Got a second? That’s about all the time you’ll need for the Clippers to tell you everything they know about their franchise forebears, the Buffalo Braves.
“Well, they’re from Buffalo,” Grant Hill says after a long pause. “And I know that Buffalo’s really cold.”
Among the things the Clippers don’t know is that, for a three-season stretch in the mid-1970s, Buffalo was also really good, averaging 46 wins and reaching the NBA’s Eastern Conference semifinals three years running. Since leaving New York for Southern California 34 years ago, the franchise has made the conference semifinals just twice.
The Braves also finished with a winning record three times during their eight seasons in Buffalo. The Clippers needed 28 seasons to match that in L.A.
“It’s no secret,” Hill says “that the franchise has struggled.”
That’s has. As in past tense. Because now the Clippers are in the process of erasing that mediocrity and rewriting a record book composed largely by the Buffalo grandparents they never knew.