The Clippers have a talent for ticking people off. There is no other team in the Western Conference that gets the blood to raging like the Los Angeles Clippers. Let’s look at the scorecard. The Warriors hate them. The Mavericks think they are liars. Now it is the Memphis Grizzlies turn, irate because of what a supposedly “clever” Clippers employee wrote on the official Twitter account after the Wednesday night game with the Warriors. This much is true: the Clippers reputation is a mess.
The Grizzlies and Clippers have history and it’s not all pretty. The Clippers stunned the Grizzlies with a game 7 win at Memphis in 2012, aided by none other than Nick Young. The next season, the Grizzlies had their payback. They beat the Clippers in 6 games and won game 5 on the Clippers home floor. A lot of bad feelings brewed from that series and now the Grizzlies have one more example that the Clippers are the evil empire with no class.
Once, the Grizzlies were a pretty good defensive team. This season their numbers have dropped precipitously. In Oakland, they gave up 119 points to the Warriors. No harm done. The Warriors are the best team in the league with their hyperactive offense. The problem was the Grizzlies only scored 69 points of their own. That would mean they lost by 50 points which is what will happen when you shoot 27% against the Warriors. All of those missed shots became Warriors rebounds and three point shots. The Warriors scored more points in the second and third quarter (72) than the Grizzlies scored all game.
The Grizzlies went on to play the Sacramento Kings the next game. The Warriors played the Clippers. Here is where think he is so funny Clippers employee got it rolling on Twitter. In tweeting about the Clippers, he jammed the Grizzlies. He used the Grizzlies loss as a vehicle for humor and for deflection on the Clippers own woeful history at Oracle. Post-game, after the Clippers lost by 4 points to the Warriors, a game they had the lead in for a good part of the 4th quarter, Clippers employee used this hashtag:
Perhaps he thought it was funny. Or perhaps he thought, in some sort of fallacious reasoning kindergarten sort of way, that meant the Clippers were better than the Grizzlies. He obviously didn’t get the implication- happy about losing as long as it wasn’t 50 points- was a bad look. He was conceding, by default, the Clippers were losers. He was celebrating it. But all of those optics were lost on said employee. But not on the Grizzlies who saw it as one of those passive-aggressive put downs the Clippers are known for. Of course, they reacted.
Courtney Lee: “We took our ‘L’ and we kept it moving, right? We lost by 50. We didnt’ cry over it and went on to the next one. Apparently they’re holding on to it. That’s what they got to do to overshadow their loss. Last time I heard, a loss is a loss. But that’s what they do over there.”
Over there. The Clippers and class are mutually exclusive of each other, this is the reputation they are building, how they are perceived by the rest of the league.
Tony Allen: “You ever seen the movie ‘White Men Can’t Jump’? It’s like those brothers would rather look good in a loss than look bad in a win. Whoever is in charge of their Twitter account should be fired. I’ve never seen anyone broadcast losing. Who’s proud of losing-whether it be by one, two, three or 50?”
Ouch. The Grizzlies were just getting started, fueled by the newest Clipper hater among them, Matt Barnes.
“I can’t wait to play against Doc Rivers.”
Barnes blames Rivers for being shipped out. Originally Barnes was traded to Charlotte and then released. Then he signed with Memphis. Barnes numbers with the Clippers last year were pretty consistent with what he produced during his three year tenure: 44% field goals, 10 points, 36% from three. Barnes, though, had a terrible playoff run, and the Clippers needed an upgrade at the position, although Wesley Johnson, an old Paul Pierce and Lance Stephenson aren’t much of an upgrade. The 10 points Barnes put up last year as small forward is more than either of the new small forwards are producing individually. It takes three Clippers small forwards to equal 17 points.
In the old days, the Clippers reputation was of organizational malfeasance. Their despotic owner was a disaster in putting a team together. He couldn’t/wouldn’t get out of his own way, meddling with his G.M. He was cheap, wanting a NBA team while spending as little money as possible. Those days are gone. The Clippers spend money. They have talent. They have a championship caliber team. But their reputation skews the narrative. They don’t win with grace and they don’t lose with grace. A John Wooden tutorial is what they need right about now. Wooden said:
Talent is God given, be humble. Fame is man given, be grateful. Conceit is self-given, be careful.
The Memphis Grizzlies play the Clippers on Monday night.
photo via llananba