Los Angeles Clippers Have Eye On The Title


Yesterday we talked about how Chris Paul was an unspoken contender for the MVP award.  What we didn’t talk about is how the Los Angeles Clippers still remain a contender to win the championship this season.  After a second round exit last season, have the Clips made the necessary improvements to win the NBA title this year?

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The NBA season seems to have been defined by the nearly absurd level of competition in the Western Conference, and with good reason.  The Warriors hold the best record in the league, the Rockets, Spurs, and Thunder are all playing at an amazing level as the last few games of the season wind down. And yet, the Clippers don’t even seem to be in the conversation for the title.  When looking at other teams in the West, the great advantage the team has is their depth.  Led by two perennial All-Stars in Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, the team has the likes of defensive player of the year candidate DeAndre Jordan,  sharpshooter J.J. Redick, Nate Robinson, Matt Barnes, and Austin Rivers. Doc Rivers is the man leading the way from the sidelines, he was the head coach of the 2008 champion Boston Celtics.  If the miracles of modern medicine work their magic, they will also regain Jamal Crawford in time for the playoffs.

“Don’t shut the door on the Clippers just yet.”

Since the signing of coach Doc Rivers, the Clippers have been seen as an organization that is finally getting all the right pieces together at the right time.  They have two young stars that can lead the team and have excellent chemistry on the court.  They have several efficient role players that can help carry the workload every game.  Since last season, they’ve had a championship-caliber coach who can maximize the talents of his squad more than anyone before.

That is not to say that the Clippers have been world-beaters all season.  They have a losing record overall to other teams that have been considered title contenders this year.  If the playoffs were to begin today, the team would be the fifth seed in the playoffs and would not have home-court advantage against the Portland Trailblazers whom they are 2-1 this season (with one meeting left to go).  That still leaves them with potential opponents like the Rockets, Warriors, Spurs and Thunder to make it to the Finals.  For what it is worth, they also have lost all regular-season meetings to the Cavaliers and Hawks this season.  The Clippers issues on defense will have to be rectified if the team is to live up to its potential.

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  • That is not to say they do not possess the potential to shock the Western Conference.  Their style of play, while not reflected in their record, has historically proved more reliable during the post-season than the jump-shooting style of the Warriors.  There is also the question of whether James Harden can carry the Rockets in the post-season the way he has in the regular season.  Also, will teams like the Thunder and Spurs advance past the first round without home-court advantage?

    Similar to the Spurs last season, the Clippers remain undoubtedly motivated to go beyond the second round where last year the controversial call at the end of the fourth game against the Thunder led to losing home court advantage and the series.  Los Angeles is a city not accustomed to looking toward the lottery.  It’s a city that is used to championships, 16 of them from the team across the hall to be more precise.  While it is a much different situation than historically used to, the Clippers carry championship aspirations in the city of angels.  They have the stars, the coach, and the experience.  Now, they just have to win the games.