Are the Los Angeles Clippers Reversing the Curse?

Jose SalviatiCorrespondent IIJanuary 11, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 13:  Al Thornton #12 of the Los Angeles Clippers is guarded by Keith Bogans #10 of the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on December 13, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The idea of a curse is silly, isn't it?  Why we continue to hold on to such drivel is beyond me. Everyone knows that the only real legitimate curse is attached to that baseball team from Chicago. I mean when a goat is involved, it's serious. Everything else is silly.

The Los Angeles Clippers weren't cursed, they were just poorly run.  Matter of fact, they were poorly owned, poorly general managed, and poorly coached. Poor draft decisions, poor trades, and lack of free agent signings, even though they are based in one of the most attractive NBA cities (Again, note poorly general managed and poorly owned), led directly to poor players.

The Clippers were never cursed, they were just poor.

The tide began to turn in 2003, which culminated with a run within one game of the 2006 Western Conference Finals. The unforeseen defection of Elton Brand led the club to rebuild again, amidst cries of "curse, curse, curse."  It takes most teams years to rebuild, if they can ever really do it at all. 

The Clippers are on track to have done it in two.

Of course, there have been pitfalls. The thrill from their third consecutive successful draft was met with moans when Blake Griffin went down during the preseason. The murmurs started again, "curse, curse, curse."

However, the club pushed forward. The owner stayed committed to the coach/GM who put this team together (Sure, it may be in part because of money owed to Dunleavy, but regardless of why, he has stuck with his coach). The team began to come together.

The turning point this year seems to be the farce in Phoenix. That poor showing seems to have motivated the club. 

The experiment that brought Al Thornton to the bench seems to have been embraced by the third-year forward. Instead of sulking like he seemed to last time, he was relegated to the pine, he is accepting the challenge to bring energy off the bench.

It has made a difference.

The Clippers are playing with an energy and passion that hasn't been seen in Staples Center outside of the club that wears purple. The club's self-appointed goal to be at or above .500 before Griffin's debut is within reach, and the only Clipper curse in sight is the one that afflicts elite teams that lose to the basketball team from L.A.

The Celtics are 3-3 since losing to the Clippers, the Lakers 1-1.

January will prove to be a real test for the rejuvenated Clippers team. While all eyes will be on Griffin's anticipated return this month, the club will be facing two rough road trips.

It all starts Tuesday, Jan. 12, with a three-game trip to Memphis and New Orleans, ending with a stop against the Lakers.  The month ends with the start of an eight-game road trip back east with stops in Boston and Cleveland.

Riding the momentum of four straight wins and five out of their last six against teams like the Lakers, Trailblazers, and Heat, this team will spend the rest of the first month in 2010 proving to themselves and to those in L.A. who are noticing, that they are for real.

Clipper curse? No such thing.

Clipper test? That's as real as Baron Davis' beard, and it starts tomorrow.