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It Ends Tonight

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It all comes down to this. One night. A grueling, six-month season, all decided in 48 minutes on the court.

Unfortunately for the Clippers, the court in question will be the Rose Garden in Portland, where the Golden St. Warriors play the Blazers. A win for the Warriors and they advance to the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. A loss opens the door for the Clips to potentially sneak in if they take care of business against the Hornets tonight at Staples. Since the Warrior game tips off a half-hour before the Clipper game, the Clips will be able to see their postseason lives unfolding in front of them on the out-of-town scoreboard.

We could wax poetic for hours on how the Clippers somehow beat Phoenix, the second-best team in the NBA playing their regular eight-man rotation, on the road last night, yet lost at home two days earlier to Sacramento, one of the weakest teams playing their young scrubs off the bench. This has been a microcosm of the season for the Clips: inconsistent effort and performance, leading to disappointing results. But it doesn’t matter now.

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The only thing that does matter is whether the Warriors can close the deal and take advantage of the gift opening that the Clippers gave them on Sunday. On paper, it seems like a safe bet. The Warriors have won eight of nine, including their last four by an average of 21 points per game. The Blazers have lost nine of twelve, and have most of their top players sidelined, including likely rookie-of-the-year Brandon Roy, Zach Randolph, and LaMarcus Aldridge.

What can give Clipper Nation hope is the fact that it’s the Warriors, a team that hasn’t been in this position in more than a decade, and has rivaled the Clippers in terms of recent ineptitude. Warrior fans may be supremely confident, but there’s always a fatalistic sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop. It would be somehow appropriate if the Warriors whittled away a season where they exceeded expectations by choking in their last game.

Yes, this is the sad state of being a Clipper fan. Depending on someone to commit a bigger choke than you. Now please excuse me while I go get my Baron Davis voodoo doll and pour myself a big glass of haterade.

AP photo by Paul Connors