2. The Clippers officially clinch a playoff spot
The Clippers weren’t supposed to make the playoffs in 2019. They’d cobbled together a nice mix of talented players, but lacked the true star power to compete out in a Western Conference dominated by some of the best the NBA had to offer. That idea only grew deeper when they traded Tobias Harris in February, the closest player they had to making an All-Star team.
So, following a 122-111 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in early March that officially clinched a playoff berth, you could imagine the excitement and unbridled happiness everyone within the organization felt.
L.A. was a team doubted all season long, yet continued to play hard in spite of it, winning 48 games in the season with its best player coming off the bench. No player on the roster had been particularly valued by a single organization, which helped foster the underdog mentality the Clippers carried with them to every arena.
Upon entering the locker room following that victory in Minnesota, Doc Rivers handed a small bottle of champagne to Danilo Gallinari, a player who knows all too well what it means to be doubted. Gallo would spray everyone in sight as best he could, a symbol of sorts for the total team-effort their accomplishment required.
Some basketball purists and Twitter trolls would despise the idea of champagne in the locker room for anything less than a championship. To feel such a way is to lose sight of the journey that comes before it, which for this team, was one nobody expected them to go on — a true cause for celebration.