Despite Success, Price of 2014 Clippers Playoff Tickets Below 2013 Lakers

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When it comes to professional basketball in Los Angeles, the Lakers have dominated the conversation. The Clippers have always been the little brother compared to the Lakers, but this season the Clippers are in the playoffs without the Lakers joining them for the first time since both teams have played in LA. The last time the Clippers franchise was in the playoffs in a season in which the Lakers weren’t was the 1975-76 season when the Clippers were still the Buffalo Braves. Even though the Clippers have surpassed the Lakers in the standings, they can’t make the jump in ticket prices.

LA Clippers playoff tickets at Staples Center are averaging $229.75 on the secondary market, according to TiqIQ. Even as one of the higher averages in the playoffs this year, that price is still 39 percent lower than the average price of Lakers tickets last year when they struggled to the seventh seed. The Lakers were swept by the Spurs in that series and were without Kobe Bryant.

The price for Clippers playoff tickets has increased from last season, though. last year they had an average price of $185.51, but were directly competing with Lakers sales. Last year the Lakers averaged $378.57 a ticket, which would be second only to the Toronto Raptors this year. The Raptors are a three seed, back in the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season, are in a big market and have the highest playoff premium above the regular season average than any other team in the playoffs.

History is likely in play for why the Lakers continue to cast a shadow over the Clippers. The Lakers have won 16 championships, which is second only to the Boston Celtics all-time, have been a perennial playoff team every season, and always seem to be led by one of the biggest names in the sport. Even last season, when they barely made the playoffs, the Lakers had name value in Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.

On the other hand, the Clippers have had a tortured history on par with some of the worst franchises in sports. They have only recently been able to turn things around with the drafting of Blake Griffin and the trade for star point guard Chris Paul. But that hasn’t been enough to reverse the fortunes of the two franchises.

The Clippers have a legitimate chance of winning a title this year as the third seed in the West, and sport the second-best point differential in the league. They will face an exciting Golden State Warriors in the first round, a team that almost found a way to beat the San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Semifinals last postseason. The Clippers finally have the spotlight to themselves and could use a successful playoff run as the next step to escaping the Lakers’ shadow.

Tweet of the Day: Former NBA PF Danny Manning Named HC For Wake Forest

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26 years ago today, power forward Danny Manning led the Larry Brown coached Kansas Jayhawks to a National Championship, scoring 31 points against the Oklahoma Sooners.

For the past two college basketball seasons, Manning has been the head coach at the University of Tulsa, where his efforts culminated in a 21-13 record, tying for first in Conference USA. He led the Golden Hurricanes to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to UCLA.

Now, he’s on the move again, having agreed to become the new head coach at Wake Forest University with hopes of restoring the Demon Deacons to their former glory.

VIDEO: Spurs Winning Streak Boggles the Mind; but Thunder are Favored Tonight

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We already published one column this week analyzing the Spurs’ winning streak and how they aren’t cruising, they are gliding. Since then, they have had a pair of quality victories over the Indiana Pacers and the Golden State Warriors, winning by large margins each time.

With the streak at 19 heading into Thursday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, we should expect another blowout, right? After all, only two games during the streak have been decided by 8 points or less, and San Antonio’s average margin of victory is 17 points during the 19-game win streak.

But you know what? The Thunder are 3-0 against the Spurs this season, and the oddsmakers have made them 3 1/2 point favorites over San Antonio for tonight’s tilt in OKC.

That just about tells you who the experts believe is the biggest threat to the Spurs, but we also should not discount the Clippers, whose 17-2 mark over the past month has been overlooked due to the Spurs run of success.

Which team — the Thunder or Clippers — is a bigger threat to keep the Spurs from a repeat trip to the NBA Finals.

My answer — along with a preview of the weekend’s best game — comes in this CineSport interview with Brian Clark.

Sprung: Jeremy Lin won’t cut it for Rockets with Patrick Beverley out

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JeremyLinSH1Dwight Howard, James Harden and Chandler Parsons are the big-name players, but the Houston Rockets would not be a top-four team in the Western Conference without Patrick Beverley.

Houston is 36-16 when Patrick Beverley starts, but they will miss him for at least two weeks (and likely for the duration of the regular season) with a torn meniscus. His replacement is one Jeremy Lin.

You remember him, right?

Even if Beverley doesn’t have the best offensive and defensive numbers, it doesn’t seem likely that Lin has the skill set to adequately replace what Beverley does for this team.

“Obviously we’re going to miss Pat’s defensive intensity and passion and the energy he brings every single possession,” Parsons told SheridanHoops.

Who is the Most Improved Player in the NCAA Tournament?

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2014-finalfour-logo_400As the sun fades into the North Texas sky (not sure why we can’t call it Arlington) on Saturday evening, college basketball will take center stage on the American sports landscape.

Everyone except Chris Bernucca will settle in for the Final Four, where some of the NBA’s future stars will duke it out in a titanic stadium not meant for basketball with everything on the line.

It is a spectacle that deserves America’s attention. And that is why we’ve decided to lend America’s favorite column to it, at least for a few paragraphs.

Because everyone has room to improve (cheesy smile).

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