So, the Los Angeles Clippers were facing Denver Nuggets in the 2nd round of the Western Conference playoffs and they end up getting eliminated after a 3-1 lead.
I have to say that is tough. Speaking of Kawhi, I think he just created more pressure for himself by challenging LeBron and calling him out in those advertisements when there was absolutely no need for it. Well, maybe he did it for fun just for marketing purpose or perhaps as an entertainment for fans. But, most likely when you are calling out people like that, you have an added pressure on yourself to win. I feel that this is nothing but detrimental to your success. We witnessed it with Kawhi this time.
For some reasons, Kawhi was being compared to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Last year, he won the championship with Toronto. Things manifested in such a way that the path to him becoming an NBA champion became extremely smooth. Well, I mean the Raptors had trouble getting past the 76ers. Raptors were even down 2-0 to the Bucks which they ended up winning. But, Kevin Durant got injured last year at the worst time for the Warriors and so did Klay Thompson. So in that sense, he did sort have an easier time winning the championship.
However, it was different this time coming into the playoffs. With the Raptors, Kawhi was yet to form an image as a champion. The pressure was not really on him because he did not have anything to loose. He had been a Finals MVP and a champion with the San Antonio Spurs, but he wasn’t considered on the same level as Kevin Durant or LeBron James at that time. Winning the championship with the Toronto Raptors caused people to think of him as the next Michael Jordan. Max Kellerman even went on to say that Kawhi is better than Kobe Bryant in clutch situations.
His style of play is pretty similar to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Shooting mid range jumpers, fadeaways, footwork etc is all inspired by Michael Jordan. Analysts talked about Kawhi being a cyborg, a terminator, emotionless etc. We all thought that Kawhi would bounce back from the loss with the Denver Nuggets but they ended up loosing the series after being up at a 3-1 lead. I don’t think Michael would have ever let that happen. So, everything aside we know that Kawhi can loose under pressure. In fact, anyone for that matter can.
Hopefully, Kawhi will bounce back stronger after this loss.