Fresh off winning a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers, Jared Dudley described how he and his teammates reacted to the Los Angeles Clippers blowing a 3-1 series lead against the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs.
Appearing on The Bill Simmons Podcast on Wednesday, Dudley discussed what the feeling was after the Lakers saw their rivals fall: "We were laughing. We were laughing. In a sense like, 'I can't believe it.' I picked them to win Game 7; there's no way I thought they were gonna lose. Our whole mind was we gotta beat the Clippers. We want the Clippers; they wanted us."
Dudley added: "Those boys, they didn't want to be in the bubble. They didn't want to be there. And I don't blame them for certain times, but the world needed to see the Clippers and Lakers, and it was unfortunate that we didn't get to see that."
Entering the 2019-20 season, the Lakers and Clippers were essentially co-favorites in the Western Conference after both teams made huge offseason moves.
As expected, the Lakers and Clippers finished first and second in the West during the regular season, but fans were robbed of the anticipated Lakers vs. Clippers Western Conference Finals when the Clips allowed the Nuggets to overcome a 3-1 series deficit due largely to the play of guard Jamal Murray and center Nikola Jokic.
A Lakers vs. Clippers series would have been close to a pick 'em, but the Lakers were significant favorites against Denver, and L.A. won the series 4-1.
The Lakers then faced a plucky Miami Heat squad led by Jimmy Butler in the NBA Finals. The Heat faced no shortage of adversity, as All-Star center Bam Adebayo missed two games and guard Goran Dragic missed all but one.
Butler and Co. managed to win two games against all odds, but the Lakers ultimately claimed their first championship since 2010, with LeBron earning his fourth NBA title.
The loss to Denver didn't sit well with the Clippers organization, and it led to a significant change, as owner Steve Ballmer parted ways with head coach Doc Rivers after seven seasons.
Ballmer is seemingly hoping that a new voice on the sidelines will be enough to take a team with a core of Leonard and George to at least the Western Conference Finals.
The West belongs to the Lakers until further notice after their championship win, but any team led by Kawhi and George has a chance to be a threat. And the Clippers figure to be more motivated than ever next season after the way their 2019-20 campaign ended.