We have reached the mid-season mark, and I feel there is no better way to celebrate Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley’s 50th birthdays than a little recap of the Los Angeles Clippers season so far. Currently, the Clippers are 1st in Pacific Division with a record of 39-17.
Spreading the Love
Something I really like about this year’s Clippers team is that they truly embody the idea of a team. Even with the big names that the Clippers boast, it is pure team effort that has allowed them to be so successful. And key to this teamwork is Chris Paul. In addition to his leadership, CP3 has emerged as the key facilitator of the Clippers’ offense. Because of this, the Clippers are currently ranked 2nd overall in assists. But the numbers of assists wouldn’t be possible if the Clippers didn’t have so many talented, productive players to pass it to, so the depth of the bench is certainly something that should be considered when regarding this statistic.
The Clippers have had their ups and downs on defense this season (and I will be discussing the “downs” in an upcoming article, so keep your eyes peeled). But overall, they have done a good job of holding their opponents to a number that is manageable. Currently, the Clippers are ranked 4th overall in points allowed with 93.7 points. An element of their defense that allows this statistic to be possible is the definite improvement in their down-low defensive game. The Clippers are ranked 6th in blocks, and obviously All-Star Blake Griffin is a large part of that. But DeAndre Jordan and Lamar Odom have really stepped it up this year and proven they are 6’11 and 6’10 forces to be reckoned with down low. Even the increased playing time of Ryan Hollins has proven fruitful in this area- in the games that Hollins has played, he’s been an absolute block machine. And of course, the quickness of Chris Paul and Eric Bledsoe on front court defense has boosted the Clippers to 1st in steals.
There has been a palpable shift in the respect for the Clippers here in L.A. The championship-filled Lakers have dominated the loyalty of Angelenos ever since the Clippers moved to the Staples Center, but not any longer. I believe it’s a mix of a few things that have contributed to this shift. First and foremost, the Lakers are just bad this year. It’s an unfamiliar feeling for Lakers fans to be 25-29 going into the All-Star Game. And the Clippers were ready and able to step up to fill the void. Not only do the Clippers have the All-Star names that draw attention, but they have had the best season in their franchise history. Just look at the ticket prices as an example of their new respect. Just a few months ago, my boyfriend and I were able to get 2 tickets for $16 to a Clippers game. Now, the cheapest ticket you can find (when they are playing a not-so-good team) is $30. AND the Staples Center even splurged for an archway for the Clippers to run through before games. If that doesn’t demand respect, I don’t know what will.
Obviously, these are just a few of the many good things about the Clippers. I could’ve mentioned the crazy deep bench. I could’ve mentioned the list of All-Stars on the team. And perhaps you think I should have, so let me know! If you’d like to talk about more, let’s start a conversation in the comments, Hubsters!