Let’s go over the laundry list of what the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Clippers accomplished this year:
- .606: Their best winning percentage ever, years in Buffalo and San Diego included
- 40 wins: Their 8th highest total ever…even with only a 66-game season
- 2nd Place in the Pacific Division: Only the 2nd time they’ve ever finished that high (2006) in LA, and only the third time overall (1974-75)
- Wins a playoff series for the 3rd time ever
- Wins their first ever 7 game series
- Wins a playoff Game 7 for the first time ever
- 2 NBA All-Stars: Only the second time two players were ever selected to the All-Star team together (1976: Randy Smith & Bob McAdoo in Buffalo)
- 2 NBA All-Star Starters: The first time any Clipper was selected an All-Star starter, let alone two at the same time
- Chris Paul on 1st Team All-NBA: This isn’t official yet, but I would be incredibly surprised if Chris Paul wasn’t the first 1st Teamer since Bob McAdoo in 1976
- Breaks a 17-game losing streak in San Antonio, dating back to January 31st, 2002
- Breaks a 16-gamer losing streak in Utah, dating back to January 21st, 2004
In short, this has been the greatest Clippers season in their entire 42 year history, including their brief, but slightly more successful tenures in Buffalo and San Diego. A team who’s basketball plans always laid in the future, owner Donald Sterling finally had a squad that was ready for the present. Faced with unprecedented preseason expectations, the Clips in many ways exceeded them. Now merely dark horse pick to make a run to the NBA Finals, at one time many had lofty expectations that this team could be title contenders. They finished the season with 40 wins, good for a .606 winning percentage, slightly better than their 1974-1975 Buffalo Braves antecedents. Within those 40 W’s includes two wins that broke gigantic losing streaks in the fortresses of San Antonio and Utah, dating back nearly a decade.
Individually, two Clippers reached heights previously unimaginable by almost any duo in the past. Both Blake Griffin and the newly acquired Chris Paul (instantly the best player in franchise history upon the trade) were named All-Star starters. In Paul’s case, he’s a shoo-in for 1st Team All-NBA, with Griffin under consideration by many for 2nd or 3rd team honors. But even all the achievements as a team and as individuals couldn’t describe how prolific this particular season of Clippers basketball was.
The Griffin-coined “Lob City” was a nightly Sportscenter Top 10 highlight in waiting. With Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Mo Williams supplying the passes and DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin throwing down the dunks, the Clippers became “must-see TV” literally overnight. Griffin threw down buckets with a ferocity not seen since the days of the Reign Man, his epic flushes over Kendrick Perkins and Pau Gasol overshadowing how important both games were within the context of the season. Chris Paul, whose health had long been in question, seemed to not only be fully functional, but channeled the ghosts of Isaiah’s past. The Clips were winning, and spectacularly at that. Tickets for the red, white and blue suddenly (and shockingly) became the hottest in town. For years, Clippers seats were the ones you’d buy when your home team came to town and rather than splurge on halfway decent Lakers tickets, you bought lower bowl seats outside Staples Center for half face value. The Clippers tickets weren’t just a dime a dozen – they b… Read more...