For a team that has never won a NBA championship but shares an arena with a one that has many, a division title is no small thing. The Clippers appreciate the importance of winning the franchise’s first Pacific Division crown, an achievement they didn’t attain in 27 previous seasons in Los Angeles – or in six seasons in San Diego or eight in Buffalo. So the thought of hanging a banner in Staples – even if it pales in comparison to the 16 league championship banners owned by the Lakers – is one that is embraced by some players, although not all. “I think that would be special because it’s a moment in history,” forward Caron Butler said Friday. “Winning 50 (games) is a special moment. Acquiring guys like Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and having the roster we have, expectations have soared through the roof. We’re trying to do big things and trying to build some momentum for years to come.” The Clippers won their franchise-first 50th game Wednesday, beating the Phoenix Suns. But they have never won a division title in their history. Their chance comes on Sunday when they face the Lakers, who are trying to hold on to the eighth spot in the Western Conference. Griffin, however, said he would prefer that the team not display a division banner inside Staples. If they hang it, he said, it should be in the team’s training facility. “For me, I kind of have bigger goals than that for the team,” he said. “The team has bigger goals than that. We kind of expected to win the division. We didn’t come into the season thinking, ‘Oh, it would be great if we could win the division.’ It’s something to be proud of, and maybe there’s a banner that goes up in here, but it’s not something that we’re going to be like, it needs to go up in Staples and we can hang our hat on that.” Even as they prepared for Sunday’s game, the Clippers were trying to defuse a newspaper story this week that claimed their team chemistry is on the rocks and that the immaturity of Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan is hurting their chances of winning a title.
Clippers one win shy of first division title in franchise history
Fox Sports West | Apr 6