The final game at Staples Center was officially played Thursday, as the San Antonio Spurs laid waste to the Lakers, much as they did to the Clippers earlier this week.
But there were plenty of great times to be had in Staples Center, even for the Clippers, though they didn’t experience the same success as the other three major tenants of the arena. The Clippers certainly have the most recent epic moment, when Terance Mann led a shocking comeback in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinals to propel the team to the first conference finals in franchise history earlier this year.
Some other iconic moments include a litany of Blake Griffin dunks. The ones over Timofey Mozgov, Danilo Gallinari, and Kendrick Perkins really got him on the map, but I’m always partial to the dunk contest slam over the Kia on a pass from Baron Davis in his last act as a Clipper. Theatricality works when you sell it, and that was quite the spectacle.
Chris Paul’s one-legged game-winner over San Antonio in Game 7 of the 2015 first round stands out as well. Buzzer beaters are always fun, like JJ Redick against Portland in 2016, Glen Rice over Dallas in 2003, Lou Williams against Brooklyn in 2019, or Steve Novak against the Nets in 2009. The best of those regular-season shots is likely Griffin against the Suns in 2014 — who can forget the bounce that 3-pointer took?
Ultimately, being the third tenant at Staples Center during winter sports season meant that the Clippers never got to make this building home the way other teams did — think of the early-afternoon starts, for example — and the franchise moved on from the arena before the name did, knowing that the Clippers needed to carve out their own path. Intuit Dome will be the home of Clippers greatness in a way that Staples Center never was or could be, but it’s still fun to look back at how far this team has come in the last 22 years.
More news for Friday:
- Andrew Greif listed his best Clippers moments from Staples Center, too.
- SB Nation found the best sports memes of 2021.
- While Paul George was out, he did some marketing for NBA 2K22 with Breanna Stewart.
- Serge Ibaka spoke about his strange month of rehab, the G League, DNPs, and more.
- Ben Cohen shared the stories of “The Omicron All-Stars” — G League players who have seen their NBA dreams come true this month under the strangest of circumstances.
- Marc Stein catalogued a full list of G Leaguers who have gotten the call-up, along with more tales from an abbreviated G League showcase.
- This is a nutty what could have been regarding Steve Kerr and North Korean diplomacy.
- The NBA will now be allowing ad patches on shooting shirts.