Ralph Lawler, who retired from broadcasting as one of the all-time greats after the 2018-19 season, remains beloved by Clippers followers across the world. His longevity and talent made him as identifiable to fans as just about any player in team history. The Hall of Famer agreed to provide some personal insight into the season for The Sporting Tribune.
Here is the Nov. 30, 2022 edition of “BINGO: 3 Questions with Ralph Lawler,” our weekly question-and-answer exclusive.
1. The Clippers completed yet another stunning comeback in Portland on Tuesday. What was your favorite part of the comeback? There are a lot of things to choose from, including Reggie Jackson’s gutsy second half, Norman Powell’s 22-point explosion in the fourth quarter, Moussa Diabate’s energy and effort, Nic Batum’s big shot, and Robert Covington’s return from being out of the rotation to add 15 points and great switchable defense?
THAT WAS REALLY A FUN FOURTH QUARTER. Powell and Covington were the story for me in as much as it was the Blazers who gifted them to the Clippers less than a year ago. Even when (I HOPE) the team gets healthy, those two will be important rotation players. I love them both. It is too early for me to fall in love with Diabate, but he certainly contributed in the final 12 minutes Tuesday night.
2. In 40 years around the team and now watching them regularly, you saw a lot of great coaches and, unfortunately, some of those who were not so great. What separates Tyronn Lue from those you’ve seen over the years?
The team has had some great Hall of Fame coaches in Larry Brown and Bill Fitch along with former NBA Coaches of the year in Gene Shue and Mike Dunleavy and championship coaches in Doc Rivers and Ty Lue. (Fitch as well). If Lue can lead the Clippers to their first title, he will be in a class of his own.
3. The NBA is currently in a great place in terms of parity and young talent, including a team the Clippers play this weekend in Sacramento. Are there any teams that you have an eye on or enjoy watching that may surprise readers?
I think the Orlando Magic are flat out fun to watch. “Huh?” You say. Spend an evening watching Bol Bol play and you will enjoy the game, for sure. The Magic are not there, yet, but they have some interesting pieces in place.
The Sacramento Kings are further along. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis are young stars. Head coach Mike Brown’s team can really score the ball. You pretty much need to score over 120 points to beat them and that is a tall order in today’s NBA.
Re: Parity. It exists today, for sure. I really think the fans prefer super teams. There are none right now. That does open the door for a lot of teams to have legit championship aspirations.
I suspect contending teams to be aggressive approaching the trade deadline and the buyout market. It is going to be very interesting.