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What to expect in the Clippers 2012-13 season

Clippers Official Partner Barrys Tickets

Clippers Official Partner Barrys Tickets

2011-12 was a landmark season for the Los Angeles Clippers, long considered the Lakers’ “weak sisters” in the NBA. With the addition of Chris Paul, the Clippers rose from up-and-coming young team to legit playoff contenders, and they didn’t disappoint. The Clips’ 40-26 record was their best ever in terms of winning percentage, and their first time to win more than 60% of their games in the franchise’s 42-year history. Best of all, they performed creditably in the playoffs – the Clips won a hard-fought seven-game battle versus the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round, before getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semis. What can we expect in 2012 from the Clippers?

As the Chris Paul-Blake Griffin tandem goes, so do the Clippers. CP3 was every bit the dynamic and exciting point guard he was at New Orleans, averaging 19.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 2.5 spg. He facilitated the offense efficiently, dazzled with game-winning heroics and played disruptive defense all season long. Best of all, he meshed perfectly with Griffin, who kept on pounding in those double-doubles with regularity. Probably the only thing Griffin (20.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.2 apg, 55% FG) can’t do is shoot free throws – he made just 52% of his foul shot attempts, down from 64% as a rookie. We’re hoping the left knee injury that took him out of Team USA for this year’s Olympics won’t come back to haunt him once the 2012-13 season rolls around. And speaking of injuries, Chauncey Billups (15.0 ppg, 4.0 apg) was playing very well as a converted two-guard when an Achilles tear ended his debut Clippers season after just 20 games. He should be starting again this season, but as he’ll be turning 36 in September, we don’t know how much longer he can hold up playing starters’ minutes. Mo Williams was traded to the Utah Jazz a few weeks back, in the trade that netted Lamar Odom. He was productive (13.2 ppg, 3.1 apg) off the bench, but very inconsistent. His minutes will likely go to new acquisition Jamal Crawford.

Caron Butler (12.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg) was a mild disappointment at starting small forward. While it was admirable to see him step behind the arc more often (he shot 36% from long range and averaged a career-high 4.1 three-point attempts a game), it was often maddening to watch him get hot in the first half and cold and/or tentative in the second. Still, he’s young enough (32) to bounce back and adjust to coach Vinny Del Negro’s system. DeAndre Jordan (7.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.0 bpg, 63% FG) was the fifth offensive option in the starting lineup, but any offense he provides is just icing on the cake. His real value is on defense, where he has proven to be capable of swatting shots at an alarming rate. Like most other young big men, though, he was inconsistent and prone to foul trouble.

The Clippers will have a more experienced bench in 2012-13, thanks to the addition of veterans Crawford, Odom and Grant Hill. Crawford (13.9 ppg, 3.2 apg) suffered through sub-40% shooting with the Portland Trailblazers, but he’s still capable of providing instant offense off the bench. Lamar Odom, on the other hand, has a lot to prove in his second stint with the team that drafted him way back in 1999. 2011-12 was an absolutely miserable season for Odom, who averaged 6.6 ppg and 4.2 rpg for the Dallas Mavericks in only 20 minutes per game. His protracted feud with flamboyant owner Mark Cuban led to his exile from the Mavs lineup towards the end of last year’s shortened season, and shortly before that, he even found himself in the D-League. Odom may not get the minutes he used to receive just two years ago, but if he’s happy, he won’t have another season like the last. Hill (10.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg) is the Clippers’ latest free agent addition. Fresh from five productive years with the Phoenix Suns, Hill (who’ll be turning 40 this October) will provide veteran savvy, strong fundamentals and leadership skills as a reserve small forward.

As it stands, Crawford, Odom and Hill may be the Clips’ first three players off the bench. What about the rest of ‘em? Eric Bledsoe’s sophomore season was a wash – the young point guard was plagued by injuries and averaged just 3.3 ppg in 11 minutes of action per game. We’re expecting him to bounce back and provide quality minutes as the second guard off the bench. Currently, Kenyon Martin, Bobby Simmons and Randy Foye are free agents – Martin’s days as a frontcourt stopper are well behind him, and it’s still hard to believe Simmons was once named Most Improved Player. Foye (11.0 ppg, 39% 3P) played well when Billups’ injury got him promoted back to the starting lineup. Unfortunately, Crawford’s signing may make him superfluous, so we’re not expecting him back. Neither are we expecting Martin and Simmons to return as backup forwards. If one or both of them go, second-year man Trey Thompkins may get more minutes at power forward, or even center.

As for the coaching situation, Del Negro has received his share of criticism, as the Clips famously blew a 24-point lead in Game 3 of the Spurs series. He has been scored for poor player rotations, questionable coaching decisions and an over-reliance on the Paul-to-Griffin pick-and-roll play. That said, he’s still a relatively young coach who could do better if he learns from previous mistakes and makes better use of the alternative options the Clippers have on offense.

Summing it all up, this season may be even better for the Clippers, thanks to a stronger, more veteran bench corps. They still lack a capable reserve at center, but other than that, all the pieces are be in place for another playoff run – and perhaps Staples Center home court advantage in the first round.

The Clippers 2012-2013 Schedule has not been announced yet, but we will stock all Clippers Home and Away games. As an Official Clippers Partner we bring you the best Clippers Tickets at the best prices.

Recap Clippers-Spurs 100-103

In a Western Conference battle, where the winner would emerge as the #2 team, Tony Parker led his San Antonio Spurs into Staples Center, riding a nine game winning streak. The Clippers took a quick 15-4 lead, and led 26-15 at the end of the first period behind 12 Blake Griffin points.

We have Clippers Vs Spurs tickets for AT&T Center on March 9 2012

Parker scored 8 of his 30 in the second period, including a last-second layup, and led a San Antonio Spurs run to take a 45-43 lead going into the locker room Then, Parker came out in the third and dropped 8 more points in the first 5 minutes of the second half as the Clippers fell
behind by 15, 65-50.

Enter Randy Foye. Finally with production fitting of a starter, Foye scored 13 of the Clippers first 15 second-half points, and hit another three pointer to tie the game at 65. Little-used sophomore guard Eric Bledsoe even got some extended run in the third, and made
quite an impact. He played the last 6 minutes of the period, and logged 3 rebounds and 2 assists, and a lot of good defense. Bled also fed Blake Griffin on a monster dunk to take the lead, 67-65.

Fast forward to five minutes left in the final quarter, and Caron Butler has just finished off a 4-point play to give LAC a three point lead, 85-82. And then two of the best teams in the world played basketball. And Tony Parker showed me something that I didn’t think he had in him. He just scored, and scored, and scored. And I don’t know if I remember him missing all game long. The boxscore says he missed 11 shots. I don’t believe it. It felt like every single play Tony Parker was either shooting a layup or an open 15 foot jumper.

There’s 1:38 to go in the game. Chris Paul scores 4 quick points. LAC leads 91-90. Now San Antonio has the ball. Tony Parker draws a foul, and takes a one-point lead with 33 seconds remaining. Chris Paul hits a pair of free throws. Tim Duncan uncharacteristically misses a layup. Paul hits another couple of free shots. The Clippers lead by 3 with 12.6 seconds remaining. But never underestimare Pop. I mean, the guy is the greatest basketball coach of his generation.

And he draws up a play to get Gary Neal, 39% three point shooter, an open shot. The young Neal fumbled the ball, and Rand Foye dives for the ball and calls a timout. The Clippers lead by 3 with the ball and only 9.5 seconds remaining. The Clippers are in second place in the conference. The Clippers win.

Until the unthinkable. Ryan Gomes rushes the inbounds pass to Chris Paul, and, in order to avoid a backcourt violation, Paul throws the ball up. Neal, the goat from the previous play, becomes a hero, hitting a trey to tie the game and force five extra minutes. I missed the play the first time through. Re-watching the fourth quarter again with my dad, I looked away. I couldn’t watch it.

How could Los Angeles be anything but lethargic in this extra period? The game was won, and now you have to play another period? Well, the Clippers never really woke up. Five overtime points, and only a single made field goal. Despite the struggles, Chris Paul had a shot at a three pointer to force another overtime. But he missed. The clock ran out. The Clippers lost. San Antonio beat the best team in the Pacific Division. And that was all she wrote.

Los Angeles Clippers Tickets are in stock for all home and away games. The Clippers face the Denver Nuggets on Feb 22nd at the Staples Center. You can purchase Clippers Vs Nuggets Tickets today.

Billups vows to return to the NBA after suffering ruptured left Achilles tendon

The L.A. Clippers’ starting Shooting Guard Chauncey Billups’ season is over.  The rehab will likely take around 8 months, but the former 2004 Finals MVP has vowed to return to the NBA.  He told Yahoo! Sports that “has been the story of my career: coming back, fighting, scrapping…” On the season, he is averaging 15 points, 4 assists, 2.4 threes on 36% FG shooting, his second lowest shooting percentage since 1999 when he only played 13 games.  Despite poor shooting, Billups has become the archetypal “been there, done that” guy on a young Clippers team.  Between him and Caron Butler, the only two players to have NBA championship rings, they really have seen just about everything — including the rise and fall of Allen Iverson, the final curtain call of Michael Jordan, the slow decline of Tim Duncan, and the coronation of a King.

The injury came in Tuesday’s win against the Orlando Magic.  Everyone knew right away that it could be the Achilles tendon and began wishing Chauncey the best of luck as the organization waited for an MRI.  In his stead, Mo Williams and Randy Foye must step up.  Together, they are more than capable of reproducing his statistical output; but can they do the “Big Shot” when it counts?  For Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, this probably means a slight dip in the number of easy, unexpected lobs-turned-dunks, as Billups played Point Guard for most of his career.  Fans should look forward to seeing him on the sidelines where he will carefully mentor CP3 in the playoffs.  In recent years Billups has jumped from Detroit, his spiritual home, to Denver, the city from which he hails, to New York, the city that ultimately cut him just as it was forming its own “Big __ something”, to Los Angeles where he hoped to take yet another unlikely team all the way.  Good luck, Chauncey.  Everyone loves you.

Los Angeles Clippers Tickets are available for all Clippers Games.  Clippers Vs Spurs Tickets for the showdown on Feb 18th at 12:30,  Clippers Vs Nuggets Tickets for Feb 22nd at 7:30 and Clippers Vs Lakers Tickets for April 4th 7:30 are just some of the BIG Clippers games coming up at the STAPLES Center.

The Lakers and Clippers seek to add depth before the playoffs

With the Kenyon Martin signing done, the Los Angeles Clippers have obtained one more big body to help contend with the L.A. Lakers’ big front court in the future Battle of Los Angeles  Now, both teams are seeking to add yet more depth in order to bring home the bacon.  The returning players from overseas, like K-Mart, are one possible avenue for each team.  Everyday, it seems, the Lakers are rumored to be interested in so and so, or so and so is rumored to be demanding a trade to the Lakers (see Orlando Magic Dwight Howard).  Until recently, I cannot ever recall a single player either demand a trade to the Clippers or hope that the Clippers picked them up off of the waivers.  However, that has all changed with the formation of Lob City through the acquisitions of Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, and even Caron Butler, who now has an NBA championship ring.  Not only are players hoping that the Clippers might take them in, but are actually dreaming about it.  Even Dwight Howard, arguably the best Center in the league, has persistently been rumored, now, to want to end up with the Clippers.  While that may or may not be true in reality, the media has crowned the Clippers as the next Big Thing.

Out of the available pool of free agents, including those who are currently overseas, who is the best fit for either the Clippers or the Lakers to put either team over the top?  Starting with the China-boys, this analysis may become polarizing quickly.  First up is J.R. Smith.  Two weeks ago he annihilated the Chinese league for 60 points on 14 of 18 treys.  Qingdao will probably have to sell their team and give up now like the Seattle SuperSonics did.  J.R. Smith, one of the streakiest and most annoying players in the NBA (and its sister-leagues) today, probably set back the Qingdao team a decade with that explosion.  J.R. Smith

Not two weeks ago did J.R. Smith remind the NBA of his talents.  He exploded for 60 points over Qingdao in the Chinese league, drilling 14 of 18 three pointers in the process.  Now, everyone knows J.R. Smith can shoot the ball and shoot it well.  Everyone also knows that he can dunk the ball and dunk it well.  But his off the court behavior and me-first attitude on the court could end up being more of a burden than a blessing to the team that lands him this coming week.  The Lakers want to sign Smith to complement Kobe and finally get someone to hit a perimeter shot.  While I love Matt Barnes, he is a far cry form the player who regularly turned it on for Don Nelson in Golden State a few years back.  And while I love Ron Artest (read:  Metta World Peace), he has always been a chucker and a sort of offensive clunker.  He still brings it defensively and is vital to their success, but for as much as a chastise J.R. Smith, I’d still rather have him taking ill-advisde shots than Metta World Peace.  The Clippers are also interested but since they’re already defensively inept in the backcourt (largely due to a lack of size), adding Smith would only make them defensively worse.  Also, there are likely not enough shots to go around on the perimeter between Cp3, Billups, Foye (a chucker), and Mo Williams (another chucker).  What the Clippers need is a real backup SF (or even starting SF).  If the Lakers sign Smith, I’d give it a B+ signing (only if Kobe can keep J.R. in line).  For the Clippers:  C-.

Taking a look at the list of domestic players, the only one who really stands out for either team is Gilbert Arenas.  While Larry Hughes’ teardrop tatted beneath his eye does stand out, unfortunately his game does not.  Arenas so desperately wants to play for any L.A. team in his hometown that he’s scheduled his own public workout for later in this week.  Arenas was last seen sporting an ill-advised beard and a shaky jumpshot in Orlando last year, and the fact that no team has yet signed the enigmatic combo-guard is not a good sign.  Last year he played 25 minutes off the bench behind such wonders as Jameer Nelson and Jason and Quentin Richardson.  What?  If Agent Zero cannot even displace any of those three chuckers, who is to say that he can displace any of the Clippers’ chuckers, who are actually playing at a fantastic level right now (see:  Mo Williams).  The Lakers could use someone to create offense, but not someone to dribble out the shot clock.  I’d give the Clippers signing Arenas a D- and the Lakers signing him a C+.

The last candidate is Wilson Chandler, who may or may not ever get out of his contract in China.  Chandler is a young player with a multifaceted game.  For some reason, he reminds me of Danny Granger, although he’s never really had the chance to put up Granger-like numbers.  Chandler is not phenomenal at any one thing but is pretty good at most of them.  The Lakers don’t exactly need another wing to steal shots, but if Chandler could be used to generate legitimate offense off the bench (that does not come from off-balanced three pointers), then he might be a good signing.  However, he would likely command too much money for the Lakers.  The Clippers could also really use him, as his game would readily remedy a lot of the penetration problems the Clippers currently have (and also move Caron Butler to the bench where he belongs).  But Chandler would probably cost too much for them, too.  That being said, I’d give each team an A- for acquiring Chandler.  In the end, though, the Lakers ought to refrain from acquiring anymore older talent and begin looking at younger talent.  Maybe let the Mini-Mamba loose.  The Clippers should stand-pat and let the team gel first before acquiring anyone else.

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