With their 117-105 win over the Nuggets last night, the Clippers won their 57th game of the season – clinching a franchise record for winning percentage. It’s a standard the Clippers have broken each of the last three years:
2013-14: 57-24 (.704
2012-13: 56-26 (.683)
2011-12: 40-26 (.606)
1974-75: 49-33 (.598)
The Raptors (48-33) already clinched their franchise-best mark, besting a couple 47-35 seasons (2000-01 and 2006-07).
Somewhat surprisingly, the Bobcats (42-39) can’t break their franchise record – 44-38 in 2009-10.
But the Spurs (62-19) can if they beat the Lakers tonight. A 63-19 record would match their high-water mark in 2005-06.
That had me wonder: How many years feature three of the best records in a franchise’s history?
So far, counting ties, three:
Last season, the Nuggets, Grizzlies and Heat had their best records ever. In 1995-96, the Bulls, Magic and Thunder (as the Seattle SuperSonics) saw their franchise highs.
Of course, more teams play now than ever. Before 1995-96, the Raptors never even had a chance to set their franchise high. That’s why the results are geared toward 2004-05 and beyond, since the Bobcats have given the NBA 30 teams.
But I enjoy watching a team – and its fanbase – as it pursues new heights. Toronto has rallied around these Raptors, and the Clippers bandwagon is sure filling up. It doesn’t matter to me whether the number of times it happens league-wide is influenced heavily by expansion.
It’s just cool to see.
Kyle Lowry plays through injury in All-Star game, out for Raptors now
He can’t pinpoint exactly when it happened and didn’t even feel it during the game, but when Lowry woke up the next morning he knew something was up.
“Honestly, I thought I’d slept on it wrong — I thought it would go away,” Lowry said. “It was a little sore, but I paid no attention to it.”
Unconcerned at the time, Lowry didn’t tell anyone but his wife about the wrist pain, and took off for New Orleans where he participated in both the NBA’s three-point contest and all-star game this past weekend. He received some treatment in between his all-star appearances and iced his wrist on and off, but he still saw little cause for alarm.
“I thought over the break it would rest up and heal up,” Lowry said. “But it constantly stayed bothering me.”
“That’s a blow — that’s a huge blow for us,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said Friday evening after announcing the injury. “I don’t know how long he’s going to be out. But, no, it’s not a one-day thing.”
This is bad — bad for the Raptors and bad for Lowry’s reputation.
Lowry might have wanted to show his toughness by not running to the doctor for every bump or bruise. But this will also raise questions about whether he prioritized the shine of All-Star Weekend over the grind of Toronto’s season. Lowry is not a trained medical professional, so it’s understandable he misdiagnosed his injury. But he makes his living using his body, and his employer provides trained medical professionals to handle these types of things. Lowry’s bet that his wrist would heal over the break clearly backfired.
And now the Raptors pay the price. They traded for Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker to make a push, but that’ll be much tougher without the the team’s best player. Toronto beat Boston without Lowry, but the Raptors are still fourth in the Eastern Conference. Passing the Wizards for third is paramount to avoiding a second-round matchup with the Cavaliers and getting a clearer path back to the conference finals.
Every game matters now for Toronto, and wherever blame falls, Casey nailed the outcome: Lowry’s injury is a huge blow.
Brandon Ingram posterizes Taj Gibson on alley-oop (video)
The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.