The Los Angeles Clippers entered the Western Conference semifinals against the Denver Nuggets as a title favorite. Instead, they're leaving the NBA's Orlando campus as just the 13th team in league history to blow a 3-1 lead and lose a playoff series.
Clippers bench boss Doc Rivers, who has now been on the losing end of three blown 3-1 series leads during his coaching career, took the blame for his team's defeat.
"We didn't meet them," Rivers said of his team's expectations, according to ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk. "That's the bottom line. I'm the coach, and I'll take any blame for it. But we didn't meet our expectations, clearly, because if we had, in my opinion, we'd still be playing."
Despite the disappointing result to close out the campaign, Rivers will return as head coach next season, sources told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes.
To add insult to injury, the Clippers were blown out in Tuesday's Game 7 against the Nuggets, mustering only 33 second-half points. Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George went scoreless in the fourth quarter.
"We just couldn't make no shots," Leonard said. "That's when it comes to the team chemistry, knowing what we should run to get the ball in spots or just if someone's getting doubled or they're packing the paint, try to make other guys make shots, and we gotta know what exact spots we need to be."
The loss denies fans an all-Los Angeles conference finals against the Lakers, which has been hyped since the Clippers added Leonard and George last summer.
"You know, just gotta carry over and get smarter as a team," Leonard said. "Get smarter. Basketball IQ got to get better."