Clippers players want to keep roster intact despite Game 7 loss

Clippers players want to keep roster intact despite Game 7 loss
Clippers center DeAndre Jordan walks off the court following the team's 113-100 loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals on Sunday. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Clippers were one win away from being considered successes.

They had already accomplished the improbable by knocking the defending champion San Antonio Spurs out of the playoffs in the first-round of a tough, seven-game series.


Then after they took a 3-1 lead over the Houston Rockets in their second-round playoff series, they were on the brink of reaching the Western Conference finals for the first time in their 45-year history. Some websites and pundits were even calling the Clippers the favorites to win the NBA championship.

The Clippers then lost three games in a row, allowing the Rockets to become just the ninth team in NBA history to recover from a 3-1 series deficit to advance to the next round.

That slip included a devastating Game 6 loss at Staples Center, during which the Clippers gave up a 19-point third quarter advantage and were outscored in the fourth quarter, 40-15. In Game 7, the Clippers never led and trailed by as many as 20 points.

Now the conversation has shifted from praising the Clippers' recent accomplishments to calling them major disappointments. Talk of blowing up the team has even commenced.

Tweeted Magic Johnson on Sunday: "I think the Clippers must make roster changes if they want to get to the Western Conference Finals and the NBA Finals!"

The Clippers' nucleus -- DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul -- has played together since Paul was traded to the team in December 2011. Each of those players are widely considered to be among the top players in the league at their respective positions, yet they can't seem to make it past the second round.

After the Clippers' 113-100 Game 7 loss Sunday, the Clippers' players made it clear that they have a different perspective and would like to give it another shot next season.

Said Paul: "Always want to keep us together."

Said Jamal Crawford: "We were one game away from the Western Conference finals."

Said Jordan, who becomes a free agent in July: "This is what I'm used to [being a Clipper] but, like I said, I'm not thinking about that right now."

Twitter: @melissarohlin