Clippers beat Raptors, reflect on time in Hawaii


Dan Mangum

Blake Griffin gives his shoes away to fans at Tuesdays game.

The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers finished their preseason training camp with a 98-84 win over the Toronto Raptors Tuesday in front of about 7,500 fans at the Stan Sheriff Center.

Clippers stars Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan put on a show for the Hawaii fans scoring 17 points and 15 points in a mere 24 minutes before the Clippers reserve players took over. Many of these points came off of dazzling passes by Milos Teodosic, the Serbian Point Guard who will help distribute the ball around the court this season.

“I don’t know what he’s saying half the time,” said a chuckling Jordan, who later added, “He is one of the best playmaking passers in the league.”

Other than the mishap from Sunday’s game in which many fans were delayed entry to the arena due to security issues, the Hawaii training camp seemed to be a success for both the Clippers and the fans.

Dominic Souza-Larimore, a 33-year-old NBA fanatic who lives on Oahu, couldn’t be happier to take his mother to the Clippers game on Tuesday.

“It was amazing to see an NBA game in person with the most talented players in the world playing,” said an ecstatic Souza-Larimore. “It was surreal, the intensity, the energy, and the competitiveness is something you don’t experience when you watch the games on TV. I wish we could get a handful of regular season games out here. I’d go to everyone.”

In addition to the local Hawaii born and raised fans, there was also a lot of fans from California who now live in Hawaii who were excited to see there Clippers in town.

“It was nice seeing my hometown team out here at the UH Stan Sheriff Center,” said Jacqueline Getz a University of Hawaii student and California native.

The Clippers and Raptors play for a packed house at the Stan Sheriff Center Tuesday Night.

The Clippers enjoyed their time in Hawaii just as much as the fans enjoyed having them here. Head Coach Doc Rivers believes that the isolation from LA, being on an island made for great team bonding and fewer distractions. The team visited Pearl Harbor, went Outrigger Canoeing, and enjoyed a sunset cruise, all which made the players and coaching staff feel closer together as teammates.

“I feel like the Hawaii trip definitely helped us grow as a team and made us much closer,” said Coach Rivers.

Another huge aspect of the trip was giving back to the local community and meeting the Hawaii fans. On Monday, Stevenson Middle School in downtown Honolulu received a donation of nearly $40,000 in computer equipment from the L.A. Clippers Foundation, which included 30 HP ProDesk desktops, two Canon wireless printers and a 55-inch television for instruction. The donation will also provide a new central air conditioning unit for the room.

“We have a whole fan base out here and seeing those kids at Stevenson was so cool the energy was amazing,” said Jordan.

As the Clippers pack up their bags and fly back to LA they will continue to prepare for their season opener that will be against the LA Lakers at the Staples Center Oct. 19th.

The Clippers and fans hope that this Hawaii classic can continue in the future.

“If you guys invite us back we will be back,” said a smiling Coach Rivers.