New Year’s Eve is usually a time of reflection, whether it is on where you personally are in your life, at work, with your family/friends or your relationship. Most people make resolutions on things they would like to achieve whether it is goals in their career/school or simple as eating different or going to the gym. The end of the year can also be a reflection on your year’s favorite moments in movies, sports or music but most importantly New Years is a time to start fresh.
In 2009, the Los Angeles Clippers won the lottery and had the right to pick first in the NBA Draft. The clear cut choice was a Sophomore from Oklahoma named Blake Griffin. The Clippers selected Griffin first overall and there appeared to be light at the end of a very long tunnel. Griffin looked great over summer and in training camp until he suffered a knee injury in the last preseason game of the year. Clipper fans have gone down this road with prior high picks not panning out like Michael Olowokandi or getting injured like Shaun Livingston and the Clippers seemed to be stuck as the jokes of the NBA. One year later Blake Griffin made his debut against the Portland Trailblazers and everything seemed to change. Griffin’s first two field goals were highlight dunks and by the nights end became the 2nd trending topic on twitter. The Clippers only won 32 games his rookie year but seemed to have pieces in place to make a run or a trade.
We all know the story, Chris Paul was traded to the Lakers and David Stern vetoed the trade for “Basketball Reasons” and ultimately was moved to the Clippers (Thank You Commissioner, Lakers ended up with Nash & Howard because of the “Basketball Reasons”).The Clippers lost 2 of their first 3 games but when the calendar changed to 2012 so did the identity of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers started 2012 winning 6 of 7 including wins over the Lakers and Miami Heat. The Clippers were having their most relevant season in years and seemed a threat in the West while leading the division thanks to the duo of Griffin and Paul. The Clippers then seemed to go back to being the JV team in Los Angeles by losing 3 of their last 4 games in the regular season to not only give the Lakers the Pacific Division but also lose the 4 seed and home court advantage in the first round to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Clippers were in the playoffs and in Game 1 seemed like they didn’t belong through the first 35 minutes. The Grizzlies were up 27 with a minute to go in the 3rd and fans became frustrated. I remember sitting at my friend’s house that I split my Clippers season tickets with watching the game and talking about how frustrated we were because when our team loses we get in a bad mood and upset especially this game because this seemed like a team destined to achieve long overdue success. Frustrations were at a seaon high due to our Lakers fans friends that were over, that watched the Lakers handle Denver in Game 1 earlier that day, laughing at the score from outside. Then the greatest comeback I have ever seen occurred. The Clippers went on a 26-1 run to take the lead and eventually won the game which seemed to erase year of futility in one quarter of basketball.
The Clippers had a 3-2 lead on Memphis going into game 6 which seemed to be a must win at the time. In typical Clipper fashion they lost the game but then shocked the Association with a game 7 win IN MEMPHIS! The Clippers advanced to the 2nd round and got swept by the top seed Spurs. The Clippers got a taste of the playoffs and the Clippers headed into the offseason with the most potential the franchise has ever had.
The Clippers offseason didn’t start off great. The team lost their GM, was unsure if Blake Griffin was going to sign his extension, traded or didn’t resign key members Reggie Evans, Nick Young, and Mo Williams. The Clippers acquired then Lamar Odom in the trade of Mo Williams but Odom was coming off his worst season in his career and signing Jamal Crawford also coming off his worst year. Griffin extended his contract 5 years to the max deal and added swingmen Matt Barnes, Grant Hill, with bigs Ronnie Turiaf and Ryan Hollins and lastly resigned Chauncey Billups. The Clippers were DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!
Expecations were high for this team that could easily go 10 deep and a full training camp together would only make things better. The Clippers started off the 2012-13 season hot going 8-2. They had a little bump in the road by losing 4 straight but haven’t lost since. The Clippers are going into 2013 with a 17 game winning streak. They were undefeated in the month of December and have the MVP favorite Chris Paul and have the best record in the LEAGUE. The Clippers are the hottest ticket in L.A. at the moment and the atmosphere has changed inside and outside of Staples Center. Two of music’s biggest names have been to the last few games. Kanye West attended the game on Christmas with his baby momma Kim Kardashian (Congrats by the way and cant wait for the album). Justin Bieber was at the next game babysitting Lil Chris Courtside. Billy Crystal gets to shamelessly plug both of his movies in theaters because of all the attention his beloved Clippers are getting. Fans like myself are wearing their Clippers apparel outside and not getting heckled but being congratulated.
2012 was the best year in the franchise of the Los Angeles Clippers. Magic Johnson who is Mr. Laker called the Clippers “Showtime”. The truth is they aren’t just lobs and dunks though. The team is top 5 in Offensive and Defensive Efficiency. The Clippers allow the 3rd fewest points a game and lead the league in differential with a whopping 10.1 per game. The 17 game win streak won’t go on forever because the team has much higher aspirations. 2013 will be even better than 2012 for the Los Angeles Clippers because they have the look of a team that can win 16 games in the playoffs and hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time.