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Clippings: The Clippers are making the wrong kind of history

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This series could go down in infamy for the Clippers.

Los Angeles Clippers v Denver Nuggets - Game Six Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

When the Clippers went up 3-1 on the Nuggets last week, there was a great deal of excitement about the team achieving a historical milestone: The Clippers were one game away from advancing to the franchise’s first conference finals.

That piece of history is still within reach, and the Clippers are as close to the conference finals as they were five days ago, but now the team is also perilously approaching the wrong kind of history.

Before Game 6, the Clippers were 5-0 in postseason franchise history when leading by at least 16 points at halftime. Denver was 0-15 when trailing by at least 16 points in a playoff game. There are no longer zeroes in either of those statistics.

The Clippers have lost all seven games when they had an opportunity to advance to a conference finals, the most in NBA history and second most among all major men’s professional leagues. Three of those losses came in 2015 when they blew a 3-1 lead to the Rockets. The Clippers wouldn’t be the only franchise to blow multiple 3-1 leads — Philadelphia and Phoenix have both done so twice — but they have the only coach who has suffered that feat more than once, and this would be a record third.

No team has ever come back from down 3-1 twice in the same postseason, but the Nuggets seem confident that they can flip the script. The Clippers are all too familiar with allowing big comebacks. As Jovan Buha of The Athletic noted after Game 5, the Clippers were tied for the league lead by blowing six leads of at least 15 points during the season. Now, they have sole possession of that distinction.

None of this will matter if the Clippers simply win Game 7. The circuitous route to the conference finals will pale in comparison to the destination. The Clippers entered this series as the better team; it’s time they started playing like it again.

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