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Clippers have unprecedented mix of sustained regular-season success, playoff failure

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There have been 58 six-season streaks, many overlapping, of a teams winning more than 60% of its games each year.

Most of the six-season sets have produced multiple championships, and almost three-quarters saw at least one title. Three-quarters of the six-season sets also saw multiple Finals appearances. Nearly four-fifths featured at least three appearances in the conference finals (or, prior to that, the division finals). Fifty-five included multiple conference/division finals, and two more had one.

And then there are the Clippers.

In the last six years, the Clippers have gone 40-26 (61%), 56-26 (68%), 57-25 (70%), 56-26 (68%), 53-29 (65%) and 51-31 (62%). Championships: 0. Finals: 0. Conference finals: 0.

The latest letdown came with a home Game 7 loss to the Jazz yesterday.

Like several other years, the Clippers had a seemingly legitimate excuse. Blake Griffin was injured. Last year, both Griffin and Chris Paull got hurt in a first-round loss to the Trail Blazers. In 2015, Josh Smith and Corey Brewer got hot on 3-pointers as L.A. blew a closeout Game 6 to the Rockets. The Clippers didn’t have a better record than the teams that beat them in 2012 (50-16 Spurs), 2013 (56-26 Grizzlies) and 2014 (59-23 Thunder).

It was also easier to reach a conference/division finals in earlier eras. There were fewer teams and fewer playoff rounds.

But don’t let the Clippers completely off the hook. Why did they so lifelessly blow Games 5 and 7 after going up 3-1 in 2015? They had the same record as Memphis and home-court advantage in 2013. The Clippers never even lost to the team that reached the Finals, and with the Jazz set to face the Warriors, that doesn’t project to change this year.

Perhaps we’re unfairly criticizing the Clippers for winning in the regular season. If they had lost a little more from late October to mid April, they would have avoided this particularly infamy.

However, this is also a team with Paul, Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Those stars (even if Jordan didn’t become one until during this run) deserve high expectations.

Fair or not – and I’d say fair – this feels like a team that has significantly underwhelmed.

And the feeling matters. It will hover over the Clippers’ uncertain future, with Paul, Griffin and J.J. Redick hitting unrestricted free agency. They’ll each have plenty to evaluate, but the Clippers’ historically disappointing run is impossible to escape.

Here’s every stretch of a team winning more than 60% of its games each season, with the number of titles, Finals and conference/division finals during each streak:

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Bulls claim PG Kay Felder off waivers

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The Bulls’ point-guard position is a quagmire.

Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne are both injured (and not necessarily good). Jerian Grant is maybe an adequate backup pressed into starting. Ryan Arcidiacono is on a two-way contract.

Enter Kay Felder.

Bulls release:

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived forward Jarell Eddie and center Diamond Stone, and claimed guard Kay Felder off waivers.

Felder was waived by the Hawks, who acquired him in a salary-dump trade from the Cavaliers. Cleveland drafted Felder No. 54 last year, but ran out of roster spots this year.

Felder is only a moderate prospect. He impressed in the D-League, but at 5-foot-9, he has significant limitations. (His size also makes him incredibly fun to watch when he gets rolling.)

For Chicago, he’s a quite-noteworthy addition.

LeBron James: ‘I still got Pandora with commercials’

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Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.

LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.

LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:

No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.

LeBron – he’s just like us!

As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.

PBT Extra: LeBron as MVP and other NBA postseason award predictions

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Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.

In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).

Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.

Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury

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Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.

Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.

Jazz release:

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.

After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).

The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.

Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.