Blake Griffin explains what led to downfall of Lob City Clippers
The “Lob City” LA Clippers were one of the great NBA teams of the 21st century to never win a championship. Now one of the stars of that team is explaining what he thinks went wrong for them.
Brooklyn Nets big man Blake Griffin appeared this week on JJ Redick’s “Old Man and the Three” podcast. Griffin and Redick were teammates on the Clippers for four seasons from 2013 to 2017.
During the episode, Griffin said that he thought it was a lack of mental toughness, rather than bad chemistry, that led to the team’s downfall.
“I am in the camp where [I think] it wasn’t quite as bad as people tried to make it out to be,” said Griffin of the Clippers’ chemistry. “I really don’t think it was. Maybe towards the end, maybe like when some other things happened. But that’s not the reason we didn’t win a championship.
“I think it was when we were at Oklahoma City for Game 5 [in the 2014 playoffs] and we were up and we just tricked off that lead,” Griffin added. “Our mental toughness needed to be better after that. Like to me, it wasn’t pettiness like I keep saying. But it was just like, we were so deflated by that game that we couldn’t pick ourselves back up to come home and win and then force a Game 7.”
Griffin and Redick also agreed that 2014 and 2015 were their best shots to win a title, before the total ascendance of the Golden State Warriors and the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers. In both years, the Clippers collapsed bewilderingly in Round 2 of the playoffs. In 2014, they blew a crucial Game 5 on the road to the Thunder that would have put them up 3-2 in the series, as Griffin hinted at. Then in 2015, they went up 3-1 on the Houston Rockets, only to squander that lead and lose the series in seven games.
In the years since the breakup of the band, much has been made of what ultimately doomed the Lob City era. Some members of the team believe that it was immaturity. Others suggest that it was a lack of leadership. But Griffin thinks that it was simply a lack of poise that did in the Clippers in the end.