CLIPPERS HISTORY ARCHIVE
The blockbuster trade with Milwaukee seemed to have bolstered the Clippers as they entered the 1984-85 season. Johnson had averaged better than 20 points in five of the previous six seasons, and Bridgeman was a solid bench player who could provide points and rebounds. Unfortunately, the change of scenery didn't produce a change in productivity-the Clippers went 31-51 in their first season in Los Angeles.
The team opened the season with two games on the road, then debuted at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on November 1, 1984, with a 107-105 win over the New York Knicks. The Clippers were 6-12 at the end of November, but in December the squad put together six straight victories on their way to posting a winning month at 8-7. Los Angeles reached the high-water mark of their season on December 19 when a win over the SuperSonics gave the Clippers a 14-14 record. After that the team embarked on a seven-game losing streak.
By March 3 the Clippers had logged a 22-39 record, and Coach Lynam was looking for a new job. Los Angeles elevated one of Lynam's assistants, Don Chaney, to the head coaching spot. A 113-112 victory over Indiana ended an 11-game losing streak that spanned the end of the Lynam era and the beginning of Chaney's reign. The Clippers lost their first five games under Chaney, although the team actually played well for him during the final month of the season. The club went 9-7 in the season's final 16 games, finishing with a 31-51 record for the year.
Derek Smith, acquired as a free agent before the 1983-84 season, exploded in 1984-85, leading the club with 22.1 points per game. Norm Nixon (17.2 ppg), Marques Johnson (16.4 ppg), and Junior Bridgeman (13.9 ppg) also made strong contributions. Bill Walton remained healthy for 67 games and played an average of 24.6 minutes per contest. He put up decent numbers, with 10.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.
The Clippers finally gave up on Bill Walton after choosing 7-foot center Benoit Benjamin with the third overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft. One month before the start of training camp Los Angeles dealt Walton to the Boston Celtics for Cedric Maxwell, a 1986 first-round draft choice, and cash. As luck would have it, Walton stayed healthy for 80 games in 1985-86, winning the NBA Sixth Man Award and helping the Celtics to the NBA Championship.
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