The Clippers anesthetized themselves against failure before it happened rather than afterwards. But what is on the other side of their schadenfreude? Whose good time has been ruined?
The flip-side of the Clippers' epic demise is the joyful rise of one of the league's youngest, most unique teams.
Toronto took two steps back when Kawhi exited, but still flourished, nearly every player on the roster improving to compensate for a loss they couldn't totally overcome. They did their job; they'll realize that once this fresh failure stops smarting.
The Bucks will stew in professional failure, consider what went wrong and what might get worse, in the coming year. After that period of unpleasant reflection, they can dream about what might improve, because that's a possibility too. Giannis is still in Milwaukee.
A component of small ball is a type of player that is very hard to find: a floor spacer with the requisite size to keep the team from being destroyed in the paint and on the boards as well as the quickness to switch everything.