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Heisler: Clippers going back to losing, just without the laughs

By in Press Enterprise on February 3, 2018

By Mark Heisler

No, the Clippers didn’t just go back to being the Clippers of yore.

That was a peculiar laughingstock with a peculiar leading man, the one and only Donald Sterling.

The Clippers, who weren’t closing in on any titles, made the gutsy move and the smart one, which could lead to two lottery picks – little as that would be to show after losing Blake Griffin with Chris Paul already gone, DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams possibly next and Coach Doc Rivers after that?

So much for the Clippers’ heyday that so few here noticed or cared about.

They’re long past the Lob City days in 2011 when the Lakers were still royalty but Kobe Bryant agreed the Clippers were the most exciting team in town, marveling, “Blake Griffin has, like, a 60-inch vertical.”

Nor are the Clippers the ill-starred contenders who averaged 55 wins the last five seasons, No. 3 in the NBA after the Warriors and Spurs.

Now rebuilding, the Clippers won’t even be good for laughs. Without Donald, it’s like doing “Seinfeld” without Jerry Seinfeld.

Worst of all, they’re nobody’s darlings.

Griffin was their breakthrough star, until last week. ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently described an outing in a Beverly Hills coffee shop when two teens noticed Blake and began texting friends until a group of about 50 waited outside, chanting “BG, 32!” and “Let’s go, Clippers!”

Nevertheless, on an institutional level, the Clippers barely registered locally.

They’re without a home if that means anything more than averaging 16,641 in Staples Center – down 12 percent from last season – with a small cable audience … even while dominating the Lakers on the court, beating them in the standings the last five seasons – by 137 games – and winning the last 14 meetings dating back four years.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer suggested the trade wasn’t his idea, noting “Change […]    

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