Is this man the Clippers’ GOAT?

Ralph Lawler

The first team to score 100 wins.  It’s The Law!
Ralph Lawler

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, “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 its accuracy rate is 93.5%; the article also states that others have estimated its accuracy around 91.5%.

logo_mcs_vfs_inline took the results of the 94 regular-season and playoff games of 2013-14 as reported by, cross-referenced those results with the play-by-play as stored by 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?

11 November 2013
11 November 2013

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.

8 January 2014
8 January 2014

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.

Ralph Lawler, Jamal Crawford
Ralph Lawler speaks with Jamal Crawford pre-game – File Photo: Orange County Register
15 January 2014
15 January 2014

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.

8 March 2014
8 March 2014

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.

10 March 2014
10 March 2014

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.

17 March 2014
17 March 2014

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.

13 May 2014
13 May 2014

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!

Timeline: The Ouster of Donald Sterling

Donald and Shelly Sterling

Based on reporting by Jeff Zillgitt, USA Today Sports and the playoff schedule released by the National Basketball Association to media

There is a process and timeline the NBA must follow in order to oust Sterling, and that is detailed in its constitution and bylaws. Silver has three days to provide Sterling with the charges, Sterling has five days to respond and the Board of Governors then will vote within 10 days of Sterling’s response, according the constitution and bylaws.Jeff Zillgitt, USA Today Sports


Date Event
2014-05-02 Mr. Sterling should be provided with the charges supporting removal
2014-05-07 Mr. Sterling required to respond to the charges supporting removal
2014-05-15 Final date for Board of Governors’ vote on Mr. Sterling’s removal
2014-05-20 NBA Eastern Conference Finals scheduled to begin / NBA Draft Lottery
2014-05-21 NBA Western Conference Finals scheduled to begin

Mikeylito comments:

I’m suggesting that the NBA Conference Finals may be in jeopardy if the NBA’s Board of Governors doesn’t take action on Mr. Sterling’s removal by that time.

And so it goes.

Ciao for now!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Skip Bayless: Chris Paul Is No Superstar

This discussion, from ESPN2’s First Take was an outgrowth of the April 17th broadcast of ESPN Films’ The Bad Boys, presented as part of the 30-For-30 series. What preceded this was a discussion, moderated by Cari Champion, between Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith comparing NBA players of today to those of yesteryear.

When Smith mentioned that Chris Paul was a superstar, the fireworks began.

A strong opinion in two parts.
Part 1: Audio Only
Part 2: Audio/Video

Another Doctor provides the Aspirin

Prior to Saturday’s game with the San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers head coach “Doc” Rivers, who is also the organization’s senior vice-president for basketball operations, addressed the rumored trade of Blake Griffin for Carmelo Anthony.

Judge for yourself.

Melo for Griffin? Take Two Aspirin And Call Me In The Morning

OK. OK. Some of my “patients” have been calling me.
So, Dr. Mike is here.

Check social media sites and you’ll find Knick and Clipper fans battling over the latest rumor of a Carmelo Anthony and Blake Griffin trade. Never lacking an opinion, here’s mine.

This is the silliest trade rumor that has been floating around for more than two weeks and it started in the New York Knicks organization that is desperate to solve the problem that is Carmelo Anthony.

Relying on a years old declaration that CP3 (a/k/a Chris Paul) and Melo want to “team up” a la the Heatles, someone in the Knicks organization planted the seed that the Knicks and the Clippers were talking a trade between the two teams with Carmelo going to the Clippers and Griffin going to the Knicks. Where they made their first mistake was adding in that the Knicks, pie-eyed dreamers that they are, also wanted a first-round draft pick in addition to Griffin for Melo. That, in and of itself, is ridiculous.

Their second mistake is that Blake Griffin is still an improving player and box office for the Los Angeles Clippers. Griffin has gotten better with each successive season. Once again this season, Griffin is averaging a double-double.

Mistake #3: People who think all Blake does is dunk obviously don’t watch the Clippers on a regular basis. Blake is a decent ball-handler and the mid-range shot and perimeter shot that people have been wanting him to develop HAS been developing and used on a regular basis this season. People love to compare Griffin to Kevin Love and compare their production. What is never mentioned in those comparisons is Love is two years senior in league experience despite only being six months apart in age. Don’t people think those two years count for anything?

Mistake #4: As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, Chris Paul, while playing well, is not playing to the same level as he’s played in prior seasons. People who only look at stats and don’t look at games won’t necessarily realize that. However, situationally, Paul’s shooting from the field and from the free throw line has been poorer than previously.

Mistake #5: The popular perception among NBA reporters is that Clippers’ owner Donald T. Sterling embarrassed Doc Rivers in second-guessing Rivers on trading away Eric Bledsoe. A la David Stern, Sterling was prepared to veto the Bledsoe trade but was talked out of it. Bledsoe was a favored player of Sterling’s and a popular player with Clippers’ fans. Bledsoe’s subsequent production doesn’t exactly make Sterling look like an idiot.

Griffin is another of Sterling’s favorites, more popular with Sterling than CP3, and in my opinion, would not be easily convinced to sign-off on a trade for Anthony who is not popular with Clipper fans and who, like Paul, has not proved himself capable of winning anything and certainly has little or no upside.

When you add in the recent shoulder injury to Chris Paul that should keep him out, at least, until the All-Star hiatus, all of this signals…


While I’m at it, let me point out that Paul has a tendency to rush himself back into the lineup post-injury; so that’s another thing to look for as we monitor this situation going forward.

I was asked if I thought this was a ploy by the Knicks organization to solve their Melo problem.

Of course it is. Melo announced to his team and his fan base at the beginning of the season that he was looking forward to free agency.

What does that signal to the fans, who’ve been suffering for forty [40] years?
What does that signal to management, who spent $1Billion [with a B] dollars renovating its arena to compete with Barclays Center and the Brooklyn Nets? A Management who performs like The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight. (Remember Allan Houston?)

People keep viewing the Clippers in the same fashion as those days when Sterling and Elgin Baylor used to run things and Sterling just made money. These aren’t those Clippers. They have basketball people running the operation and Sterling is still making money AND his team is popular.

And so it goes.

Ciao for now!

Brian Shaw: The Chicken or The Egg

Brian Shaw

You would have to think that there are only two hurdles to Brian Shaw becoming the coach of the Clippers.

1.  The “summit” between Sterling and Shaw.
2.  Working out a contract.

Why only two?
Shaw had already indicated, according to The Detroit News, that he was “holding out” for the Clippers’ job.  Now, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, the Clippers have made Shaw their #1 target.

Which comes first?
The Chicken or The Egg?

Van Gundy on the Nets: It’s a really good situation

by Mike Murray

NEW YORK ( – Earlier today, ESPN/ABC NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy participated in a conference call about his network’s coverage of the NBA Finals.  However, that wasn’t the only subject touched upon.  Several questions dealt with the possibility of Van Gundy getting back into coaching, particularly with the Brooklyn Nets.  The following are excerpts from the conference call which dealt with that subject.

How would you evaluate where you are regarding a possible return to coaching against staying in broadcasting?

VAN GUNDY: Well, you know, I think when you’re talking about broadcasting, I’ll never feel as comfortable broadcasting as I do in coaching because I’m just not ‑‑ I’m still a novice at it.  Thankfully I work with the Tim Duncan of broadcasting in Mike Breen; his understated greatness really helps out a novice like myself.

You know, as far as coaching, in particular, listen, if anything ever makes sense for a team and for myself where there is a fit of vision and values, I’d obviously consider it.  And ESPN has been, you know, so generous in allowing me to do that.

But I also realize just how good I have it with the job I have right now.  I don’t take that for granted.  I enjoy working with the people I work with.  I enjoy being around the game.  I’ve just been a big beneficiary of Mike and Tim, the producer, to help me try to get a little bit better every year.

If you had to sort of go with your gut today, do you imagine you’ll be back in broadcasting next year?

VAN GUNDY:     Well, you know, that’s the job I have right now, so I would think so.

One thing I’ve learned is I don’t look too far ahead.  I don’t try to plan my life out.  I have enough trouble getting ready to go to the airport today.  So for me to plan too far ahead, I don’t do that.  I just enjoy what I’m doing.

My dad gave me good, sound, solid advice when I was coming out of college, and he always told me, “Don’t worry about your next job.  Just do the job you have as well as you can.”  That served me pretty well and I’m trying to stick with that.

The fact that you have gotten enjoyment in broadcasting and stayed close to the staple, has it made it easier for you to stay out of coaching?

VAN GUNDY:     Well, the thing about broadcasting is the lifestyle of broadcasting is great.  Like you said, you get to stay around the game.  Now, it’s not as rewarding to me as coaching, but it’s also not as disheartening at times, either.  So you have a more even‑keel lifestyle I think.  That’s been great.

Like I said, I’m more than fortunate, more than fortunate with the job I have.  I love to watch NBA basketball.  I love to talk NBA basketball.  And to the irritation of others, I like to talk about how I think NBA basketball can improve its game, too.  Like I said, I’m very, very fortunate.

What do you think of the Brooklyn Nets situation, and what kind of coach do you think this team needs to maximize what they have on the roster?

VAN GUNDY:     Well, I think they maximized their roster very well last year.  I thought the only down part of the year was when Brook Lopez was injured earlier in the year.  Unfortunately for Avery Johnson, who I think is an outstanding coach, that little downturn cost him his job.

And having been a coach, I know how difficult that situation is, and I thought P.J. Carlesimo and his staff did a really good job, a fantastic job, in guiding them to 49 wins.  And then unfortunately for them, they lost a huge lead in Chicago in the first round of that playoff series, and then I think they probably all regret their first half performance in Game 7 at home.  That was a game that I’m sure that they will all stay incredibly disappointed about throughout the summer, because they were ‑‑ they had better talent at that point than Chicago did with all their injuries and they didn’t take advantage of that.

As far as what coach they have, obviously they have a very ‑‑ an ownership that wants to win badly.  To me, that’s where it starts.  They put the resources into winning.  I think they need some other components to add to their roster to give them a chance to move up into that championship‑caliber team category, and I think they are going to get a really good coach, because it’s a really good situation.

And so it will be interesting to see who they pick out of the whole batch of really good coaches, who they decide on.  But it all starts with the players.  You can change coaches, but if you want different results, then there has to be more change than just the coach.  There’s got to be roster manipulation or tweaks, or, if you don’t have that, then what are their present‑day players willing to do differently to get even better results.

One of the criticisms of Deron Williams was that he wasn’t the type of leader that that team needed.  Do you think that was a fair criticism?

VAN GUNDY:     Not from what I saw.  I saw Deron Williams, particularly in the second half of the season, play with the energy and the intensity that NBA fans had grown accustomed to seeing.  He’s a hard‑playing, highly‑skilled person.

Now, everybody leads differently, and unless you’re there every day, I wouldn’t know if he’s a vocal leader or if he’s a little bit quieter.  But what I do know resonates with all players is not as much what is said, but what is done.

And to me, everybody I’ve ever talked to said Deron Williams was very good in practice.  He practiced every day, he practiced hard, and you see that in the games, as well.

So I think he’s a very good leader.  And the final point on that is often times it’s not as much about how someone leads as it is as much as who they are leading.  If you have the right guys that want to be led and want to be pulling the rope in the same direction.

Talking about the Clippers and the Nets jobs, and there’s been debate about which is the better job because they are the two best on the market and both have different strengths to them, but from an evaluation standpoint, which do you think gives whoever they do hire the best chance to compete for a championship?

VAN GUNDY:     You’re talking Clippers and the Nets?  Well, I think that’s hard to discern without knowing the addition to the rosters, draft picks, how well they performed.  I think certainly if they re‑sign Chris Paul, the Clippers have a greater depth of talent right now.

But they are also in the West, which is a much more difficult conference.  I think the ownership of the Nets has proven time and time again that they are willing to now, you know, try to get elite talent, but how do they go about it, because of their cap situation.  That’s a little bit challenging.

And they are playing against ‑‑ they are in a conference that is weaker, but they have got a lot of people coming back next year off of injury:  Danny Granger with the Pacers; Derrick Rose, Luol Deng with the Bulls; Rondo with the Celtics.

So the Eastern Conference could toughen up, too, so it’s really hard to determine.  I would say both are not far away.  It just takes the right moves.


And so it goes.

Ciao for now!