For those who don’t know, though I’m a born and bred New Yorker, I’ve spent the last decade-plus in Los Angeles. While here, I’ve adopted the Clippers as my sad, pathetic little brother to encourage. That resulted in my creating the site FullyClips.com for the FanSided Network here before I got promoted up to the big leagues and was given the Knicks’ site. For my first post on this site, I did a piece on The Smackdown Battle For Title Of The Past Decade’s Worst NBA Franchise. Much to Isiah Thomas’ chagrin, I gave the award to Donald Sterling’s Clippers. Although to be fair to Isiah, he only had a few years of being in charge to screw up the Knicks, versus Sterling had the entire decade (& more). I’m sure if Isiah had a larger time frame in which to work his (black) magic, he could’ve stunk up the joint just as poorly as The Donald did.
Surprisingly, one thing I never examined was the head-to-head record between the two teams. It turns out that before yesterday’s victory, the Knicks had never beaten the Clippers at the Staples Center here in LA. Yup, during the entire Aughts, our New York Knickerbockers had never won in Los Angeles. Their last victory was in 1998 with Jeff Van Gundy as coach and centering around Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston and Larry Johnson, and it was at the LA Sports Arena. Dang, that was a while ago. I don’t even know where the LA Sports Arena is/was.
Last night, however, the curse was broken. Well, at least the streak was ended, ‘cuz both these franchises still seem cursed. However, despite both teams’ seasons being over, it was a hard fought game with the crowd getting really into it. And while usually half the fans at a Clippers game are there for the other team, the hometown fans were definitely the vocal majority (although a friend of mine said he saw lots of Italian fans who were there for Danilo Gallinari).
Other Interesting Bits:
-It was a battle of royalty as the Clippers’ had a Baron (Davis) while we had a newly hired Barron on a 10-day contract. Although ours’ misspells his name, we still royally out-rank ‘em as our Barron’s first name is Earl. Aside from sounding like an introduction between two Victorians, Earl Barron had a really nice showing for us. The seven-footer looked comfortable out there. In eighteen minutes he went 5-of-9 for 10 points, with six rebounds, an assist and a plus/minus of plus five. If he keeps playing solid for the remainder of the season for us, perhaps he can be a low-end filler for next year’s roster. It’s win-win for both us and him if can take advantage of his time here.
-After Friday’s good showing, Chris “I’m Not Dead Yet” Duhon took back his old spot as starting point guard. He was solid, hitting 2-for-2. His playing time however did not cost rookie Toney Douglas much, as Toney Tone still got in for 30 minutes.
-Tracy McGrady was out again, injured. As a result, Bill Walker slid over to starting shooting guard, and Al Harrington started at forward.
-Despite TMac’s absence which should’ve opened up more minutes at the swing position, J.R.Giddens didn’t get off the bench for just the second time in the last nine games. I haven’t heard about an injury, so my guess is that Coach Mike D’Antoni’s just been fed up by Giddens’ inconsistency and is trying to send a message. Giddens is supposed to be a defensive stud, but he’s been all over the place whenever he’s been on the court. He’d be wise to follow in the footsteps of His Honor Prince Earl Barron and realize he’s being given a unique audition here. That doesn’t mean you go out there and do whatever ya want, it means you show how you can be a real team player, willing to do whatever it takes.
-I dunno if the Shooting Guards got together and made fun of D’Antoni’s momma or something, ‘cuz Eddie House also didn’t get off the pine. Actually, none of the guys who played at the Two last night were legit shooting guards. There were all either SFs like Walker or PGs like Toney Douglas and Sergio Rodriguez. Is D’Antoni trying to make some comment about our team’s “Shooting?” Maybe next game he’ll give all the power forwards a break to prove that we’ve lacked power in our games? I dunno.
-Lastly, the Clippers’ Rasual Butler made franchise history by hitting the most threes in a season (139). To do it, eleven of his twelve shots were from three-point land. He made only three of ‘em. Seems like a dubious honor. Sure, jack up enough longballs and ya make more than anyone else, but if it don’t add to yer team’s victories then yer just taking tons of low percentage shots for your own personal gain.
Tags: Al Harrington Allan Houston Baron Davis Bill Walker Chris Duhon Earl Barron Eddie House J.R. Giddens Jeff Van Gundy LA Sports Arena Larry Johnson Los Angeles Clippers Mike D'Antoni Patrick Ewing Rasual Butler Sergio Rodriguez Staples Center Toney Douglas Tracy McGrady