Blake Down, Clips Out?

In case you missed it, here is a five second summary of L.A.’s seven game road trip so far:

-Game 1: Lost a close one to a Pelicans team sans Anthony Davis

-Game 2: Won by 20 against the Spurs (arguably the best win of the season)

-Game 3: Blew a 9 point lead against the Nets with just 1:35 left to play

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Rising Big Men: Whiteside vs. D-Mo

Every NBA season, we see a few obscure names emerge from the depths of anonymity.  Some players explode for a stretch when a teammate goes down with an injury.  Others find their niche and role on a new team with a different system.  There are also those who just haven’t been given a chance until now.

This year, a plethora of young big men have been able to rise to the occasion, but a few names separate themselves from the rest: Hassan Whiteside, Donatas Motiejunas, Rudy Gobert and Jusuf Nurkic.  While none of these four players are even close to becoming household names, their performances have been noteworthy and their futures look bright.  

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Clippers: Countdown to Christmas

Things aren’t looking good for the Clippers as we countdown to the highly anticipated Christmas Night rematch against the Golden State Warriors.  The Clips started off a hectic upcoming week with a loss in Denver last night, the first of five games in a seven day span.  To compound things, they will have to travel to a different time zone in between each game.

The upcoming schedule includes two back-to-backs as well as elite competition from teams such as San Antonio (17-10), Atlanta (18-7), and Golden State (22-3).  And while the Bucks (14-13) are not quite up to par with the others, they just beat the Clippers a week ago in Milwaukee.

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Clippers' Seven Game Swing

After stumbling to a 5-4 start, the Clippers have rebounded with the most successful road trip in franchise history.  They won an unprecedented six out of seven games with the only loss coming to an emerging Memphis Grizzlies team led by darkhorse MVP candidate Marc Gasol.  It helps that the opposition was softer than usual; the wins came against Orlando, Miami (without Dwyane Wade), Charlotte, Detroit, Houston (without Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones, Patrick Beverley), and Utah.  Regardless, the Clippers won these games in convincing fashion and look to have snapped out of their funk.  They became the first team in NBA history to have an average win margin above 11 in a road trip of seven games or longer, proving their dominance as of late.

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Fog City vs. Smog City

As a Clipper fan, I had a feeling we were going to get stomped on in Oracle Arena.  It’s still early in the season, but the Clippers have been suspect throughout the preseason and through the beginning of the regular season.  Sure we miss Collison, sure we're still missing an athletic 3 (despite Reggie Bullock looking good), sure this is our 5th game in 7 days, sure the Warriors played terrific.  And if you think it had something to do with our former assistant coach Alvin Gentry joining the Warriors coaching staff, I’ll even give you that. But the real question is, what’s going on in Smog City?

Not to take anything away from the Warriors (no flex). They're good, and they know it... It shows in their confidence and intensity. But I'm not here to marvel at how good the Warriors looked. I'll leave that up to the Bay Area. I want to focus on two things I took away from the Clippers-Warriors game.  

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The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: LA Clippers 2014-15 Outlook

Yes, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Doc Rivers are all back.  Yes, Ralph Lawler will be back on the mic, announcing each and every "Bingo!" and alerting us of Lawler's Law (it's the law!).  But no, not much else will be the same.

Though most of their biggest cogs remain the same from last season, the Los Angeles Clippers are a very different team and organization this year.  Some changes I like, some I don't, and some are just... going to be hard to get used to.  So let's break down some of the most important things to look out for in the upcoming season.

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NBA Roundtable!

We got a few of our writers together to share a few of the debates we have had in the offseason.  We reflect on some of the great moments of last year, and also look forward to all the excitement of the upcoming season.  Joining us this week is Bulls-aficionado Jake Weiner of (D)Roses and Thorns Enjoy:

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Tony Allen: the Birth of the GRINDfather

I had a chance to make my first trip to the FedExForum, home of the Memphis Grizzlies.  My beloved Los Angeles Clippers were playing in the playoffs for just the fifth time in my 22 years of life (and three of those appearances occurred before I was 5).  Luckily, I was attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville, and decided to make the 3-hour drive to Memphis to root my team on in Game 1.

The game was a memorable one.  The Clippers made a historic 27-point comeback.  Reggie Evans transformed into our MVP.  Swaggy P drained three consecutive 3’s in the 4th quarter. And I blacked out when Kenyon Martin locked down Rudy Gay at the buzzer.  But the thing that stuck out most to me that night wasn’t our miraculous win.

On the long drive to the Forum, my friends and I were debating which Grizzly player was likely the most popular.  Was it Zach Randolph?  Rudy Gay?  Marc Gasol?  Mike Conley?

While there was a good mix of Z-Bo and Gay jerseys, there was another jersey that popped up with alarming frequency around the arena: #9, for Tony Allen.

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