L.A. Clippers “Lob City” Ascension Comes Slowly

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The Los Angeles Clippers will always be defined as the second team in the nation’s second largest market. They share a home (Staples Center) with their NBA brethren Lakers and the Kings of the NHL.

Take a look at the banners and retired numbers displayed in the upper reaches of Staples: Lots of Lakers and Kings stuff, no Clippers stuff. Or go through the statue plaza at the main entrance. There are monuments to Laker legends Magic JOhnson, Chick Hearn, and Jerry West. The Kings have Wayne Gretzky in bronze; right by him is boxer Oscar de la Hoya.

The Clippers have……no one. That’s why you have to remember change comes slowly. With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin LAC has the best inside-outside combination in the game. But they also have a rough history to overcome.

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Who could the Clippers even memorialize in a statue? Danny Manning? Chris Kaman? The Clippers Spirit Dance Team?

You gotta know your history in order to know where you’re going.

The team has only had six winning seasons in its entire history, which spans 41 years. And only two years above .500 since moving to Los Angeles in 1984. They have never won a division title nor gotten past the second round of the NBA playoffs.

In the early ’90s I recall a stand up comedian once joking “people will break into your house to leave you Clipper tickets.”

My how things have changed. The Clips really are the hottest ticket in town.  So I went and paid the scalper mark-up to check a game out. I took my trusty Droid Bionic, which Verizon let me. The device provides all the photos you see in this post.

The long layoff of the NBA season combined with the CP3 trade has raised expectations through the roof.

Losses to the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls and wins over the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers put them at 2-2 this young season.

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The new nucleus needs time to develop. Griffin and Paul need time to gel with one another. Caron Butler is a nice third piece. DeAndre Jordan could develop into a player in this league. But don’t expect things to change drastically overnight. For them to be 2-2 at this point makes perfect sense to me.

And then you have to remember Vinny Del Negro is their coach. He’s the NBA equivalent of Ron Zook and will cost them a couple games here and there. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Clippers struggled to close teams out this year. Like they did last night.

There was a lot of visiting fans in attendance for this home game, as the Oregon Ducks are in the Rose Bowl today. Lots of fans in Blazers red/black and OU green/yellow. L.A. had the Blazers down 17 in the 4th quarter, yet the lead eroded down to 2 with 10 second left. That’s when CP3 made his second hero move of the game. He hit a long jumper with time expiring on the shot clock in the first half; drove to the whole from the perimeter to seal the win in the closing seconds.

He’ll be special; as will the Clippers. Perhaps the “Lob City” mantra that’s been so quickly embraced is the perfect metaphor. It’s a really exciting play, but slow to develop.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I have received a Motorola Droid Bionic from Verizon Wireless free of charge, in return for my agreement to blog about my experiences with the Droid Bionic. Although I have a material connection to Verizon Wireless, any publicy stated opinions of Verizon Wireless and their products remain my own.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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