The first team to score 100 wins. It’s The Law!
Ralph Lawler is the beloved play-by-play broadcaster of the Los Angeles Clippers. Mr. Lawler, who recently celebrated his 76th birthday, has broadcast over 2700 Clipper broadcasts. He is finishing up his 35th year as a Clippers broadcaster. His banter with broadcast partner, Michael Smith, and former partner, NBA legend Bill Walton has entertained generations of Clipper fans. As a Clipper fan, if Ralph isn’t calling the game, it doesn’t feel like a Clippers game. According to Clippers.com, “his enthusiastic calls of “Bingo!,” “Fasten your Seat-belts” and “Oh Me Oh My” [continue] to be familiar favorites for Clipper fans.”
If there’s any doubt after reading this essay, please know he’s beloved by me also. However, lately, I’m beginning to think he may be responsible for some very troubling losses by Doc Rivers’ Clippers.
Among Clipper fans and many broadcasters, Lawler’s Law is well known. It’s also highly accurate. According to an article on vorped.com its accuracy rate is 93.5%; the article also states that others have estimated its accuracy around 91.5%.
took the results of the 94 regular-season and playoff games of 2013-14 as reported by Basketball-Reference.com, cross-referenced those results with the play-by-play as stored by NBA.com and learned that Lawler’s Law was 90.5% for this season (so far). Here’s the breakdown.
Of 94 games played to date, there were 10 games where neither team scored 100; so Lawler’s Law didn’t apply. There were 27 games where the opponent didn’t score 100, which the Clippers won. There were 11 games where the Clippers didn’t score 100, which they obviously lost. Of the remaining 46 games, Lawler’s Law was sustained 38 of 46 times. Therefore, in games where Lawler’s Law was applicable, it was sustained 76 of 84 times or 90.5%.
However, in tracking Lawler’s Law throughout the season, I’ve noticed a troubling trend surrounding Lawler’s Law. Doc Rivers’ Clippers have some trouble once they reach 100 points. Need proof?
Chris Paul hits a 16 foot jump shot to put the Clippers in the lead 100-89 with 5:13 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Timberwolves score five points in the next 1:13 before Ryan Hollins hits the second of two free throws. Kevin Martin scores five more points in 34 seconds to bring the margin to within two points. The game seesaws back and forth until Nikola Pekovic scores a layup from three feet out to make the score 109-107 Clippers with 28 seconds remaining. The Clippers take a time out with 11 seconds left with possession. Blake Griffin misses a layup from 2 feet with 7 seconds left. Kevin Love rebounds the ball and the T-Wolves call a timeout with 6 seconds left. When play resumes, Kevin Martin misses a jumper from 16 feet. Pekovic rebounds and misses a layup. Love rebounds and misses a layup and the Clippers escape with the victory.
With 8:26 remaining in the fourth quarter, Jamal Crawford hits a jumper from 19 feet out to give the Clippers a 16-point lead, 100-86. In the ensuing eight minutes seven seconds, the Celtics outscored the Clippers 21-11 to narrow the Clippers’ lead to four points. The Clippers finally scored on two Willie Green free throws with one second remaining to reverse the scoring trend.
With 2:47 remaining in the third quarter, Matt Barnes hit a 25-foot trey to give the Clippers a nine-point lead. From that point until 9:44 of the fourth quarter, a span of five minutes and three seconds, the Clippers didn’t score another point and committed several turnovers contributing to a six-point Mavericks lead, a swing of 15 points. Among the turnovers: a foul by Matt Barnes putting the Mavericks in the bonus; a five-second violation by Blake Griffin; a missed 24-footer by Barnes, a missed 20-footer by Jamal Crawford, a missed 4-foot jumper by Barnes, a missed 4-foot jumper by Griffin, a missed 2-foot jumper by Darren Collison, a bad pass by Griffin that was stolen by the Mavericks, a missed trey by Griffin, a lost ball turnover by Crawford, a missed 25-footer by Jared Dudley and a shooting foul by Dudley. This calvacade of unforced errors was ended by a 4-foot floater by Barnes. Amazingly, the Clippers got down by as many as 17 points at 4:49 (4th), score 123-106.
At that point, to the fortune of the Clippers, the Mavericks had a meltdown of their own. The Clippers outscored the Mavericks 23-4 to take the lead and win the game 129-127, sustaining Lawler’s Law for another day.
With 5:58 remaining in the 4th quarter, Blake Griffin hit a driving layup from three feet out to give the Clippers an 11-point lead, 100-89. All of a sudden, Pero Antic and Kyle Korver turned into Batman and Robin. Between the two, the Hawks went on an 11-2 run to bring the score within two 102-100. Then, Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Teague got involved and worked the score into a tie with 1:35 remaining in regulation.
In the time remaining, Chris Paul hit a 3-foot layup, but DeAndre Jordan fouled Teague with one second remaining with an opportunity for the Hawks to tie the game and send it into overtime. Fortunately, Teague missed the first of two free throws. Although Millsap stole a Turkoglu inbounds pass, there wasn’t enough time remaining on the clock and the Clippers won by a single point.
8:41 Fourth Quarter
Matt Barnes hits an easy layup from one foot out to give the Clippers a 21-point lead over the Phoenix Suns 101-80. On the floor for the Clippers: Paul, Griffin, Granger, Barnes and Jordan.
At that point, the Morris Twins, Goran Dragic and Gerald Green outscored Chris Paul and Matt Barnes 25-11. The Clippers committed six turnovers to one for the Suns. The Suns outshot the Clippers 55.6% to 18.2%
Clearly, the Suns ran out of time.
A crazy day in the Southland. Angelinos woke up to a 4.4M quake at 6:25am. Yet, the Clippers weren’t in Los Angeles. They were in Denver to play the Nuggets. Yet, the 100-point line of demarcation worked in a mysterious way this day.
Denver cross the barrier first when Ty Lawson hit a 17-foot jumper with 3:46 remaining in the game and take a 101-98 lead. Fouled by Reggie Bullock, Lawson hit the free throw for a four-point Denver lead.
The Clippers worked the ball around the perimeter and Matt Barnes passed the ball underneath the basket to DeAndre Jordan for a dunk to bring the Clips within two, 102-100 with 3:31 remaining.
The Clippers never scored another point.
Game 5 – Western Conference Semifinals
Well… we all know what happened Tuesday.
I really don’t blame Ralph Lawler for all of this.
Yet, I have to wonder if Lawler’s Line has more of an effect on this team than it should have.
And so it goes.
Ciao for now!