Los Angeles Clippers: Ron Harper
December, 21, 2012
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty ImagesThe Clippers are reaching new heights after winning a franchise-best 12th straight game Friday.
LOS ANGELES -- As Lamar Odom got dressed in the Los Angeles Clippers' locker room Friday night, he looked around and smiled as he saw his teammates' children running around him playing tag. He then sat down and shook his head as he bent down to tie his shoe and overheard a reporter asking one of his teammates about the Clippers winning a franchise-best 12th straight game.
The company line during the Clippers' historic streak is that it doesn't really mean anything. That the Clippers are focusing on the future and not the past. And that records aren't really talked about in the locker room.
Odom knows better. He sat in the Clippers' locker room the day Staples Center opened in 1999 when he was a 19-year old rookie. The year before he was drafted, the Clippers won nine games during a strike-shortened season. In his first season, they won just 15. Odom doesn't need to be told about the Clippers' past, he lived it.
"I was here when we lost 20 games in a row," Odom said after the Clippers' 97-85 win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday. "So the record, for me, means a lot. I was in here before the game and let [the team] know exactly what we were playing for and the meaning of it and why it's important for us to get it. It's important to be part of the tradition we're starting. It's big. We're starting something special here."
As Odom spoke, his teammates were having almost as much fun creating new handshakes with their kids than they were celebrating the win. When Odom was with the Clippers before, they were a dysfunctional mess, filled with kids less mature than his teammates' children.
"We enjoy each other," Odom said. "We enjoy spending time with each other on this team and it shows. ... We genuinely love each other and so it's easy to overcome obstacles."
When Chris Paul arrived in Los Angeles last year, he didn't know much about the Clippers' history. He knew it wasn't great, but he didn't spend too much time worrying about it. What he knew about the team's history came from talking to the Clippers' longtime play-by-play man, Ralph Lawler, before games.
"I didn't take a history lesson on it or anything like that," Paul said. "Ralph did a good job last year, every time we went on the road he would say, 'We haven't won here since then,' or 'We've only beat this team so many times.' But for us, everything in the regular season, we've done. I think we have bigger sights. Our measurement is only the playoffs."
BACK TO TOP