CLIPPERS HISTORY ARCHIVE
45 games into the season, with Manning and Harper having played every game, the Clippers were three games under .500. Coach Mike Schuler had lost his players and most members of his staff. The season was spinning perilously out of control. Schuler was fired on February 2nd, 1992. Assistant Mack Calvin stepped in for two games, but on February 5th the team introduced Larry Brown as head coach. The announcement was made on our Clipper telecast at half-time of a game against the Lakers at the Forum.
Brown would have a full week, a virtual mini-camp, to get his team turned around. He took them to Pauley Pavilion at UCLA and seven days later… they were a different team. Brown’s Clippers won their first five games and finished the year 23-12 under the invigorated leadership of one of the game’s all-time great teachers.
For the first time in their L.A. years, the Clippers were in the playoffs. And for the first time, they finished ahead of the Lakers.
A best-of-five first round playoff series began in Salt Lake City against the Jazz on April 24th. The Jazz won Games 1 and 2 at home in dominating fashion. It was another story when the scene shifted to Los Angeles on April 28th. The Clips scored a 10-point win. Nobody could have predicted what happened next.
Race riots rocked Los Angeles the very next day in the wake of a jury verdict acquitting four police officers accused in the video-taped beating of Rodney King following a high speed chase.
The city erupted: fires, riots, looting. Game 4 was scheduled for April 30th, but the city was closed down. A nightly curfew was imposed to calm the terror-stricken streets. Karl Malone, John Stockton and the Utah Jazz waited impatiently in their Marina Del Rey hotel. Coach Brown and the Clippers fidgeted and waited and wondered when they’d get another crack at the Jazz. The L.A. Sports Arena was out of the question. Its parking lot was the central staging area for the law enforcement officials charged with restoring order.
Finally, it was announced that Game 4 would be played on Sunday, May 3rd in Anaheim at the Convention Center. It had been five days of fiery hell in the city. The Lakers had moved their playoff date to Las Vegas. The local fans rejoiced at a chance to get out and have something to smile about. The Clippers gave them plenty of smiles that day.
Playing on their home hardwood (transported from the Sports Arena) the Clippers exploded past the shocked Jazz 115-107, behind 33 points from Danny Manning. That’s the good news.
The bad news was that Game 5 would be the very next night in Salt Lake City. Bad because star forward Charles Smith was playing on a very sore knee that clearly would not respond well to playing games on back-to-back nights.
The Clippers put up a battle, but lost the decisive game the next night 98-89.
|1991-92 CLIPPERS PLAYER AVERAGES|
|Danny Young (LAC)||44||889||84||215||.391||20||60||.333||47||53||.887||16||50||66||152||47||0||40||42||4||235||5.3|
|Danny Young (TOT)||62||1023||100||255||.392||23||70||.329||57||67||.851||16||59||75||172||53||0||46||47||4||280||4.5|
|Tharon Mayes (LAC)||3||40||2||5||.400||1||2||.500||4||6||.667||0||1||1||3||9||0||2||3||1||9||3.0|
|Tharon Mayes (TOT)||24||255||30||99||.303||15||41||.366||24||36||.667||3||13||16||35||41||0||16||31||2||99||4.1|
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