Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Pacific Division of the Western Conference. The Clippers play their home games at the Staples Center which they share with their arch-rivals the Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), and the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League (NHL).
The franchise started life in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves, one of three expansion teams – entering an area where the sport had not been represented at that level – who joined the NBA that year. Eight years later in 1978 the franchise moved across the continent from Buffalo, New York to San Diego, California where they played under the new name of the San Diego Clippers. A further move to Los Angeles took place in 1984. However very little success on the playing arena gave the Clippers the impression of being perennial losers – which was problematic in that comparisons were inevitably made with the very successful Lakers, a franchise that competed for the affections of LA fans and who have shared the same arena since 1999.
The passing of time has seen a marked improvement in the fortunes of the LA Clippers, especially due to the acquisition of key players Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul. Griffin was selected first overall by the Clippers in the 2009 NBA draft, and has since been a five-time NBA All-Star and a four-time All-NBA selection. Jordan, all 6ft 11 of him, has played for the Clippers since 2008 and the strength and commitment that he brings to the team is illustrated by the fact that he is also the active iron man leader for consecutive games played in the NBA. Chris Paul, estimated to be one of the world’s highest paid sportsmen, has won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, two Olympic gold medals, and led the NBA in assists four times and steals six times. He has also been selected to eight NBA All-Star teams, seven All-NBA teams, and seven All-Defensive teams.
Thus the year 2013 saw the franchise winning the Pacific division title of the NBA Western Conference for the first time, making the playoffs for the ninth time in their history and the third time in eight seasons. They also managed to outplay the Lakers, finishing better than them for the fifth time and they were again division champions in 2014. The Clippers reached the 2015 playoffs where they met with the defending the NBA Champions San Antonio Spurs, winning in the last second of the final game of the seven match series. In the next series, they matched up against the #2 seeded Houston Rockets where they established a 3-1 series lead only to have Houston rallying and winning the final three games thus preventing the Clippers from making their first ever appearance in the Conference Finals.
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