With their win against the Sacramento Kings in the season finale the Los Angeles Clippers secured the 4th seed in the Western Conference. They also won the home-court advantage for their first round opponents, the Memphis Grizzlies.
This was the ideal way for LA to finish the regular season, the best in their franchise history. Everything is set right now for that success to continue to the postseason. The Clippers now have their whole roster – finally – available as the Playoffs begin.
Chauncey Billups recently returned to the lineup. With his experience he can be a great factor to complement the star duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and assist on making plays. Throughout the season Vinnie Del Negro’s team has shown that it has a perfect balance between the first unit and the reserves. Players like Jamal Crawford, Caron Butler and Matt Barnes can provide the veteran presence needed in any team when the ball gets heavier and every detail counts. This is another essential factor that could make the difference between a win and a loss in the Playoffs.
In the first round the Clips will face the Memphis Grizzlies. The two teams played against each other again in the first leg last year. That time the Grizzlies had the home court advantage but LA won the series. Also, they just recently beat Memphis during their latest regular season meeting, on the 13th of April. With this win the Clippers sealed the season series, 3-1.
Things now are a bit different from last year for both teams. First of all, the Grizzlies changed the core of their team with the movement of Rudy Gay. Especially the offense has shaken up after that trade. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph take now more load in scoring, supported by Conley.
Also, the Clippers look like a much more complete and mature team this season. They were dangerous last year. However, this season LA has proven to be lethal when they are able to reach their top level of performance and retaining their fast-paced offense. Chris Paul is having one of his most productive seasons of his career, not statistically but in the aspects of leading his team and making things easier for his teammates. His matchup against Mike Conley will be key for both teams and could turn the scale in one team’s favor. LA’s frontcourt will also have to play hard against Gasol and Randolph and limit their chances for easy hoops.
There’s no doubt that Clippers fans should be excited. Finally they have the chance to celebrate their first Division Title and see their team finish in the top 4 in the Western Conference. Also, this could be one of the few seasons in franchise history that there are vital chances for LA to win a Championship. Their Playoff course shall determine if they are deservedly considered as the bosses of the City of Angels or their success this season was circumstantial.
The battle of LA will continue this Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET when the LA Clippers will host their City-rivals, LA Lakers. This game will be a bit different from their previous matchups as it comes late in the regular season. Nevertheless it has special importance for each team and it will be really enjoying for the fans of both teams to watch.
First of all, this is a key game for the Lakers. Mike D’Antoni’s team really needs every win they can get out of their last six games if they want to enter this season’s Playoffs. The Lakers have a 40-36 record and they are just half a game ahead from the Utah Jazz, who have one more loss in their record.
On the other hand, the Clippers now focus on the Playoffs and don’t have to worry much about their remaining games. However this one has a special signification. The reason is that the Clips need to establish themselves as the best team in the City of Angels in this new era of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. It’s no secret that this has been the most successful season in the history of the organization. But it will take really much effort and many seasons of such performances for the Clippers to just be able to start comparing with the legendary Lakers. The conversation about the best team in LA can only have meaning if we are talking about the best team at this moment and that’s of course because the Lakers are out of reach in regards of history and titles.
Throughout the history of the NBA the Lakers have linked their name with the meaning of success and together with the Boston Celtics, they have been the two teams with the most titles in the history of the league. From the era of Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson to the most recent successes of Kobe with Shaquille O’Neil and even with – a healthy and well-conditioned – Pau Gasol, the Lakers have dominated not only Los Angeles but the entire NBA for long stretches.
This year things have turned upside down in LA and we see them for the first time in many years struggling to secure a Playoffs spot. On contrary, the Clippers are enjoying the unknown taste of winning. They are the leaders of the Pacific Division and they can secure the title (and also the 4th seed in the West) with this win on Sunday for the first time in their franchise history.
It should be an exciting, Playoff-like game with lots of tension and emotion. For Mike D’Antoni, Steve Nash is questionable because of a hamstring injury and for Vinny Del Negro, Chauncey Billups is questionable because of a groin injury.
It will be very intriguing to see if Kobe attains his scoring frenzy for yet another game and how the Lakers will team-defend Chris Paul. DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin will have a tough task trying to stop the Lakers’ frontcourt, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. If the two teams finish in the seeds they currently hold and pass their opponents in the first round of the Playoffs, they will face each other again in the second leg.
With their double-digit win against the Phoenix Suns, the Clippers broke the franchise record for most wins in a season. The home crowd enjoyed this historic moment for the organization and is surely waiting eagerly for more during the Playoffs. It was a game that finally reminded us what Lob City means.
This season has arguably been the most successful one up to this point for LA. Not only have they managed to break several franchise records, including a 17-game winning during a loss-less December, but they also achieved to change their team’s place in the fans’ conscience. They are no more the weakest team in LA or the team that considers success their participation in the Playoffs. After the arrival of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, the expectations have been raised and there’s more to come during the following years.
The Clips are proving it day by day and despite their immaturity and their little post-season experience, they prove that they have what it takes to be one of the best teams in the league. To establish themselves in such a position they will need consistency. During their last win against the Suns they got a great performance out ofDeAndre Jordan and they will need his contribution in that level if they want to proceed in the Playoffs. The 7-footer was a strong presence inside, finishing close to the rim with power, turning the lights out on defense and he also threw down several lobs.
After the game Blake Griffin commented on the record-breaking win saying that he and his teammates wanted even more this season. They believe that they could be a 60-winteam and that’s exactly what their mentality should be. Of course their course through the season has been a success. However, with that success comes also a responsibility against their fans and the franchise itself. They do have to take their team to the next level, because they can. This 50thwin should have come even earlier. They dropped three games in a row against tough opponents and possible Playoff matchups, the Indiana Pacers, the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs. They haven’t been efficient against over 0.500 teams and that could be costly for them during the Playoffs.
The Clippers are set to break yet another franchise record. They need one more win and at the same time a loss from the Golden State Warriors to be named as the Pacific Division title winners for the first time in their history. Only they, together with Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans have yet to be crowned as Division winners.
With 6-games left in the regular season, the road to ultimate success is paved for the Clippers. Their biggest challenge starts in about 2 weeks from now and this should be a joy for all the fans to watch their favorite team finally fighting for a Championship.
It was a close one last night for the Clippers. It was a game that was decided in the last seconds or maybe wasn’t it? The fact is that LA suffered another loss against a top-4 team in the Western Conference. The final score wrote 104-102. Tim Duncan made a clutch 3-point play to give the Spurs the lead with about two seconds left in the game. However, can we be sure that this was the moment the game was decided?
With about two weeks left in the regular season, it has been clear for the Clips, that in order to win teams of the caliber of the Spurs, the Thunder or the Nuggets, they will need to fix the details in their game. Those small details can make the difference between a Champion and a Championship Contender. The Spurs are surely in the first category. As for LA, we’ll have to sit back and anticipate their bestperformance in the Playoffs.
San Antonio is a team that has cruised in the first spots of the Western Conference for the past years. It’s really incredible to see a team that won the NBA Championship 6 years ago to still conquer its entire Conference and have great chances to chase the title once again. The most interesting fact is that the Spurs have retained their roster core since that time. Despite their aging players, they still are red hot while on court. Of course, the guidance of Gregg Popovic has been a major factor for the team’s success through the years.
As for LA, they will have to make things happen now. There are no excuses. In two weeks, the story will be “win or go home”. And if you go home, you’ll have to wait awhole year to even have a shot for a Championship again.Vinnie Del Negro’s team will possibly face the Spurs during the 2nd leg, if they finish in the 3rd seed and the Spurs remain 1st. Alternatively, if LA finishes fourth, then the only possibility to play against San Antonio would be in the Western Conference Finals.
No matter which will be the opponent, the Clippers will have to fix some serious issues if they want to increase their chances for a better run. One problem that was exposed during their matchup against the Spurs was free-throw shooting. One can clearly see the difference: The Spurs shot at 95.2% from the charity stripe, 20-21. The Clippers went for a disappointing 57.1%. The team’s starting center, DeAndre Jordan hit in just one of his eight attempts. Griffin went 4 out of 5, but this could be circumstantial. That’s a difference between a Champion and a contender. Defense is another sector of LA’s game that has to be fixed, especially against three-pointers. They are trying to improve in that category, but when the Playoffs start there will be no more time for experiments.Clutch plays can also make the difference. There has to be a consistent option, a player that can set plays without committing turnovers and score easily when the ball weights 10 times more than normal, with the game on the line.
At the moment, one could say that the Clippers don’t seem to have the force to eliminate the Spurs in a 7-game stretch. Of course, things can turn upside down till the time they meet again.
It would have been a blockbuster deal that could have put the Los Angeles Clippers in an immediate Championship position. Kevin Garnett’s movement from the Boston Celtics to the Los Angeles Clippers would have shaken up the entire league and would have changed the balances between the best teams. The thing is that this deal never happened.
KG expressed his loyalty to the Celtics numerous times. He stated that he lives green and that he will die green. There could have been no way the Clippers made this huge acquisition, or was there a chance?
According to many reports, Clippers’ superstar Chris Paul made a strong push for this trade to happen. He spoke to Garnett prior to the trade deadline and urged him to join forces with him and Blake Griffin at Los Angeles. His addition to the team would mean that the Clippers would have one of the best combinations of point-guard and frontcourt in the league. KG’s great mid and long range shot would set Griffin free and open lanes for his game close to the basket and the penetrations of several of his teammates. The Big Ticket has a great presence as a mental leader and would help lifting the entire team during crunch time and at crucial games against difficult opponents duringthe Playoffs. However, Garnett chose to remain with the Celtics and his loyalty means a lot to his team and all the fans at Boston, who saw their team been hit with serious injuries and player losses. Of course the no-trade clause that Garnett has on his contract played a huge role during this trade talk. He justified long before the trade deadline that the only case he would even think departing from Boston would be if Paul Pierce also left the team. Danny Ainge never made it happen.
The fact is that many of the teams that sit on the top seedsboth in the West and in the East were afraid of this deal to happen. Having three superstars in a roster with so many great role players and one of the best second units in the league would have made the Clippers really tough to take down. We might never really know how hard did the Celtics management team pushed for this trade and if Garnett was about to use his no-trade clause. However, if Ainge was really determined to start the rebuilding processin Boston, he would have sent also Paul Pierce to another team – Brooklyn was one of the possible destinations- and together with the exchanges for KG, the Celtics would have started forming a brand new team with potential.
Both teams now will have to look forward and continue fighting for a good run with their current roster. The Celtics are happy to have Garnett on their roster and the Clippers can be confident that with their current formation they are able to make this season the best of their franchise history.
It was another great experience for the spectators in Houston and all the fans watching a home. The 2013 All Star game has now come to an end and left the best memories behind. The Western All Stars shined during the game, with Durant and Chris Paul leading the way to a 138-143 win. The Oklahoma Thunder forward became the first player in history to score 30 points or more in three consecutive NBA All-Star games and Chris Paul, with 20 points and 15 assists won the MVP award. It was another great success for the superstar Clipper who is having one of the best seasons in his career and has put his name a strong candidate for the regular season MVP award.
The weekend started greatly with rising stars challenge when we saw a game that had nothing to be jealous of the All Star game. The fans had the chance to enjoy some great moments with devastating dunks and great performances from the future NBA stars. Terrence Ross won the Slam Dunk contest with some acrobatic moves and Kyrie Irving was named this year’s 3-point Champion.
For once again, this All-Star game it was a time for celebrations, having fun and enjoying basketball. It was also the time to see weird things happen, like Howard making threes and LeBron getting rejected twice by Kobe Bryant. We also saw some great dunks and alley hoops, most times uncontested because after all, it’s the All Star game. For the Eastern All-Stars, Carmelo Anthony finished with 26 points and Dwyane Wade with 21. LeBron had 19 but shot just 7-18 from the field, after shooting an almost unreal over 60% for his last 6 games before the game.
As usual, a ton of celebrities added more shine to the game. Chris Tucker, Drake, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and Jay-Z together with his wife and singer Beyoncé were amongst the spectators. Alicia Keys, Ne-Yo and John Legend all performed during the game to make the atmosphere even more enjoying for all the people watching. After the game’s first quarter former Houston star and 7 footer 6 center Yao Ming was honored.
The All Star break always gives a chance for relaxation and fun for the players and coaching staff. However, with the second half of the season started, the teams now will have to regroup and focus on their goals, because things tend to get tougher and more serious as we approach the playoffs.
Chris Michaels I live in Los Angeles, CA and work as an Chief Wisdom Officer
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The Clippers showed once again that they are the big bosses in Los Angeles with a dominating win over the Lakers
The Los Angeles Clippers made once again a strong statement. Not only should they be considered as a title contender, but nowthey are for sure the conquerors of the city of Los Angeles. In a Thursday night matchup they rolled past the Lakers with a 24-point outing, 125-101. The usual suspects, Paul and Griffin continued to show their talents and with the help of the 16-yearveteran guard, Chauncey Billups, who just recently returned to action, got a devastating win at the Staples Center.
The Clippers have now won their season series against the Lakers and it’s the first time they achieve this since the 1992-93 season, with one game left between the two teams in April. Not only that, but they have improved their record to 39-17 and theyfind themselves just 2.5 games behind the second seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. For sure they are eligible to chase the Western Conference championship title and they have made it clear to all the fans and the basketball world in LA that they are now the conquerors of the City.
Despite the turnaround effort from the Lakers, led by Kobe with 20 points, the show the Clips put together was way too much for the Lakers to follow; they just couldn’t overcome an early 15-0 deficit. In fact it was Billups who made the difference, shooting an incredible 70% from the field and hit 5 from 7 from beyond the arc, finishing with 21 points. His team was already deadly even without him. Now that he has come back, his presence could put the Clippers into an immediate championship-chasing position.
Who could really imagine at the start of this season that the team from the City of Angels that would be making a run for a ring would be the Clippers and not the Lakers. Now that we are vast approaching the NBA All-Star break it might be a good chance for Mike D’Antoni’s team to regroup and focus on improving the little details that could save the season. It’s clearly shown that some changes have to be done and that there should be no more excuses going forward.
As for the Clippers, the aim should now be overpassing the Thunder, so that they can have an advantage come playoff time. They have proved their dominance and they have also proved that now it’s their time to shine. The great combination of young star power and veteran experience is what may allow them to do great things. For half the City of LA it’s time for skepticism and reformation. For the other part it’s time for controlled enthusiasm and a strong push towards the finish line.
When Kobe Bryant makes statements, press talks or tweets the world is watching. Are his statements always true and correct? That question is a little tricky. The latest news that Kobe gave us is that according to his point of view the media have actually manufactured the drama over the team.
We’ve seen many times Kobe making comments regarding his teammates and his team, trying to motivate them to play harder or even through pain and even making some suggestions. This time though, he tried to underplay the fact that the general picture the Lakers have shown us up to this point of the season is not convincing. Talking about the comments he made on Dwight Howard and about the need for urgency from his team, he said that his comments about Howard were misinterpreted. Additionally he said that he only tried to motivate his teammate and the rest of the story was in fact manufactured by the media.
Trying to push your teammates so that the team rolls up and finds its pace is one thing. However, to call the Lakers drama manufactured this season might be a little too much. It’s an awkward moment for the franchise and with if they don’t manage to enter the playoffs with this roster, then the drama would become real and for good. Surely this is the last thing the Lakers have to think about. Now it’s time for focus and hard work, so that the team gets some wins. However, handling the media and solving a problem internally is what great teams do. There’s no need to avoid looking failure in the eye and there’s also no need to put the blame on a single player or coach. Teams win as a whole and teams fail as a whole. That’s the way sports work and that’s how the NBA works, too.
The Lakers need Kobe to be the leader. He has to stand up for his team now that it’s a difficult time. It’s great to see him not giving up – that’s certainly not the way he is- and try to force his teammates and especially Howard, Gasol and Nash to show some urgency. That’s how Kobe has used to be during his 17 years in LA. However, finding the appropriate way to fire up the rest of the team is important. Controversies and mutual press statements are not the solution to the problem.
The star point guard Chris Paul is reportedly set to re-sign with the Los Angeles Clippers this offseason. After rejecting the team’s extension contract worth almost $60 million for three last summer, sources around the situation say that Paul has a 99,5% chance to resign with the Clippers during this summer. The All Star guard most likely rejected this contract offer to sign a five year deal that the team is supposed to offer him this time.
Despite having lots of suitors that may seem to be interested for him when he becomes available, Chris Paul has really linked his name with the Clips. He has become a true leader for our team and has performed outstanding during his stay here. Apart from his numbers, which have been great, his presence is what makes the difference. He is a true commander when he steps into the court and he has the way to orchestrate his team and make his teammates better. Also, the bonding between him and the fellow star Blake Griffin is terrific as well as the general chemistry of the whole team is. Up to now, it has been the most successful season for the franchise in its history and it’s expected to become even better as we approach the playoffs. This might be a unique chance for us to chase a ring and Chris Paul has a great share on that success.
So in reality there is no good reason for him to think about leaving. He really has everything. A great team and also a great coach, a leading role in one of the best teams in the West, a chance to win a Championship and as predicted, a generous contract that will make sure he is happy salary-wise. He’s also enjoying to live in one of the top destinations for all athletes and celebrities in the United States.
Of course the team really needs him. Despite having the young and promiscuous Eric Bledsoe in the roster, the Clippers are expected to search for a trade for him because he has great market value. The player we could get in return for Bledsoe could mean that we would almost be unstoppable.
Paul’s importance to the team was made obvious during his recent injuries. The team lost 6 of the last 12 games with Paul sidelined. As a matter of fact, the 27-year old guard has all the potential to combine his name with one of the resurrection the Clippers. After his arrival the Clips have become a power in the West instead of just another weak team that happened to be in Los Angeles. Hopefully the deal is sealed and we will all enjoy more from Chris Paul and his magic.
If you’re heading down to the Staples Center for an event, there are a number of incredible restaurants that you can choose to eat from beforehand. If you happen to have a preference towards Gluten-free foods, you’re in luck because Los Angeles is proud to have a number of restaurants that specialize in Gluten-free food. The following three restaurants are examples of restaurants who offer a Gluten-free menu, so check them out today!
The Shojin is about 10 minutes from the Staples Center Nokia Theater Get Directions
Shojin is located on the third floor of the Little Tokyo Shopping Center in Downtown Los Angeles. The mall is located on Alameda St. between 3rd and 4th street. The restaurant offers 3 hours of free parking, so enjoy your time at the meal. Shojin’s mission is to “provide the most flavorful and naturally preserved meals using organic and natural foods with NO chemical seasonings and harmful additives.” As you can see, they take pride in providing patrons with the most natural food possible. They specialize in vegan, macrobiotic, Gluten free, organic and natural foods. For one of the best Los Angeles Gluten-free restaurants, Shojin organic and natural sushi is a fine choice.
Lucifers – Damned Good Pizza
2. Lucifers – Damned Good Pizza
1958 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Lucifers Pizza is about 15 minutes Staples Center Nokia Theater Get Directions
Lucifers’ Damned Good Pizza is one of the few pizza joints around town that offer gluten-free crusts on all of their pies. With extremely reasonable prices for the high quality pizza, Lucifers is a must stop for bread loving Celiacs. They deliver Monday to Thursday from 5pm-10pm and Friday to Sunday from 12pm-10pm. Join the RIP club and receive free pizzas as well as a member swipe card after your buy your first 10 circles. Lucifers has been rated one of the top pizza places in Los Angeles by LAWeekly as well as a number of other publications, so come see what the fuss is about and enjoy some of the best Los Angeles Gluten-free pizza!
The Yard House
3. YARD HOUSE LOS ANGELES
800 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213)745-9273 The Yard House
The Yard House Los Angeles is one of the prime places to hit before any Staples Center event. They have a “Gluten-sensative” menu that includes a variety of delicious dishes from Grilled Artichoke and Spicy Tuna roll to Seared Ahi Steak and a Cuban Roast Pork Dip. Truly a treat for those of without the ability to process flour, the Yard House Los Angeles is a favorite of locals and tourists alike, and it will set the night of right for diners with any special dietary needs!
Los Angeles Staples Center Gluten-free Restaurants do exist, just check out the great venues above and put your food concerns to rest!