Warriors

Is Clippers' 3-1 choke to Nuggets worse than Warriors in 2016?

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By losing Game 7 of their Western Conference semifinals series to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, the Clippers became the 13th team in NBA history to blow a three-games-to-one series lead.

The Warriors infamously lost three straight games to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, becoming the first team ever to surrender a 3-1 series lead in the NBA Finals.

So which collapse is "worse?" Who "choked" the most?

"The Warriors and Steph (Curry) blew a 3-1 lead but at least they did it to the greatest player of all time (LeBron James)," Nick Wright said Wednesday morning on Fox Sports 1's "First Things First" show. "These guys (the Clippers) blew a 3-1 lead with big leads in the second half of all three of the closeout games to a team with zero combined Finals appearances."

You honestly can make a strong argument for both sides.

For the Warriors, there was a lot more on the line when you consider the fact they had won an NBA-record 73 games during the 2015-16 regular season, and the majority of the basketball world have anointed them as the best team of all time had they won the title (plus Steph Curry became the first ever unanimous MVP).

Golden State certainly had some things go against them -- Draymond Green's suspension, Andrew Bogut hurt his knee in Game 5 and missed Games 6 and 7, Steph Curry and Andre Iguodala were banged up -- and Wright's point about losing to LeBron is a key variable as well.

 

For the Clippers, they were the most talented team on paper, and the favorites to win it all. They mortgaged the future last summer to acquire Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and the expectations for the franchise never were higher.

They did experience some legitimate adversity over the last couple of months, as Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and Pat Beverley all dealt with family tragedy. And let's be honest -- the circumstances surrounding the resumption of the season in the bubble were unprecedented and cannot be ignored. In fact, some assigned an asterisk to this year's champion before the seeding games even began in late July. Others consider what's happening in Orlando "not totally real."

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So one could argue that all of these factors are substantive excuses from a Clippers perspective. Yes, it will be easy for many people always to remember the epic defeat because it happened in the bubble, and that will stand out in minds forever. 

On the flip side, it would be understandable to say the Warriors' collapse is worse or more memorable simply because it happened on basketball's biggest stage.

Ultimately, the topic is subjective. Opinions will vary and could change over time. Just remember that it's OK to "agree to disagree," and be respectful when engaging in these sorts of conversations with friends and family.

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