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The Los Angeles Clippers (branded as the LA Clippers) are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. The Clippers compete in the NationalThe Los Angeles Clippers (branded as the LA Clippers) are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles. The Clippers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Pacific Division in the league's Western Conference. The Clippers play their home games at the Staples Center, an arena they share with fellow NBA team the Los Angeles Lakers, as well as the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), and the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League (NHL). The franchise was founded in 1970 as the Buffalo Braves, and were one of three expansion teams to join the NBA that year, along with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers. The Braves saw some success and reached the playoffs three times, led by league Most Valuable Player (MVP) Bob McAdoo. Conflicts with the Canisius Golden Griffins over the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium and the sale of the franchise led to their relocating from Buffalo, New York, to San Diego, California. In 1978, upon relocating, the franchise was rebranded to be known as the San Diego Clippers, in reference to the sailing ships that can be seen in the San Diego Bay. The franchise saw limited success on the court in its six years in San Diego despite the acquisition of star center Bill Walton, who missed nearly three full seasons due to injury upon his arrival. In 1981, the franchise was acquired by Los Angeles–based real estate mogul Donald Sterling. In 1984, the franchise was controversially relocated to Los Angeles by Sterling without the approval of the NBA. Despite fines and a lawsuit brought on against franchise ownership by the NBA seeking to return the franchise to San Diego, the team was ultimately permitted to remain in Los Angeles, where they failed to see significant regular season or playoff success. They were frequently seen as an example of a perennial loser in American professional sports, drawing unfavorable comparisons to their historically successful city-rivals, the Lakers. Between 2008 and 2017, the organization improved through the additions of players such as Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Chris Paul. This lineup led the Clippers as a consistent playoff team and were nicknamed "Lob City". In the 2012–13 and 2013–14 seasons, the franchise won its first division titles. They appeared in the playoffs seven times from 2012 to 2019, equaling the number of appearances for the franchise from 1970 to 2011. In 2019, the Clippers signed two-time NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Kawhi Leonard and traded a record number of draft picks for perennial NBA All-Star Paul George.
The Phoenix Suns are an American professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA)The Phoenix Suns are an American professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA), as a member of the league's Western Conference Pacific Division, and are the only team in their division not based in California. The Suns play their home games at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. The franchise began play in 1968 as an expansion team, and their early years were shrouded in mediocrity, but their fortunes changed in the 1970s, where, after partnering long-term guard Dick Van Arsdale and center Alvan Adams with Paul Westphal, the Suns reached the 1976 NBA Finals, in what is considered to be one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. However, after failing to capture a championship, the Suns would rebuild around Walter Davis for a majority of the 1980s, until the acquisition of Kevin Johnson in 1988. Under Johnson, and after trading for perennial NBA All-Star Charles Barkley, and combined with the output of Tom Chambers and Dan Majerle, the Suns reached the playoffs for a franchise-record thirteen consecutive appearances and remained a regular title contender throughout the 1990s, and reached the 1993 NBA Finals. However, the team would again fail to win a championship, and entered into another period of mediocrity until the early part of the 2000s. In 2004, the Suns reacquired Steve Nash, and immediately returned into playoff contention. With Nash, Shawn Marion, and Amar'e Stoudemire, and under head coach Mike D'Antoni, the Suns became renowned worldwide for their quick, dynamic offense, which led them to tie a franchise record in wins in the 2004–05 season. Two more top two Conference placements followed, but the Suns again failed to attain an NBA championship, and were forced into another rebuild. The Suns own the NBA's seventh-best all-time winning percentage, and have the second highest winning percentage of any teams to have never won an NBA championship. 10 Hall of Famers have played for Phoenix, while two Suns, Barkley and Nash, have won the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award while playing for the team. The Suns are the only one of Arizona's major professional sports franchises which uses "Phoenix" instead of "Arizona" as its geographical identifier. The National Football League's Arizona Cardinals and National Hockey League's Arizona Coyotes used "Phoenix" as their geographical identifier when they moved from other locations, but later changed to "Arizona". Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks have always used the state as its identifier.