SPORTS

Hype any team but the Clippers

There are certain teams as a sportswriter that you simply should not trust. Despite the way the Detroit Lions are playing, their fans won’t hesitate to tell you a size-14 steel-toe boot is about to drop at any moment. We all know what tortured souls I’m talking about so let’s spare them further anguish, and just single out the one that people are falling for, yet again: The Los Angeles Clippers.

For me to believe that the Clips, or a team with James Harden, are ever truly contenders, they’ll have to be up 25 with 3 seconds left in the clinching game of the NBA Finals. I don’t care if they swept through the first three rounds of the playoffs and are facing the Bucks without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, I wouldn’t ride with LA’s stepchild.

This may sound like I’m hating, and that’s probably 75 percent of it, but the other quarter is motivated by self-preservation. You know how many media members looked like complete morons for hitching their hopes to Aaron Rodgers this season? Innumerable. (The worst was probably Mike Greenberg and his Jets watch party that turned into a childhood reenactment of his most traumatic sports memories, but still, innumerable media members.)

I don’t care about Ty Lue’s rotations, Harden’s commitment to playing basketball, Kawhi Leonard’s resurgence, or whatever Paul George is doing well — the odds of only one of those stars being healthy and happy come April far outweigh this thing actually coming to fruition. This thing being a Clippers postseason run to an NBA title.

At 21-12, Los Angeles is doing what any team with that kind of talent should be doing. The Sixers were 26 games above .500 a year ago, had the league MVP, and Harden’s juju permeated like a burnt roux in a batch of gumbo. Philly went out in the second round, again. And we’re going to mix the Beard’s history of flameouts with a franchise as incompetent and unlucky as the Clippers?

While I’m hopeful for Billy Crystal and whoever attends Clippers games in blue and red, this isn’t about that. It’s a warning to fellow sportswriters and prognosticators to think twice, thrice, 100 times a lady before putting your belief in Santa Claus on the internet.

If I’ve learned anything about this job, it’s that people only ever remember your predictions if they’re flat-out awful. Well, that, and if you’re anonymous enough no one really reads or remembers. I could make the most off-base prediction — not editorial error — ever, and the only people who might say something are my coworkers, and the chances of that happening are 10-1.

So, really, I guess this piece was about firing strays at the Los Angeles Clippers all along. Alright then, job well done, onto the next take.


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