The Clippers beat the Dallas Mavericks in what was an interesting game. Interesting because to look at the final and box score one would be forgiven for thinking the Clippers dominated. The final score was 111-97 with the Clippers winning three out of four of the quarters and leading for most of the game. But, sometimes, the numbers don’t tell the full story. Honestly, most times, the numbers don’t tell the full story.
The game got chippy in a hurry with Marcus Morris Sr. and Luka Doncic getting tangled up after talking a lot throughout the game. In the play in question Luka made up his mind he was going to drive to the hoop and Morris Sr. decided that was not a good idea. Doncic put his shoulder into Morris’ chest and Morris decided to foul Doncic. The problem wasn’t the foul, but the follow-through when combined with the jawing that had occurred earlier. Morris, who was leading the Clippers in scoring at the time, hit Doncic on the head and sent him to the ground. Doncic was quick to get up and make the obligatory charge to the offending player and everyone else fit into their assigned “basketball fight” roles. Boban Marjanovic was the peacemaker and order quickly returned.
Then Morris was ejected!
As this played out I had no problem with the ejection. There was a play on the ball, but the follow-through was aggressive. Given some time to think about it however I was shocked to see how that play compared to the one in game Game 5 when Tim Hardaway Jr. fouled Paul George. The only difference I see is in the after-math. Hardaway Jr. raised his hand and walked away from George, acknowledging it was a hard foul. Morris Sr. didn’t acknowledge anything. He stared down Doncic and seemed to say with his body language that he got what he deserved. One was a flagrant 1 and the other was a flagrant 2.
See? Not much of a difference, right? Making matters worse, the only difference between a flagrant 1 and a flagrant 2 is the term “excessive contact”. If the referee feels there was unnecessary contact, thats a flagrant 1, if the referee feels that unnecessary contact came with an extra dose of “excessive-ness” then BOOM it’s a flagrant 2. When judging just the contact on both plays one would be hard pressed to find a difference. The referee should not take into account whatever happens after the play, just the play, just the contact.
I’m not sure the referees did that in this game, on that play.
But, the Clippers survived. As one would expect, that play energized the Mavericks who parlayed it into momentum and a few leads. The Clippers took the lead just before the halfway mark of the second quarter and never gave it up again. They win the series against a very good Dallas Mavericks team 4-2 and now face…their nemesis.
No, as I write this I do not know if they will meet the Denver Nuggets or the Utah Jazz in the second round. Neither the Nuggets nor the Jazz however are the Clippers nemesis. Fans of the team know that in their long history the franchise has never made it to the Western Conference Finals. The entertaining Lob City team came close, but had their dream dashed at the hands of Josh Smith and Corey Brewer. No, the Clippers nemesis is no team, its a standing. A place they have never been. A place they have been close to, could see, a place they have yearned for but never, ever reached. Their nemesis is the Western Conference Semi-Finals. A win there and the franchise will have reached heights never before attained.
This Clippers team doesn’t know about that history. I doubt any current layers care all that much. But the long suffering fans of the Buffalo Braves/San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers know and, believe me when i say, they care. In beating the Mavericks the Clippers have a chance to face their nemesis for the eighth time. They have never had a better opportunity to actually win than they do this season. Nuggets or Jazz, doesn’t much matter. For Clippers fans the team is just a component, the nemesis is the WCSF.
The Clippers are happy to be here, again!