A year back, LA Clippers defeated the then-defending champions San Antonio Spurs and were leading 3-1 in the Western Conference Semis to the Houston Rockets. From Game 6 of that series till now, nothing is going in the favour of the LA Clippers. Rockets forced Game 7 in that series and defeated the Clippers behind Harden’s 31 and Howard’s 16 pts, 15 reb. Rockets became the ninth team in the history of the NBA to come back and win the series after trailing 3-1 in a series.
The Clippers had a record of 56-26 last season, 3rd in the Western Conference. They were a championship caliber team. After the impressive 4-0 start to the season, they dropped 7 of their next 9 games. Injuries have hit the team real bad as their leader CP3 is mostly not there to lead the team on court. Griffin has taken the charge and is leading the team in points per game with 23.9 pts. The team has not been able to cope up with the expectations and are still 4th in the Western Conference standings because they have a lot more capability. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers told Fox Sports that the LA Clippers’ slow start is ‘on me’.
What possibly could be the reason behind the Clippers’ slow start? Was it because of the questionable transactions that traded solid bench players like Eric Bledsoe, Matt Barnes, Darren Collison and brought Josh Smith, Wesley Johnson, Pablo Prigioni and Paul Pierce? LA Clippers have one of the best rosters in the NBA which include Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford and many other great players.
The team ranks 23rd in the NBA in rebounds per game despite having one of the best big men in the league, DeAndre Jordan. There are only 4 players in the team that have a positive box +/-. The Clippers’ bench is one of the worst in NBA; it comes in the worst five benches in NBA in rebounds, assists and field goal percentage.
No matter how good Griffin plays or even if Paul has 20 assists a game, the team cannot succeed as long as their pieces fit together perfectly and they play as a team. Austin Rivers and Jamal Crawford are more of scorers than facilitators and bringing in Lance Stephenson wasn’t much of a help. Stephenson averaged 13.8 points a game in Pacers and this year with the LA Clippers, he is averaging less than 5 pts a game!
With all the drama of DeAndre Jordan going on during offseason with the Mavericks, it seems as if the Clippers will get scattered if Jordan leaves. But since the trade did not happen, LA Clippers fans were relieved and they believed that the team has everything they need to win a championship. Now it’s just a matter of them figuring out how.