LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The elder statesman of the Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t help but pile on after his team’s crosstown rival Clippers completed their historic meltdown Tuesday night, getting eliminated from the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets.
“The Lakers will always own Los Angeles!! It will never change,” Magic, a five-time NBA champion, tweeted.
The heavily favored Clippers, looking to finally shed the “little brother” label which has haunted their franchise, were up 3-1 in their second round series against the Nuggets when they collapsed, losing three straight games, this despite holding double-digit leads late in two of them.
The @Lakers will always own Los Angeles!! It will never change 😁
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 16, 2020
Denver had also rallied from a 3-1 series deficit in round one against the Utah Jazz, becoming the first team in NBA history to rally back from 3-1 twice in the same playoffs.
The Nuggets, and not the Clippers, will now face the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals which begins Friday.
“The Clippers choked again,” Magic wrote. “They choked against Houston in 2015 and they choked tonight against the Denver Nuggets.”
Magic was referring to the Clippers round two series against the Houston Rockets in 2015. The Clippers were up 3-2 in that series, also on the verge of advancing to the Western Conference Finals, when they lost a 19-point second-half lead in Game 6 at Staples Center on their way to losing the series.
The Clippers, who acquired superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the offseason in the hopes of finally righting the ship, will now have to go back to the drawing board. Construction begins in the summer of 2021 on a new Inglewood arena for the team, another step in the Clippers’ efforts to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in L.A.
However, that might be tough for a franchise which still never advanced to a Western Conference Finals in its 50-year history.