Well, now three of the four championship contenders are now out of the playoffs, the Raptors, Bucks, and now the Clippers. People wouldn't be complaining about the Clippers if they had put up a good fight against the Nuggets for the duration of the series, but they didn't. They were up 3-1 (we know the Nuggets are extremely good in these situations, but still) and they went scoreless for 7 minutes in the fourth quarter of game 7 when they had two of the NBA's top 10 players on the same team.
This is when it comes down to the two things I talk about all the time, effort and chemistry. You could be a great team, like the Clippers, and even have one of the best benches in the league, if not the best, but if you don't put in the effort and don't have a team chemistry, the chances of you even making it to the finals are very slim. I'm not just saying this stuff either, Doc Rivers and Lou Williams chimed in on the team chemistry too and credited their loss to their lack of team chemistry. As for effort, up 3-1 in the series, the Clippers thought they were going to win the series and move on so they got very relaxed. The Nuggets want this to happen and this is what they feed on. Once the Nuggets are rolling and they have their opponents on their heels, it is very hard to compete with this Nugget Team. If you were watching the Clippers, you could see that they didn't have a definitive starting lineup. They were always switching it up. This is never something that you want to have. As a coach, you want to know your players and know your rotation, and it is unclear what was going through Doc Rivers' head during the series. From his starting lineup to who came in from the bench, the rotation seemed to always be changing, and that's not something you want to have. The players need to be accustomed to each other, and like any team in the NBA or NFL, when there is constant change, the teams struggle to create chemistry and confidence on the court.
What can the Clippers do to improve from this? A culture change might be what's required for the Clippers as I said before, the chemistry was just off, and Lou Williams was willing to admit it. A lot of people say that the Clippers should fire Doc Rivers or break up some players on the bench, and I've even heard some people say that maybe they should break up Kawhi and Paul George. I personally think this is way too early to be judging the Clippers. Doc Rivers needs to make adjustments. There are only 12 times in history where teams have come back from being down 3-1. Doc Rivers has been the coach in 3 of those comebacks, and now, add another. Doc just needs to realize that he needs to make adjustments. This team has great talent, both on the offensive and defensive end and obviously this team has fantastic depth, the best in the league, Doc just needs how to use all that talent. I think if he and the rest of the coaching staff make the adjustments needed, not just stick with the same plan, they would make it much farther than they did this year. They don't need to fire anyone, they don't need to release or trade anyone, just make the adjustments, and they would be a much better team.