Clipper Staples is for everyone
Expectations were huge on Wednesday night as the Clippers finally had the dynamite duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard playing together for the first time. Even though both players would be playing limited minutes it would be the first time fans of the Clippers and basketball fans around the world would see what got the NBA world buzzing this past summer. Besides the unveiling of the dynamic duo, the Clippers were playing the Boston Celtics who came into the game with the best record in the Eastern Conference.
As a Clipper fan, one of the things I’ve taken for granted is that when the Clippers host a team with a large following such as the Lakers, Bulls, Knicks, and Celtics the game will be filled with at least 50% of the visiting team fans and Wednesday Night was no different as Staples was filled with Celtic Green.
This can be deflating for Clipper fans but it has a silver lining in going to a Clipper / Celtic game at Staples. It becomes an experience I wish all fans could enjoy because it is so different than the norm. When each play results in cheers a fan rivalry grows as each base wants to show who can be loudest. At an NBA game, the fans cheer throughout the first three quarters but those cheers are muted compared to what will happen in the 4th if the game is closely contested. Last night the game went into overtime and was eventually decided on the last play when Kawhi blocked what could have been the tying three-point shot from the corner. The final ten minutes of the game were played in front of a standing crowd with each team’s fans either cheering or groaning with each play.
At one point last night the Celtics were up by 10 points late in the 4th quarter. Their fans were going crazy with good reason, their team had made all the good plays while the Clippers couldn’t hit shots and were sloppy with the basketball. Kawhi didn’t look anything like an NBA Finals MVP but Jason Tatum sure did firing in threes from all over the court. And just like that, the game turned but it was the Clippers heart (Lou Williams) and soul (Pat Beverly) who led the comeback not the vaunted duo of Kawhi/George. The Celtics were 8 – 0 with at least a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter so far in 2019 but by the end of the game, they were 8 – 1 as Pat Beverly grabbed rebound after rebound and hit three key three-point shots in overtime. Sweet Lou was why they got to overtime, scoring 13 points in the 4th quarter.
Only three guards in 2019 had grabbed at least 15 rebounds in a game and Pat Beverly is one of them. He was also the only one of the three to win the game.
Player Pos Date MP ORB DRB TRB GmSc Russell Westbrook G 2019-10-24 L 33 4 12 16 23.1 Patrick Beverley G 2019-11-20 W 41 4 12 16 20.4 Josh Hart G 2019-11-02 L 30 3 12 15 14.0
The Celtic fans who had been loud and crazy for all 53 minutes left Staples with a loss but they got their money’s worth. Their team didn’t win but for these fans who are 3,111 miles away from their hometown they had plenty to cheer about, and as we all ambled out of Staples, all I heard from the Celtic Green fans was mad respect for Pat Beverly.
Staples is a strange environment for Clipper fans as they have to share it with the visiting team fans but it is an environment that I’m finally becoming at peace with, as I realized Wed Night how much I enjoy the back and forth cheering that happens at Clipper games.
There is room for everyone.