On April Fools’ Day 11 years ago, the 2008-09 Los Angeles Clippers hosted the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center. It was late in the season and the Chris Paul led Hornets were just two wins away from clinching their second consecutive playoff spot. The Clippers, being the exact opposite, were already eliminated from playoff contention with a record of 18-57. It was a close game down the stretch. Future Clipper Chris Paul was just too much to handle. He finished with 30 points, 4 rebounds, 14 assists, and 6 steals on 13/19 shooting. The Hornets were without starters Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojaković. Consequently, this caused an even bigger performance from the Hornets’ dynamic duo of CP3 and David West. The latter chipped in with 19 points as well.
The Clippers had many big names of their own on the roster such as Baron Davis, Zach Randolph, and Eric Gordon. Also, Chris Kaman, who would be an All-Star the following season. Randolph was only in LA for half the season. The Clippers struggled with injuries to Kaman and Davis all year. Hearing those names makes one believe the team severely underperformed. Eric Gordon and Zach Randolph led the way for the Clips in this one with 25 and 24 points, respectively. Baron Davis notched a double double with 13 points and 12 assists as well.
The Hornets moved on to 47-27 en route to the seventh seed in an elite Western Conference. The Clippers on the other hand, finished 19-63. It seems like an eternity since Clipper fans have endured abysmal seasons like in 09′. Back then, it was a regularity. Usually when reflecting on days in a franchises history, we always look back at wins. This game held significance because the player that torched the Clips would soon become one of their own. One that to this day is arguably the best Clipper of all time. It also couldn’t be further from the direction the franchise would be in just a decade later.
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