With the all-star break in the rear-view mirror, the Los Angeles Clippers can get back to work on improving their seeding for the upcoming NBA western conference playoffs.
The Clippers currently rest in the 4th seed – six games behind current top-seed Oklahoma City - as they get ready to tip-off the second half of the season – just 27 games - Tuesday night against the defending Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs currently the 2nd seed just four games behind the Thunder.
At 37-18, Los Angeles has the seventh best record in the entire Association and is, obviously, one of the better teams in the entire league. So are the Spurs.
Great teams preparing for a run at an NBA Title – like the Clippers are doing – will sometimes run into a situation where they will absolutely blow out a team before fans get settled in their expensive Staple Center seats with a hot dog, soft drink or adult beverage and ice cream.
Case in point, their 123-78 win over the Philadelphia 76ers less than two weeks ago. The Clippers opened the game leading 13-0 and the rout was on. Los Angeles led 69-30 at halftime and opened up a 56 point lead at 89-33 midway through the third quarter.
Yes. That’s what I said. 89-33 midway through the 3rd quarter.
At that point, Los Angeles head coach Doc Rivers began clearing his bench removing his starters from the game.
It was the proverbial “garbage time.”
That’s also when the sell-out crowd of 19,157 began to file out of Staples Center.
Clippers legendary play-by-play announcer - Ralph Lawler – was able to declare his Law, “Lawler’s Law,” which says first team to 100 points wins, with 15 seconds left in the third when a Darren Collison jumper made the score 100-51.
Every Clippers starter – including all-star’s Blake Griffin and Chris Paul as well as defensive stand-out DeAndre Jordan and super sub Jamal Crawford - saw not one second of action in the 4th quarter.
A blow out like this one is a rare occurrence but it happens.
Considering an NBA basketball game is part of the entertainment field and those buying tickets spend hundreds – sometimes thousands – of dollars to see “Lob City” stars like Griffin, Paul and Jordan do their thing, that begs the question “is it the coaches duty to keep them in the game or at the very least three minutes into the final quarter to keep fans in their seats to maybe spend some more money on another beverage, dessert or souvenir?”
I asked coach Rivers that very question following the blow out win.
To hear his response, click on the video with this story.
Without giving away the answer, let’s remember the regular season is a long one with 82 games and coach Rivers considers the regular season a dress rehearsal for the playoff grind.
And dress rehearsal #56 is Tuesday night at Staples Center against the Spurs. Tip-off is set for 7:40.