Posts Tagged ‘Staples Center’

Clippers Boast Substance And Style

 

LOS ANGELES – As anyone within a 300-mile radius of the Staples Center will tell you, this was, is and always will be a “Lakers town.”

It’s just a part of the deal when you have 16 NBA championship banners hanging in the rafters. But by the time all of the NBA gifts were unwrapped on Christmas, it was that other team that calls Staples Center home that stood out from the rest of the crowd. Lob City and then some.

The Clippers wiped the arena floor with the Denver Nuggets in a 112-100 clinic before an enthralled home crowd, pushing their franchise-record winning streak up to 14 games and counting. They boasts the league’s best record at 22-6 and a half game ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the first time they’ve held that distinction on Christmas Day in franchise history.

The Clippers have it all. The style of the Showtime Lakers with an edge the Bad Boys Pistons could appreciate all rolled up into a 14-man group that enjoys each other to the fullest, complete with Tuesday’s “Ugly Christmas Sweater” contest that required every player to enter the locker room in the worst ensemble possible, every bit as much as they do performing under the brightest of lights.

The maestro of the original Showtime saw it and said it himself. ESPN analyst and Lakers legend Magic Johnson started the praise parade at halftime Tuesday night when he called the Clippers the second coming of Showtime.

“I thought I would never see Showtime again,” he said. “The Clippers are Showtime! THIS is Showtime.”

They’ll have to chase a few banners for that praise to be anything more than a a good sound bite, as captain and All-Star Chris Paul made clear after watching a huge lead shrink with the starters resting in the fourth quarter. The Clippers gave up 100 points for just the second time during the streak, average margin of victory 15.4 points.

“The Showtime Lakers won championships,” Paul said.”We always talk about the big picture because this is fool’s gold,” Paul said. “You don’t play for the regular season. … We still got to keep building. We’ll know when we’re where we want to be, but we still have a ways to go.”

The Clippers are working on developing the championship fabric that all title teams seem to have. And they’re doing it with unbridled passion for the job, with smiles on their faces and a locker room as loose as the one some of us saw in Oklahoma City last season when the Thunder made their move to The Finals.

“That sweater contest can be blamed on Chris, Blake [Griffin] and DeAndre [Jordan],” said Clippers and NBA sixth man extraordinaire Jamal Crawford, who led the charge against the Nuggets with a game-high 22 points off the bench. “They are in charge of all of the crazy stuff that goes on around here, all of the fun stuff. They’re the ones who set the pace around here.”

That’s the extent of the finger-pointing that goes on with this group. Ninety minutes before tipoff their locker room was a festival of pranks, holiday greetings and evaluations of whose sweater was ugliest. That was just a warm up for what they had in store for the Nuggets, as physical and athletic a group as there is in the league.

When the Clippers tried to crank up the Lob City action late in the first quarter, Nuggets center Kosta Koufos took exception with a hard foul on and a few choice words for Griffin, who responded by going directly at Koufos and any other player in blue foolish enough to get in his way.

A 28-10 Clippers’ scoring barrage ensued, with wicked dunks from Griffin, Jordan and Matt Barnes, whose impact off the bench alongside Crawford (20 points on this night) cannot be ignored. Paul and Barnes nailed consecutive 3-pointers during that run and Crawford, the best pure scorer on the roster, brought the fans out of their seats repeatedly with showmanship off the dribble on offense that the ringleader of the original “Showtime” crew (and longtime showman and Clippers superfan Billy Crystal) could appreciate.

Not everyone in the Clippers’ camp is as enthralled with the early season work, though.

“It’s nice. But it’s Christmas,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We’ve got a long way to go and lot of improvements to make.”

Hours earlier Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni expressed similar sentiments about his team, while also professing that they had the “best talent in the league” on their roster. This from a coach whose team has won five straight games just to get back to .500 (14-14).

Again, the Clippers have won 14 straight, the longest streak in the league this season. And yet they’re still losing the fight in the Battle For Los Angeles.

“We’re really not fighting that battle,” Crawford said having obviously heard that line of questioning before. “We’re good over here. We  don’t worry about anything but us around here. It’s all about getting better and better. We’re trying to stay locked in and focused.”

Staples Center and the Perfect Storm





HANG TIME WEST – The Lakers are playing home games. The Clippers are playing home games. The NHL’s Kings are playing home games. The Amgen Tour of California, a major cycling event, will pass through.

All in and around Staples Center.

All between Thursday night and Sunday night.

“The perfect storm,” said Lee Zeidman, the senior vice president and general manager of the building.

He is right on both counts. Perfect for the arena workers and surrounding businesses because all three primary tenants remain alive in the playoffs, which helps recoup some of the money lost by the lockout along with being a source of pride for the sports community. But, what a storm of activity, the way fate converged as both NBA teams opened the second round on the road and came home the same time while the NHL club dominated its postseason beyond what even the most optimistic of fans could have dreamed. It’s that timing, not just the fact that this is the first time all three made the postseason the same year, that put the calendar into the blender.

“This will never be duplicated by any arena at any time,” Zeidman said. “In the country.”

(more…)

adidas gives All-Stars a choice

We’ve selected the All-Stars, at least the starters. (West, East.) Now they get choose their All-Star uniforms. (The reserves will, too.)

For the first time ever in a town where what you wear is often more important than who you are, adidas is giving the 2011 NBA All-Stars a choice when it comes to which uniform they don for the All-Star Game on Feb. 20 at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

All-Stars have the option to wear an adidas TECHFIT PowerWeb compression jersey or the NBA Revolution 30 jerseys they’ve been wearing this season.

“Los Angeles is an exciting convergence of sports, style and entertainment unlike any other place in the world,” adidas vice president Lawrence Norman said. “Our latest on-court uniform design and innovation, as well as our off-court footwear and apparel, celebrate the city and the game of basketball.

“NBA All-Star is the premiere event for adidas to showcase our innovations on basketball’s biggest stage and there is no better time or place to show basketball fans around the world how our products make the best athletes in the world, lighter, faster and stronger.”

According to adidas, the new All-Star TECHFIT jersey features strategically placed thermoplastic polyurethane powerbands that align core muscles and boost power to key muscle groups for more efficient movement that increases acceleration and endurance. The compression fit improves movement by preventing opposing players from grabbing loose jersey fabric and slowing them down.

Sounds pretty scientific and I’m sure getting your muscles aligned or boosted is a good thing. Kinda wish I had muscles.

The All-Star uniform design itself pays homage to the host city with bold, block typeface inspired by the iconic Hollywood sign. The East and West team names feature the Los Angeles skyline and paying tribute to the game’s diamond anniversary (60th), there’s an integrated diamond pattern that stands out under arena lights.

But that’s not all. The All-Stars’ warm-ups have the look of a three-piece suit ready to be worn down the red carpet. All this All-Star apparel and more will be available in Los Angeles at the NBA Store at Jam Session and NBAStore.com.