It really was fun while it lasted for the Clippers - latimes.com
It really was fun while it lasted for the Clippers
They hang in there with enthusiasm and effort before falling to San Antonio and being swept from the playoffs. When was the last time anyone described the Lakers as enjoyable or full of effort?
By T.J. Simers
May 20, 2012, 11:20 p.m.
I'm sitting here watching a game the Clippers have no chance of winning and it's still a hoot.
Who gets up for a game when already down three games to none to the Spurs and losing the last one after being up by 24?
The Clippers should be deflated, but they are winning, 75-74, after three quarters. Their playoff run is over, and yet they don't seem to know it.
Inspired effort is what fans have been getting from the Clippers all season long, and right now there are 19,000 fans on their feet. They had to come here knowing this was doomsday.
Yet everyone in Lob City is wearing red again, the place alive with noise and so this is what it's like to have fun at a basketball game.
You forget that when you're a Lakers fan.
Winning is the only thing that is fun. Winning championships, as we're repeatedly reminded, is the only thing that counts.
But who had a better time this season, Clippers or Lakers fans?
How does anyone root for the Lakers? I understand history, tradition and all those trophies, but right now how does anyone invest everything they have in these players?
What is it like to expend so much energy loving the Lakers and getting Andrew Bynum in return? Do you think that for one second of his life he gives a rip about any of you?
The Clippers are not the Lakers, and probably never will be as long as most of us live.
But name the last time fun and Lakers were mentioned in the same sentence? Anything but winning seems to result in anger, fans wanting Coach Mike Brown fired and the players now pointing fingers at each other.
Chris Paul is every bit as competitive as Kobe Bryant. But I can't imagine Paul throwing blame Blake Griffin's way as Bryant has done with Pau Gasol.
If Griffin turned the ball over, somehow got it back and missed the shot, or stepped out of bounds or forgot to shoot and the clock ran out, Paul would say it was all his fault.
But when Gasol made an errant pass, according to Plaschke's online column, Bryant told reporters: "It was a bad read. It was a bad read on Pau's part.''
A kid does that in high school and he gets reprimanded by his coach, his parents and his teammates for singling out a teammate.
Yet Bryant goes on. "Pau has to be more assertive; he's got to be more aggressive. He's looking to swing the ball too much. He just has to shoot it."
All that's true, and add in the frustration that comes with cheering for Gasol while he whines about every foul called and plays so soft at times.
But after a stinging defeat, to get stung again by a teammate -- and a teammate of Bryant's caliber -- is too much.
It's not the first time. This is the same guy who looked as if he would need to be taken him off the court in a straitjacket after Metta World Peace passed the ball to Steve Blake for a last-second three-point attempt earlier in the series.
The pass went to the wide-open player, but the problem is it didn't go to Bryant, who let his anger show while tugging at his jersey.
Yet the Lakers remain the most popular team in town, and by far, because of their history, tradition and trophies.
How about raw enthusiasm, such as Eric Bledsoe going from one end of the court to the other as if he has his foot stuck on the gas pedal?
How about incredible effort and excitement, as the Clippers keep pace with the Spurs when they should be lying down, as the Lakers did a year ago when they were down 3-0 to Dallas?
But the Clippers have already shown they won't quit, coming from 27 down to Memphis and winning, and then coming back to win Game 7 in Memphis.
Do the Lakers have what it takes to stick together when pressed to the limit?
Surely the Clippers are going to lose this game, but of course they are, aren't they?
"It has been a good one," Marv Albert tells the TV audience, and who expected that? And that was before Paul's acrobatic, mind-boggling drive that resulted in a three-point play to give the Clippers a 97-96 lead with 2:26 remaining.
In the end it would come down to Paul, and twice he would have the chance to tie the game in the closing seconds. And twice he would fail.
There will be no storybook ending, but it really has been a storybook season, when you consider the injury to Chauncey Billups and the gutty finish in Memphis.
Paul has now lost twice in the playoffs to the Spurs, "once in seven games and now in four," he said. "I've got to get better personally."
And so as the Clippers walked off the court after having been swept, they still heard from the fans, and it was applause.
"I will think about those two missed opportunities for the whole off-season," Paul said. "But I want to tip my hat to the Clippers' faithful and I want them to know this isn't it."
Who thinks the Lakers would hear the same thing if or when they fall to the Thunder?
But then it's all about winning, isn't it?
BLAME L.A.'s lost playoff weekend on Lee Zeidman. He oversees Staples Center for AEG, the building getting more hype over the last few days than any of the teams playing in it.
Zeidman had the fans coming downtown so terrified of traffic, the nervousness must have spread to the Clippers, who blew a big lead, the Lakers, who blew a big lead, and the Kings, who obviously didn't want a celebration to delay another Clippers game.
NO D, NO RING!!!!
With 26 points on 4 of 4 shots from distance in only 20 minutes of PT. Efficient eviceration.
Wolves' fan: ginobili vs. the wolves is like he's just kind of laughing to himself all game...kind of like he thinks it's cute that they're trying to play basketball.
i was fortunate enough to snag a ticket (for half price) 5 rows behind Steve Kerr and Marv, and boy, the game was awesome. the crowd was ELECTRIC! playoff atmosphere at its best, and you'd think it was a Game 7 with how bumping the crowd was and how hard the Clippers were playing. major props to them for not giving up, and the season was still a humongous success for them.
the article is spot on that the Clippers are so much more fun than the Lakers to cheer for. they're almost polar opposites in how they carry themselves and the level of selfishness. Chris Paul claimed all the blame onto himself, NEVER ragged on any of his teammates. same for Griffin, who never made excuses for his injuries. the series was also very "clean" overall.
also, Vinny del Negro probably needs to be fired and spend some time as an assistant somewhere. off the top of my head, i could think of Nate McMillan being a perfect defense-oriented coach for these guys.
If Mike Brown isn't hanging around at the Lakers, he'd be a perfect fit for the Clips!
"Please. No way. The best defender I've ever played is Bruce Bowen. It's not even close." - Kobe Bryant
Hibbert, who worked out with Duncan in San Antonio during the lockout, said he has grown close to the perennial All-Star. On Friday, he texted Duncan and asked how he should guard him.
"He said, 'Go for every pump fake,' " Hibbert said.
i doubt they gonna exit playoffs that easyly, with billups actually playing, and the rest of their roster fully healthy...
“ I’m honored to be on this team right now because he’s going to be great for years to come, and I’m going to hold on as long as I can.” -Tim Duncan on Kawhi Leonard.
I find it interesting that the LA Times manages to turn a great Clippers story into a Lakers story! What a bunch of crap! As for firing Vinny, you have to fire Vinny because he's not Phil. It's that simple and of course that means Brown has to go too! See how I turned it into a Lakers post! =)
Actually I really liked the article and the angle on the comparison between the two LA teams. Perhaps some disgusted Laker fans will read it and come over to the Clippers side. They are clearly more fun to cheer for with all those spoiled brats on the other team.
during the 24-0 run our Spurs laid down on the Clippers, Vinny called ONE timeout during that 8-minute stretch and barely made lineup adjustments -- and this is a young, inexperienced team. i dunno how you just allow another team to just take over in such a critical game and not even attempt to quell the run or come up with some strategy or mid-game adjustments. i think he gets effort from his guys, without a doubt, and he rewards people who are working hard. but he also throws out some really odd lineups at times where you have no clue how they'll even score a bucket.
their offense is atrocious in the half-court, and all his plays are basically requiring Chris Paul to create for everyone, or relying on 1-on-1's. they're incredible when there's havoc on the court, like the memphis comeback they had, which was also spurred by chris paul moreso than the coach's moves (CP3 begged to be put into the game when Vinny had already surrendered).
it really comes down to expectations. if the goal is just to be "good" and fun, Vinny should be fine for the job. if they want to get the best potential out of the team, i think it's understood Vinny has glaring shortcomings. look at Chicago. you could say, "they've sucked since MJ, they should be happy they're in the playoffs", but when you are gifted Chris Paul and Blake Griffin (just like how the Bulls were lucky to get Rose), you do what it takes to not waste the opportunity. when you have Chris Paul or a Derrick Rose, you realize you have a better chance than if your main star is Joe Johnson or Chris Bosh, and you invest accordingly in both the supporting cast and the coach.
Last edited by theinswes; 05-22-12 at 04:32 AM.
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