The Clippers take on the Phoenix Suns tonight in what could a pivotal game. First and foremost, a win would clinch a playoff berth for this franchise for the ninth time in 10 seasons. There are also massive seeding implications, as the Clippers could move to within one loss of the No. 2 seed with a victory to potentially earn home court in the second round of the playoffs.
Suffice to say, this could be one of the team’s biggest wins of the season. Which begs the question: with only nine games to play, what is L.A.’s best win of the year?
There are a myriad of choices, depending on your personal preference. There are wins against contenders, like on opening night when they spoiled the Lakers’ ring night with a convincing defeat of the defending champs. The Clippers have also beaten Phoenix twice, including a recent win that further added to the legend of national TV Rondo. And who can forget their win over a full-strength Utah team in February.
My personal favorite in the contender variety came against Milwaukee when they obliterated the Bucks despite losing Paul George to a late scratch.
Many fans have grown fond of the shorthanded victories, when the Canoes (h/t Joseph Raya-Ward of the Clipset Podcast) rather than the Clippers suit up. L.A. beat Miami twice, both times without Kawhi Leonard, George, and Patrick Beverley. The team took down the Pistons in Detroit without all five starters available and then upped the ante against Memphis by winning despite missing SIX rotation players. Yogi Ferrell signed his contract, took the court, and brought the Clippers home.
Then there’s a victory that seems to hold a special place in Nic Batum’s heart, when the Clippers looked lifeless and then came back from 22 points down in the third quarter against Atlanta. The team was relatively whole, yet relied on their reserves to turn the momentum of the game. Luke Kennard called Batum — who had been supplanted in the starting lineup a week earlier — the leader during that stretch. Batum would later say, “Down 22 changed everything. I mean, something was born that night.”
Ideally, there will be many more chances for the Clippers to reel off memorable games before the end of this season, but a team this good deserves to be celebrated in the moment. What’s your favorite win of the year so far? Let us know in the comments.
What’s your favorite win of the season so far?
This poll is closed
Opening night vs. Lakers
Either of the two shorthanded Miami wins
Getting healthy and beating Utah
The comeback against Atlanta
Reggie’s game-winner in Detroit
Too many to pick from!
More news for Wednesday:
- A beautiful story from Andrew Greif about how Reggie Jackson arrived at the mental space to be ready for his role this season.
- NBA Top Shot has made real inroads among NBA players.
- In that vein, the Warriors are the first pro team to launch an NFT collection. Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird are also part of a group of women each dropping their own NFTs early next month.
- Adam Silver gave a lengthy interview to TIME about the last year for the NBA.
- WNBA training camps are in full force, and this is a useful primer of the battles to make the final rosters.