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Clipper Nation no longer paper bags and Penny Marshall

COMMENTARY — What is the Thunder going to face in L.A., where it must win at least once if it is going to win this series?
by Jenni Carlson Published: May 8, 2014

Chris Paul suspects the Clippers are going need some help as this Western Conference playoff series shifts to Los Angeles.

Help from their fans.

Presumably, the Clipper point guard was talking about more than Penny Marshall and Billy Crystal.

For years, those two celebrities were about the only thing that the world knew of Clipper fans. The only good thing anyway. There was a time not so long ago when a Google search for “Clippers fans” turned up pictures of lots of folks wearing paper bags on their heads.

Who could blame them? The Clippers have had some dark days. Dark decades, really.

But, of course, that has changed, and so, too, has the Clipper Nation.

So, with the Clippers notching a road victory against the Thunder and holding home-court advantage over the last five games of this series, what kind of home court do the Clippers have? What is the Thunder going to face in LA, where it must win at least once if it is going to win this series?

For starters, the Clipper fan base has grown considerably. Yes, Penny and Billy are still going to games, but so are 19,210 other folks. This season, the Clippers were one of only seven teams to average more than 19,000 fans and one of only eight teams to sell out the season.

My, how things have changed.

The Lakers, of course, have long been the team in Los Angeles. They’ve won the titles. They’ve had the superstars. They’ve been the darlings.

The Clippers, of course, have been on the opposite end of the spectrum.

So, there was an interesting dynamic when the teams moved in together in 1999. That’s when the Staples Center opened and brought the polar opposites together. They have different locker rooms. They have separate set-ups for their games, the floor, goals and signage getting changed out. Even the lighting is different.

Watch a Lakers game on TV, and the floor is spotlighted with the stands seemingly in the shadows.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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