Best Game Ever: Ralph Lawler recalls a unifying game during the riots of 1992
May 3, 1992: Clippers 115, Jazz 107
Ralph Lawler, the soon-to-be Hall of Famer, has seen his share of craziness in four decades broadcasting Clippers basketball.For all the last-second shots, the wild dunks and amazing talents he’s seen, Lawler’s best game ever came with Los Angeles on the brink of crisis.
“I’m going to go back a long ways to 1992. It was the Clippers’ first time in the playoffs and they were down 2-0 to Utah and came back and won Game 3 at the old Sports Arena. And then the L.A. riots happened. They closed the city down. There were curfews every night. You’d go to work and come home. You couldn’t go to the movies. You couldn’t go to restaurants. All ball games, college and pro, were canceled. The Clippers’ Game 4 against the Jazz was postponed day by day. You couldn’t get close to the Sports Arena because that’s where the National Guard was. The Lakers, who were in the playoffs as well, moved their game to Las Vegas. The Clippers found a way to keep it in the general area by moving to the Anaheim Convention Center. They picked up the basketball court from the Sports Arena and trucked it down there. On a Sunday afternoon, it was the first event where people could relax and have fun. It was a real celebration for the whole city and the ball club responded well. Doc Rivers played in that game. Larry Brown coached it. Danny Manning had a monster game. … The fact that it was a unifying event for the city, that it was a social event, a huge moment, that to me is the moment I’ll take away with me like ‘That was really special.’”
Go beyond the scoreboard
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