Los Angeles Clippers: Scandals and NBA Playoff Successes
Los Angeles Clippers History and Highlights.
The Clippers are one of the least successful teams in NBA history as they have never won a championship or played in the NBA Finals. Their best accomplishments are the division titles in 2013 and 2014.
Founding and Early Years
Los Angeles Clippers were founded in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves being one of three teams that joined the NBA in the 1970-71 season.
Clippers Find Their First Star in Bob McAdoo
Bob McAdoo was the team’s first star as he led the NBA in scoring in three consecutive seasons. The Clippers also made the playoffs three years in a row but couldn’t go deeper than the second round. Eventually, their 1976 Playoff appearance was the last until the beginning of the 1990s.
Move to San Diego
After eight years in Buffalo and arena issues, the team moved to San Diego, where they played for six seasons without any significant success. Then, in 1982, the team was bought by Ronald Sterling and two years later was moved to Los Angeles.
In 1992, the Los Angeles Clippers finally got back to the NBA Playoffs, which was considered a major step forward despite losing in the opening round to the Utah Jazz. That team featured Ron Harper, Danny Manning, and Charles Smith as leaders. The team made it to the playoffs the following season and lost to the Houston Rockets in the opening round.
The start of the 2000s looked very promising for the Clippers. They drafted Lamar Odom with the fourth pick of the 1999 NBA Draft. They also added Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Quentin Richardson, Darius Miles, and Keyon Dooling, which was the most exciting team in the early 2000s.
Clippers Make a Playoffs Comeback
After ten years of absence from the NBA Playoffs, the Clippers were finally back in the postseason in 2006. They started very well, defeating the Denver Nuggets in the opening round in four games but were stopped in the next, losing 4-3 to the Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately, that was a one-and-done year for the Clippers, who returned to being among the worst teams in the conference.
The Modern Era
Things started to get better in the 2010s after the team selected Deandre Jordan with the 35th pick at the 2008 NBA Draft and Blake Griffin in 2009. When the league banned Chris Paul from signing with the Lakers, the point guard decided to sign with the Clippers, which completed the team later called “Lob City,” given the style of basketball they were playing.
Six Consecutive Playoff Appearances
With Chris Paul as the floor general, the Los Angeles Clippers made six consecutive playoff appearances, and for the first time in franchise history, they were the better team in LA. Their best season came in 2015 when they reached the second round of the playoffs losing to the Houston Rockets in seven games after defeating the San Antonio Spurs with Paul’s buzzer-beater in Game 7 of the opening round.
Sterling’s Racial Remarks Cause a Scandal
During that period, team owner Donald Sterling made public racial comments, creating a huge controversy; most players didn’t even want to play for him. He was forced to sell the team, and most still wanted out. Paul, Griffin, and Jordan were soon out, which left a lot of salary cap space to sign top free agents. That is what the Clippers did, signing Paul George and Kawhi Leonard in 2019.
In the 2020-21 season, the Los Angeles Clippers made the conference finals for the first time in franchise history but lost to the Phoenix Suns in six games. Both George and Leonard had significant injury issues in the following years, which cost the Clippers the chance to be competitive in the West.