakers will proudly stroll into that matchup as the defending champs.