1981-82 SEASON

On June 16, 1981, the team changed hands once again when Beverly Hills attorney and real estate mogul Donald T. Sterling bought the club from Ira Levin. Despite the change, the 1981-82 season was an especially difficult one. Center Bill Walton missed another year, Freeman Williams and Phil Smith were traded away, and Swen Nater missed 61 games because of a knee injury. The Clippers opened the campaign with a 125-110 win over the Rockets, then lost 10 of their next 11 games. December brought a nine-game losing streak. The team's best month was January, when it managed a 6-9 record. Halfway through the season, San Diego's record was only 13-29.

The Clippers unraveled from that point on. After splitting the first two games in February, the club lost eight straight before finally winning a game in San Antonio. A seven-game losing streak followed, then the Clippers beat San Antonio again to break the slump. (Incidentally, the Spurs won the Midwest Division that year with a 48-34 record.)

After the March 9 victory against San Antonio, San Diego dropped an embarrassing 19 straight before pulling out a win against the Portland Trail Blazers on the final day of the season. The franchise ended up in last place in the Pacific Division with a 17-65 record. Only Cleveland's 15-67 showing was worse.

San Diego fans took some comfort in the performance of rookie forward Tom Chambers, who averaged a team-leading 17.2 points. The Clippers struggled at the box office, however, averaging only 4,344 fans per game, and owner Sterling began lobbying to move the club to Los Angeles.

Clippers Season Recaps