The Los Angeles Lakers of the early 2000s were a force to be reckoned with, asserting their dominance over the league led by NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal and the late Kobe Bryant on the way to three NBA championships. However, those three championships would not have been possible without the late-game heroics of one Robert Horry, aka “Big Shot Bob.”
Not many people know playoff pressure like Horry; just ask the Sacramento Kings of 2002, whose championship dreams were shattered by that big shot, and quite frankly, the franchise never recovered.
Leaning on his experience, Horry had little to say about the Clippers’ championship aspirations in a Lakers pre-game show. At first glance, this could seem like a Laker legend simply refusing to acknowledge the other team in town. With the Clippers losing to a gritty but far less talented and experienced Knicks 106-100 despite having their star duo available to play that night, Horry could be on to something here.
“This has nothing to do with Ty Lue man, they are some pretenders!”
Horry referred to performances of the Clippers’ star duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in the 2020 NBA Playoffs that took place in last year’s bubble, insisting that this year’s performance by the two will be no different despite the stellar season the team is having so far with new head coach Tyronn Lue.
No one can dispute the Clippers' collapse against the Nuggets after blowing a 3-1 lead to the hungry Nuggets, and much of the blame still lands on Paul George. However, George has been on an absolute tear this year when healthy. This season, he posts averages of 23.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. More importantly, PG has elevated his play in big games with and without Kawhi Leonard in the lineup.
As someone who has delivered time and time again in big postseason moments, Big Shot Bob knows that the regular season is not the Playoffs, and he understands what it takes to win when it matters most. With key additions such as Serge Ibaka, Rajon Rondo, and most importantly, Ty Lue as the new head coach, the Clippers are hopeful that their story will have a different ending, this time with them raising the Larry O’Brien trophy in July.
Given the fact almost every NBA legend and reporter says "I don't believe it until they prove it in the Playoffs!” Horry is right to call the Clippers pretenders. We're going to find out if that will change in a few months.