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Magic Johnson: Clippers are Showtime

magic-johnson-lakersThe Los Angeles Lakers were hoping to bring back “Showtime” this season, but, ironically, it’s the other team in town that’s replicated the feel of the ’80s Lakers.

The LA Clippers have won a franchise record 14 games in a row and now lead the NBA with a 22-6 record. They put on a show during the second quarter of their win against the Denver Nuggets on Christmas by scoring 42 points thanks to several highlight-reel plays. The outburst prompted ESPN NBA analyst Magic Johnson to praise them during halftime.

“I thought I would never, ever see Showtime again. And I was the architect of Showtime. The Clippers? That’s Showtime,” Magic said on ESPN.

After his team’s 112-100 win, Chris Paul responded to Magic’s praise.

“The thing about Showtime, they won championships,” said Paul, who had 14 points and eight assists. “So that’s what we’re trying to aspire to. We appreciate Magic — he’s the best to ever do it.”

The praise from Magic is nice and all, but let’s keep things in perspective. Magic is legendary for getting caught up in the moment and overreacting as an analyst. Had Ty Lawson had a big first half for Denver, you probably would have heard Magic calling him a top-five point guard.

The truth of the matter is the Clippers are an exciting team led by an MVP-caliber point guard. They have many players who can score and make highlight-worthy plays, but they’re not a championship team. They have a lot more depth since last season when they got swept by the Spurs in the second round of the playoffs, but I don’t see them getting past Oklahoma City in the postseason.

Like Paul said, the Clippers need to win championships to be compared to the Showtime Lakers. Somebody remind Magic of that.

Clippers unveiling ‘A Tribe Called Bench’ shirts; Phife Dawg wants one

clippers-tribe-called-bench

The Los Angeles Clippers are one of the top teams in the NBA, and if the shirt above is any indication, they also have some of the best team morale.

According to ESPN LA’s Arash Markazi, the Clippers will be debuting these “A Tribe Called Bench” shirts on Christmas Day. The shirt’s slogan is a play on the name of the famous hip-hop group “A Tribe Called Quest” (LB’s favorite group of all time), which has become the nickname for the team’s second unit.

The shirt features the mugs of the team’s bench players. From top-to-bottom, left-to-right, pictured are: Lamar Odom, Ryan Hollins, Grant Hill, Trey Thompkins, Ronny Turiaf, Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe, Willie Green, and Matt Barnes.

Markazi wrote an article on Dec. 9 explaining how the “A Tribe Called Bench” nickname came about. The short version is people decided the bench needed a nickname, and someone on Twitter suggested that one.

We’ve actually been down this road many times before. Almost every time a team’s bench unit begins playing well, it acquires the nickname “The Bench Mob.” The Basketball Jones had a rundown on this tired trend. Last season, the Knicks’ bench was named “Mobb Deep.” At least this Clippers’ nickname is original.

The best part about the shirt is that Phife Dawg, one of the group’s rappers, told Markazi he wanted one of the shirts. I’ve got an idea for a trade, Phife: Clippers give you a box of shirts, and you come to LA and perform for all the Tribe fans at Staples Center. Deal?

Photo credit: Arash Markazi

Clippers mess with DeAndre Jordan while he’s sleeping on plane (Picture)

There are certain players in the NBA who you don’t want to fall asleep around unless you expect the entire Twitter universe to see you. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are two of those people. They proved that on Sunday afternoon when Clippers teammate DeAndre Jordan fell asleep on the plane and was given the old “here, have some food” treatment.

Much like the Timberwolves when Kevin Love is around to post photos like this one from the London Olympics, you either need to stay awake on the plane or steal everyone’s cell phone before taking a nap if you’re a member of the Clippers.

Photo via Blake Griffin’s Twitter

Chris Paul has reportedly been recruiting players to the Clippers

By turning down the three-year, $60 million offer the Clippers extended to him over the weekend, Chris Paul has given L.A. fans a reason to worry. Things are finally starting to look up for their franchise, but what would happen if one of the most important pieces of their future decides to leave town? According to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, it doesn’t appear that Clippers fans have to be concerned about that.

It is believed that Paul simply turned down the $60 million offer because he will be eligible for a five-year, $110 million extension after next season. Some people feel as though Paul is looking to see what Dwight Howard does so he can team up with him in 2013, but Kennedy said Paul has spent the past several days “aggressively recruiting for the Clippers.” He has reportedly spoken to a number of free agents in an attempt to sell them on the promising direction the Clippers are headed.

Not only that, but Paul has also been training with and spending down time with the younger players on the team like Eric Bledsoe, Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins. Paul even reportedly flew Leslie and Thompkins to Las Vegas last weekend for a few parties he was hosting.

It seems to make the most sense for Paul to stay in L.A. rather than continue to bounce around. In Paul’s first season with the team, the Clippers had a winning record and qualified for the playoffs — feats they have accomplished only twice in the past 15 years. With co-stars like Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, Paul has himself in position to be a part of one of the better teams in the West for years to come. From the sound of it, that’s something he fully understands.

Photo credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

College student reportedly bet $75 on Clippers comeback, won $41,000 (Picture)

The screenshot you see above was emailed to Barstool Sports by a reader. The emailer claims his friend bet around $25 to win over $13,000 when the Clippers were trailing the Grizzlies by 27 points in the fourth quarter on Sunday. Then, he claims his buddy threw another $50 down to win more than $27,000 after the Clippers sank a three-pointer right after he placed his initial bet. As we know, L.A. completed a ridiculous comeback and pulled off the Game 1 victory. Unless this is a photoshop scam, some kid won about $41,000 just screwing around and expecting to throw $75 away for no reason.

The friend also said the winner is about to graduate college, so he’s probably in for a decent amount of partying over the next week or so. Between this $41,000-winner and the gambler who allegedly won a similarly amazing amount of money over the weekend playing the ponies, I’m starting to think I’m in the wrong business.

H/T Deadspin

Clippers miraculously come back from down 27 to beat Grizzlies

They are going to be a lot of folks waking up in Memphis on Monday morning thinking it’s April Fools when they hear that the Grizzlies lost to the Clippers on Sunday night. Many fans probably went to bed thinking the game was in hand with the Grizzlies up by more than 20 points in the second half. I should know — I stopped watching when Memphis was up by 24 with eight minutes to play. But the Clippers didn’t quit and they came back from down as many as 27 points to beat the Grizzlies 99-98 in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

The Clippers went on a 26-1 run after O.J. Mayo hit a three to make it 95-71 with 9:12 left in the game. Bench players Reggie Evans, Eric Bledsoe, and Nick Young, along with starters Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, never gave up, and they continued to play hard in order to get the comeback win.

The Clippers ended the game on a 28-3 run. In that span, they shot 10-14, 4-5 on threes, and grabbed 14 boards. By comparison, the Grizzlies were 1-14 and had just three rebounds.

[Read more...]

Clippers are growing playoff beards (Video)

The Clippers are joining the storied tradition of growing playoff beards to build team unity for the postseason. Chris Paul says the players were discussing ideas for what they should do and they thought about growing their hair out. They ran into some trouble there because of the bald players like Chauncey Billups, so they settled on beards.

Here are some of the quirky highlights from the video:

    - Blake Griffin says he can’t grow a mustache
    - Chris Paul said he can’t grow a full beard
    - DeAndre Jordan only grows hair on one side of his face

Griffin said players aren’t allowed to take down their beards, but they can touch up the edges to keep it shapely. I dunno about that, a real playoff beard goes untouched.

H/T I am a GM