Source: (Hashtag Basketball - Brian Han)
(LOS ANGELES, Calif.) -- Hollywood couldn't write a sadder ending to the Los Angeles Clippers' postseason.
But all true fans of this team are optimists deep down.
You have to be if you're still on this burning ship after decades of disappointment.
At this moment, their season isn't technically over. They haven't lost their final game of the season yet as the title so bleakly suggests, but Game 6 is going to be just like the ending of "Old Yeller."
The Portland Trail Blazers will take the Clippers into their own backyard, also known as the Moda Center, and put them out of their misery.
It's a reminder that expectations are a funny thing.
In 2015, the Clippers captured the attention of NBA fans after a valiant first round series victory over the reigning champs, the San Antonio Spurs.
They faltered in spectacular fashion during the following round by failing to close out a 3-1 series lead against the Houston Rockets, who we now know are as dysfunctional as they come.
So the team improved their bench during both the offseason and the regular season to address a critical weakness. The future looked brighter despite missing one of its star players in forward Blake Griffin for over 50 games.
Then the 27-year-old rejoined his squad just before the playoffs and all was right in Southern California.
They went on a 7-0 run with Griffin back, which included two postseason wins over Portland.
Expectations grew even further.
Then the Clippers inevitable second round opponents, arguably the best team ever in the NBA's history, the Golden State Warriors had their star player go through a series of freak injuries.
Guard Steph Curry raced down the court to get back on defense, slipped on sweat and banged up his knee.
As callous as it might sound, it increased the Clippers' chance of advancing past the second round of the playoffs, a feat never achieved by the team.
Expectations reached their highest point.
Then in one fell swoop, all the negative karma that former team owner Donald Sterling brought upon the franchise during his tenure took down the team's two best players -- Griffin and guard Chris Paul.
Paul, the team's unequivocal leader broke his hand on someone else's jersey. Griffin reaggravated his quadricep injury after a jump shot of all things.
That is the basketball equivalent of getting rabies apparently.
But back to the first point. Clippers fans are inherently optimists.
The Portland Trail Blazers are the original underdogs and to see them go further in the playoffs than any single critic would have realistically expected is an exciting turn of events.
The Golden State Warriors will have the best shooter in history return to their squad soon and the team will be a blast to watch as they continue to mow down opponents.
And guess what, if you're a true Clippers fan, you know how bad this team once was.
After all, every dog has its day. It's just a matter of patience and that's something this fan base has plenty of.