Well, that was fun. Even the game, another inevitable loss, turned out to be competitive.
I have to say that the first ever ClipsNation Viewing Party was, from my perspective, quite a success. Although we didn't have hundreds of citizens, I believe we did manage to outdraw the last Clippers Viewing Party at the Commerce Casino, so there's that.
More importantly, the guest list included a veritable who's who of ClipsNation citizens. Most of the career leaders in 'comments made' were there: Citizens John R, Zhiv, mp, Clip Show and pipedreams all made the trip along with some friends and family along for the ride. (Big thanks to pipedreams, who came a LONG way to get to Long Beach.) The ClipperWidow even made a brief appearance.
We also had a couple of Clipper Spirit in the house - Laura (she of the half court shot earlier this season), and perennial ClipsNation favorite Taylor stopped by. (And you guys didn't believe me!) So a huge thanks to the two of them, who are great Clipper fans in addition to being great dancers. (There's a nice picture on the Clippers' web site of Laura and Taylor together during the Deal or No Deal game.) Thanks as well to Coach Jessie for extending the invitation to the Spirit.
We also had a surprise guest at the party. The dean of Clipper beat reporters, Art Thompson III of the OC Register stopped by. Needless to say, talking to a guy who has covered the Clippers since Bill Fitch was the coach is quite illuminating. So I certainly want to thank Art for coming by and supporting ClipsNation.
As for the game, I watched the first quarter pretty closely, and of course the Warriors raced out of the gate and made it look like this was going to be the blow out to end all blow outs. In order to preserve my sanity, I subtly switched into host mode, and chatted up the citizens, and oh yeah, the Spirit. It turns out, that while I was talking to pretty dancers, a basketball game. broke out.
After several Maggetteless games where no more than two Clippers at a time were any better than atrocious on offense (Brand and Powell against Houston, Brand and Mobley against Denver, Brand and Thornton against the Lakers) the Clippers actually had 4 players (Mobley, Thornton, Brand and Maggette) score over 20. Wow. Of course it is only the Warriors, but still it was a nice departure from the offensively-offensive norm. In another stat that feels like a first, the Clippers actually out-rebounded their opponent, 50-44. It's not unrealistic to say that if the Warriors don't open the game making 6 of their first 7 threes, the Clippers would have won this game. By the same token, things do tend to even out, and the Warriors finished the game 9 for 25 from three - which means that they made only 3 of their final 18. Live by the sword, yadda, yadda, yadda.
The loss was expected, and of course useful in the standings. The Clippers certainly don't want to be pulling back ahead of the Knicks at this point. The really bad news is that Memphis (starting a guy named Andre Brown at center) lost at home to Minnesota, keeping a few more precious ping pong balls to themselves, selfish bastards that they are. Seems like Iavaroni may have picked up on what was actually important. Memphis would not seem to have much chance to get another win, at Portland and at Denver. Nor are the T-Wolves likely to catch the Clippers, which would require them to win their final two games. So as of now it would seem that the Clippers best hope is that New York get one more win and cede a few more ping pong balls and one spot in the draft.
Regarding the Viewing Party, the consensus in the room was that it was a success, and that we should do it again. Yankee Doodles worked well from my perspective, but by request I will also consider doing one near Staples Center (if anyone has a suggestion for a place, let me know). Hopefully next season, during a game that matters and watching a team competing at full strength, we'll have an even better turnout and an even better time. But for now, thanks to everyone who showed up, thanks for the beers, and we'll see you at the next one.