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The 25 best movie roles of Will Smiths career Prepaying your mortgage: How reducing your loan principal can lead to big savings Opinion: Clippers collapse vs. Nuggets stunning disappointment for team built to win now

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Los Angeles Clippers’ collapse was epic, a failure as stunning as it is disappointing.

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It began in Game 5, when they had a chance to eliminate the Denver Nuggets but wasted a 16-point lead.

The meltdown continued in Game 6 with the Clippers fumbling a 19-point lead.

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And it culminated in Game 7 with the Nuggets seizing control in the third quarter and demoralizing the Clippers in the fourth.

Denver became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit twice in the same postseason with a 104-89 victory over the Clippers in the final game of this Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday.

© Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports The Los Angeles Clippers sit on the sidelines during the second half of their Game 7 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets are a wonderful story.

The Clippers are not.

Maybe it's the franchise jinx. Or the curse of Donald Sterling. Whatever the reason, the Clippers have never reached the conference finals. They were one victory from playing the Lakers, one victory from reshaping the narrative in Los Angeles. 

They were a team built to win now. They signed Kawhi Leonard in free agency, acquired Paul George in a trade and gave up valuable assets to do so.

“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,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.

A Clippers-Lakers conference finals was an obvious prediction. It had all the makings of a dramatic series, but George offered a curious comment.

“It was obvious pressure to live up to the title expectations,” George said. “But as a player, you want that. Like, you want that. Again, it's the first time I've been in that situation where we're expected to win. But you know, it is what it is. It's no cop-out. Fact of the matter is, we didn't live up to that expectation.”

The blame can be parsed out. Rivers tried to shield his players from a majority of it.

But in a Game 7, a team needs to count on its top players to perform, and that didn’t happen. Kawhi Leonard, a two-time Finals MVP, was 6-for-22 from the field, and George was 4-for-16.

The Clippers’ two best players combined to score 24 points and shoot 26.3% from the field, and they didn’t score a point in the fourth quarter – 0-for-11 from the field.

“Well, Game 7s are a make or miss game, at the end of the day,” Rivers said. “I don't think it was those two, it was just as a group. It wasn't those two.”

They didn’t help though, and the team showed little fight as the Nuggets exposed the Clippers’ defense with precision offense, especially in the second half. That might be the most damning aspect of the loss. Denver knew it had the Clippers beaten, and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray said he knew it in Game 3.

Jamal Murray outscored both Kawhi and PG in Game 7. pic.twitter.com/IdFhyRJbt1

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 16, 2020

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Rivers didn’t want to make excuses, but he had reasons for the early exit. George and Leonard played just 37 regular-season games together. Montrezl Harrell missed 30 days inside the bubble to be with his family after the death of his grandmother. Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley missed two weeks of bubble time.

“Some of that came back and haunted us,” said Rivers, a championship coach whose teams have now blown three 3-1 series leads. “I thought conditioning, we kept having to take guys out because they were tired. We're in the playoffs, and you had to do it. Guys were asking to come out. But that's not typical for Game 7, but it is what it is. You had to do it. I thought it hurt our rotations at times.”

Perhaps, it was just a culmination of factors.

Earlier this season, The Athletic wrote a story detailing the Clippers’ chemistry problems. The organization was irate.

Yet, after the game, Clippers guard Lou Williams used the word chemistry five times. “Talent bailed us out, chemistry it didn't,” he said. “In this series, it failed us.”

George used the word twice.

“Internally, we've always felt, this is not a championship-or-bust year for us,” he said. “You know, we can only get better the longer we stay together and the more we're around each other. More chemistry for the group, the better. I think that's really the tale of the tape of this season. We just didn't have enough time together.”

Even Leonard, who also suggested the Clippers need to player smarter, used the word. “That’s what championship teams have, chemistry,” he said.

But how much time do they have to develop that chemistry? Harrell is a free agent after the season. George and Leonard, though both Southern California natives, can become free agents after next season.

In the NBA, a championship window is never open for as a long as team thinks it will be.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: Clippers' collapse vs. Nuggets stunning disappointment for team built to win now

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Tags: usa today sports the clippers the clippers dak prescott

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Stunning surfer Ellie-Jean Coffey ‘strips nude’ on XXX-rated website to earn cash after leaving cheating boyfriend

AUSTRALIAN surfer Ellie-Jean Coffey has surprised fans by opening an adults-only website.

The blonde beach babe, 25, revealed a subscription-based channel akin to the growing OnlyFans website.

2Ellie-Jean Coffey has opened her own adult website 2The Aussie surfer has over one million followers on Instagram

For just over £5 a month, Coffey advertises "uncensored content, private chat and more".

With over one million followers on Instagram, the surfer has outgrown her reputation on the waves.

Appearing in World Surf League’s qualifying series as a promising youngster, she could not quite make the big time in the sport.

And she is not the only one of her family to open an over-18s website after sister Holly-Daze created an OnlyFans style site of her own.

The four Coffey sisters - Bonnie-Lou, 19, Ruby-Lee, 20, Holly-Daze, 22, and Ellie-Jean, 25, are famous for sharing cheeky snaps on Instagram.

Ellie-Jean and Holly have even been nicknamed the 'Kardashians of Australian surfing'.

The website opening comes after Coffey fell into depression after discovering her boyfriend cheating on her, according to news.au.

She wrote online last month: "On the 5th of July 2019 my entire world shattered into a million pieces and I genuinely didn’t think I was going to be able to get back on my feet, I thought I was done.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ellie-Jean Coffey (@elliejeancoffey) on Aug 2, 2020 at 6:24pm PDT

View this post on Instagram

This girl is very special to me @rubyleecoffey

A post shared by Ellie-Jean Coffey (@elliejeancoffey) on Aug 21, 2020 at 11:25pm PDT

View this post on Instagram

Quadruple shots of Coffey ????????‍♀️????☕️ @fashionnova

A post shared by Ellie-Jean Coffey (@elliejeancoffey) on Jul 25, 2019 at 10:00pm PDT

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"I genuinely didn’t think I was going to be able to get back on my feet, I thought I was done.

"My brother and my father took care of me every single day when I cried pretty much from the moment I woke up, this went on for about three of the most excruciating months of my life.

"Eventually slowly the pain started to ease and my happiness returned better than ever."

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