Ahh, the good old days, when the Clippers were the young(ish) and exciting team in Los Angeles. Blake Griffin still dunked a lot, Matt Barnes hadn't had his ex-wife sleep with Derek Fisher, DeAndre Jordan hadn't agreed then disagreed to sign with the Mavericks, and the owner was still a racist. And no Austin Rivers. You may call it the best of times for the Clippers franchise. So needless to say, we were pretty dang excited for this game, and it did not disappoint.
You may at this point be wondering why I called this trip Tixmas (or more likely than not, you don't care at all). But I'll explain regardless! Stubhub was doing some sort of giveaway that they called Tixmas- you had to do something and you had a chance to win tickets to different games, concerts, etc. I had obviously already bought all the tickets for this trip and it's not like any of the stuff they were giving away was for anywhere near Montana, so I didn't really participate in that much, but I liked the phrase, so a trip hashtag was born! And with all the red at the Clippers game, what better place to spend some Tixmas time!
Similar to the hockey game we went to earlier in the day, we got great seats for this game for not a ton of money. I again got the tickets from Stubhub, and we were at the bottom of the first section from the floor right behind the visitor's (Denver Nuggets) bench. I was shocked more people weren't there to see Lob City play, but their loss was our gain- the home team did not disappoint!
We were excited for the Manimal vs Blake Griffin matchup, so we were a bit bummed when Manimal got hurt in the first quarter. But it really opened up the lane for Blake, so we got to see a few monster slams. I enjoyed watching Chris Paul do his thing- you could tell he was running the show offensively. Getting to watch little Nate Robinson out there was cool too, but the player I was most impressed with was DeAndre Jordan. Being that close to the floor, you could really see and hear all the things they were doing, and DeAndre was without a doubt the defensive leader for the team. Hearing his constant communication on that end of the floor definitely made a fan out of me. Plus he threw down a few jams himself, so that certainly helped his case. The Clippers won pretty easily, and we got conned into another round of Wall Street Journal subscriptions/cheap sweatshirts, so I chalk up our last game in LA as a success.
Another round of stadium food for us, although between the Kings and Clippers game we went back to the Yard House (we were young and not very adventurous- I've gotten better at the whole trip planning thing, I promise). You know those cones of pre-made popcorn (caramel, cheese, kettle, etc.) that are sold at a lot of stadiums? They come in a red striped package? Those are terrible. I really tried to make those work this trip and ultimately failed and just ended up spending too much money on crappy popcorn. Learn from me. Don't make my mistakes.
I was amazed that LA houses three teams in one arena, and I was even more amazed at how different it looked for each team. They really do make it look like you're in a different arena for every team, even going from the Lakers to the Clippers. And doing a hockey basketball double header was unbelievably fun, but probably terrible for the folks that had to clean the stands and change out the playing surfaces in between. Much respect to those folks!
After each of the games, there was a ton of cool stuff going on outside the stadium. They had a gorgeous Christmas Tree up, music playing, and stands with activities/prizes to win. We went to one stand where you got to spin a wheel for a souvenir. Joel won those weird inflatable sticks that you clap together to make noise, but I scored and got a bobblehead of the Kings mascot, Bailey the Lion. My sisters name is Bailey and she just so happened to collect bobbleheads, so I knocked off part of her Christmas gift and didn't even spend a dime.
Los Angeles was so good to us- weather was perfect, parking was easy, and we got great seats (with the exception of the Lakers game) for great prices. I'm usually not a big fan of multiple teams being in the same stadium, but the area around Staples Center was so cool, safe, and energetic that I don't know that I'd change a thing. Until next time, LA (we'll be better and more experienced next go around :))
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Just a couple of sports fans touring the world, one stadium at a time.