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Believe it or not, but there have been no players in Clippers history to wear the No. 28 to date, so let’s circle back and check out the offerings for No. 00.

Ah yes, the double zero, the number that is technically a number, but not used in other sports. Add to that the flair of going for not one, but two zeroes. You’ve got to be pretty bold to go for this one.

Two players in Clippers history have worn No. 00: Kevin Duckworth, who wrapped up his career with the Clips, and whose career around the NBA I very much enjoyed, and Benoit Benjamin, who is the subject of this story.

Drafted No. 3 overall by the Clippers in the 1985 NBA Draft, Benjamin played collegiately at Creighton, and was named a third-team All-American his final season in NCAA ball.

The 7-foot center had a scoring touch, and was remarkably consistent in his five and a half seasons in LA, averaging 13.3 points per game over 406 games in his Clippers tenure. In addition, his block totals were elite, in his worst season with the team he averaged 2.1 blocks per game. All told, he averaged 2.8 blocks per game in his Clippers run, and was the franchise leader in blocks, with 1,117, until Cheap DeAndre Jordan Jersey surpassed him in 2016-17. He also belongs to the “10 block club”, with two career games, both with the Clippers, in which he posted 10 blocks in a single game.

For a man who didn’t produce much, Harvey Catchings carved out a nice stay in the NBA, lasting 11 seasons. While plenty of power forwards – and point guards for that matter – equaled his 3.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest for the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Clippers, only two others can match his feat of playing for both teams in the same game.

Harvey Catchings was a longshot who made it in the NBA

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What’s true today about the NBA draft was also true in 1974: If you’re not good enough to be selected in the first 30 picks, then the odds of sticking around the league for more than a cup of coffee are long. That’s why Harvey Catchings is deserving of all credit that comes his way.

There were 18 NBA teams in 1974 when Catchings came out of Hardin-Simmons, and the draft went 10 rounds deep. Catchings had averaged 16.7 points and 11.1 points a game on a Hardin-Simmons team that included Stedman Graham, the longtime partner of Oprah Winfrey.

UCLA great Cheap Bill Walton Jersey, Providence’s Marvin “Bad News” Barnes, and North Carolina State’s Tom Burleson were the top three picks in that year’s draft. Other notables included Jamaal Wilkes and Maurice Lucas in the first round, and John Drew in the second. The Phoenix Suns selected George Gervin 40th overall in the third round, but he opted to start his career in the rival ABA.

Two picks later, the Philadelphia 76ers drafted the 6-foot-9 Catchings, who would go on to appear in 725 NBA contests in 11 seasons. The only player taken behind him to have lasted longer was fourth-rounder Mickey Johnson, who played in 904 games.

The most interesting game of Harvey Catchings’ career

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On Nov. 8, 1978, the Philadelphia 76ers were leading the New Jersey Nets, 84-81, when referee Roger McCann called a charging foul on Bernard King of the Nets for plowing into Steve Mix midway through the third quarter. King had collected a technical foul earlier in the game, so when he got T’d up again for going after McCann over the call, it meant an automatic ejection.

That didn’t sit well with Nets coach Kevin Loughery, who had also been hit with an earlier technical foul. When Loughery crossed the line for a second time, referee Richie Powers T’d him up, triggering another automatic ejection.

When neither King nor Loughery left the court in a timely fashion, Powers – who had a famously short temper – assessed a third technical foul on each. Once things settled down, Phil Jackson took over the Nets’ bench, Philadelphia shot a bunch of free throws, and the 76ers eventually walked away with a 137-133 victory in two overtimes despite Eric Money’s 37 points.

On this day: Cheap Benoit Benjamin Jersey impressive stat line
The Louisiana native bounced around the NBA after being traded to Seattle for Olden Polynice in 1991, yet another dud of a trade that left the Clippers in worse shape. After the Sonics, Benjamin played for the Lakers, Nets, Grizzlies, Bucks, Raptors and 76ers in his NBA career, which wrapped up in 1999.

Benjamin has largely stayed out of the limelight since his playing days ended, evidently settling back in Louisiana, but he was among the players present for a charity game when Jayson Williams allegedly shot a limo driver in his own house in 2002 and was called as a witness at the fellow ex-NBA player’s trial.

Benjamin was never an All-Star level player, but he was remarkably consistent in his Clippers tenure in particular, and with perhaps some better franchise management could have been a core piece of a perennial playoff team. Alas, we didn’t get to see that unfold, but Benoit Benjamin brought a multifaceted game to the Clippers and is the best yet to wear No. 00.

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One day after the Clippers suffered their most lopsided defeat in franchise history, center Cheap Serge Ibaka Jersey called himself comfortable with the direction his team is headed.

“I don’t think last night’s gonna define who we are,” Ibaka said Monday.

Who are the Clippers, exactly, through three games? Before becoming the first NBA team in the 66-year shot-clock era to fall behind by 50 points at halftime, en route to a 51-point loss to Dallas, the Clippers had held off the Lakers and Denver by improving their offensive and defensive execution during critical moments.

But after taking a punch from Dallas early in Sunday’s first quarter, however, “they should have had more fight,” coach Tyronn Lue said before practice.

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Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, drives towards the basket as Los Angeles Clippers guard.
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Ibaka, the 11-year veteran, believes offense won’t be a problem for the Clippers, even though they made only four of 33 three-pointers, shot 34% overall and attacked the paint just 16 times in the loss, according to Lue. The misfires belied the quality of many attempts. Fifteen three-pointers were taken when the closest defender was six or more feet away, the NBA’s definition of wide open. The problem was, the Clippers made only two of them.

What will define the Clippers, Ibaka said, is their willingness to compete on defense consistently.

“We cannot forget that defense wins championships,” he said.

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Said second-year guard Cheap Terance Mann Jersey: “We got a new defensive coach so new defensive schemes, things of that nature. To be locked in defensively isn’t an easy thing to do, and it will take time. We got plenty of games left so it will come as time goes. But we are on the right track.”

Getting Cheap Kawhi Leonard Jersey (lacerated mouth) and Cheap Marcus Morris Jersey (sore knee) back in the lineup would provide a boost to the defense, and Lue said both would practice Monday, though the extent of their workload was unclear given the practice was scheduled to be a “mental day” for the team, according to Mann.

Lue didn’t say whether either would play Tuesday against Minnesota, offering only that the team would “see how they feel.”

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“I’ve been in the league for 24 years and so I’ve seen crazy things happen. But it’s over and it’s behind us and now we’ve got to look forward,” Lue said of the loss. “We can’t keep dwelling on what happened last year and what happened last game. Now we’ve got to focus on Minnesota, and I think our guys are in the right frame of mind to do that.”

Ibaka and Lue’s confidence in the Clippers’ direction is based on more data points than three games. Having been inside practices and huddles, they expressed a strong belief that the team is building good habits.

“They kicked our butt, no excuses, but I really liked the way our guys and Kawhi and Marcus and Serge and [Cheap Paul George Jersey] and Pat Beverley and those guys were very encouraging to the young guys who were playing most of the second half,” Lue said. “Just staying engaged and still being a part of the team.”

While coaches met in a separate huddle during one timeout Sunday, Leonard pulled down his mask to say a few words to his teammates. The moment, though brief, was consistent with the way the typically reticent Leonard has attempted to be more vocal.

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Upon his hiring in October, Lue challenged Leonard and George to make their teammates better through the way they play. In Leonard’s case, that emphasis has extended to the way he carries himself, said Ibaka, who knows better than most the kind of confidence Leonard can instill in teammates from winning a title alongside him in Toronto two seasons ago.

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“I talked to him when I got here and I told him, ‘Listen, you are our leader, and we need to follow you by example, you know?’” Ibaka said. “Leaders need not only to come on the court and score 30 points. You have to show the team, your teammates, like you’re willing to give everything for them. You’re here to win a championship and you really want to win a championship and we all gonna follow you.

“And so far, he be doing a great job on that. He been communicating with everybody, he be coming earlier for his work, staying [late]. This is something really new I see from Kawhi. I remember the last time I was in Toronto, I see Kawhi coming in early and put some work and stay after practice and so far this year, he be doing that. So that’s something you want to see from your best player.”

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NEXT UP
Tuesday vs. Minnesota

When: 7 p.m.

On the air: Prime Ticket. Radio: 570

Update: Both the Timberwolves (2-1) and Clippers (2-1) are coming off losses Sunday by at least 40 points. Minnesota will play without center Karl-Anthony Towns because of a dislocated left wrist that will keep the centerpiece of Minnesota’s lineup out for an indefinite period. … Anthony Edwards, the No. 1 draft pick last month, has averaged 16.0 points on 42% shooting with 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists through three games.

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The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers both revamped their rosters during the offseason. Which team has the better closing unit?
Throughout the 2020 season, Frank Vogel was a defensive wizard on the sidelines for the Purple and Gold. Still, he also excelled in the way he managed the Los Angeles Lakers during crunchtime situations. Vogel didn’t stubbornly rely on one closing unit like many of his contemporaries. Instead, he was fluid with his fourth quarter lineups.

Thus, we can’t definitively say which five Lakers players will close games for the Purple and Gold. However, we can choose the best overall five-man lineup at Frank Vogel’s disposal, the one he should use against the Clippers.

The Lakers probable closing unit:

PG: Dennis Schröder
SG: Alex Caruso
SF: LeBron James
PF: Cheap Montrezl Harrell Jersey
C: Anthony Davis
The only question mark in this closing lineup is Alex Caruso over Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at the shooting guard position. KCP recently signed a three-year, $40 million deal with the Lakers, so perhaps you think he’ll close more games than Alex Caruso.

You could be right, but he’s not capable of slowing down high scoring wings like CJ McCollum, James Harden, Paul George, or Donovan Mitchell, to name a few. Frank Vogel will likely swap KCP’s better outside stroke for Caruso’s stopping power.

The Clippers are easier to read. Tyronn Lue will almost always close with this five-man lineup:

PG: Patrick Beverly
SG: Paul George
SF: Cheap Kawhi Leonard Jersey
PF: Cheap Marcus Morris Jersey
C: Cheap Serge Ibaka Jersey
Next, we’ll compare the Lakers’ closing five versus the Clippers.

Kawhi Leonard said he loves the challenge of bouncing back from the LA Clippers’ stunning 3-1 NBA playoff series collapse to the Denver Nuggets and will see “how strong” the Clippers are.

As the Clippers prepare to start training camp Sunday, Leonard and Cheap Paul George Jersey  discussed the team’s failure to live up to championship expectations last season and how motivated they are to wash away the bitter taste of their bubble collapse.

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“Physically, I feel good,” Leonard said Friday. “I am motivated. I want to start, I want to get back after it. It does leave a bad taste in your mouth blowing a 3-1 lead. But I love it. These are things that build the player. It’s the things that I like, the challenge. The road of going to a championship is hard. I love the process.”

“We’ll see how strong we are and if we can build from things like this. That is what makes players.”

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The Clippers believe that having Leonard and George healthy and participating from the start of training camp this season will make a difference after their chemistry struggles last season. Leonard revealed for the first time that he underwent an unspecified procedure during the offseason in 2019 and that that is why he and George, who was coming off offseason shoulder surgeries, were not able to fully participate in camp last preseason.

George said “I wasn’t myself” during his first season with the Clippers but said he feels much more comfortable after being able to train this offseason.

“Last year was an unacceptable year for me, and I know that,” said George, who averaged 20.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 39.8% shooting in the playoffs. “[This season] I feel really good, in a great place.”

George, who is eligible for a contract extension, said he hopes to retire as a Clipper.

“I’m committed, I’m here,” the 30-year-old said. “I want to be here. I want to retire a Clipper. I’ll say that, every year.”

George also sought to clarify comments he made earlier this week on the “All The Smoke” podcast, in which he discussed how he was utilized by former coach Doc Rivers and how the Clippers failed to make any adjustments as Denver came back from a 3-1 second-round series deficit.

“We all take responsibility into that,” George said. “Being one of the top players on the team … I wasn’t playing well enough. The fact that I gave up a 3-1 series [lead] being on that floor sits with me and haunts me.”

“Doc is a hell of a motivator, a hell of a coach,” George added. “Doesn’t mean I agree with everything that we did, but that does not belittle the fact that I respect him. … I did want to clear it up, because the notion out there is that I don’t respect Doc and putting the blame on Doc, which is not the case. I am to blame in that situation just as much as anyone.”

George said he and Leonard, 29, want to make sure there is a “winning attitude” and “winning environment” this season. They have been talking to new coach Ty Lue and are eager to get started. And while Leonard knows returning to play amid the COVID-19 pandemic will be challenging, he said he hopes the team can bond and improve its chemistry after a season that was disrupted by injuries and off-the-court circumstances.

Leonard also said he will continue to lead the team the same way he did last season, with his play and by taking action when needed, like calling players-only film sessions as he did at one point.

“A coach can’t put a battery in your back and tell you to play harder to go win games,” Leonard said. “You have to have the mindset.”

Leonard added: “But my leadership role isn’t going to change. I’m just going to keep doing the same thing I’ve been doing.”