Nov. 17, 2016
The Los Angeles Clippers are looking like NBA Finals contenders
When Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors, everyone thought the narrative Western Conference was already written. The Warriors would cruise through the regular season and all the way to the NBA Finals and likely face the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rematch of last year's clash. It seemed like it was the easiest prediction of the NBA season. But the Los Angeles Clippers have something to say about that.
The Clippers have started off the season hot at 9-1 and thanks to a six-game winning streak, find themselves in first place in the Western Conference. They have been putting up astounding numbers on offense and are blowing teams out. It's not close wins for the Clippers, its games where the result has been settled since the end of the 4th quarter. LA has blown out good Western Conference teams in the San Antonio Spurs and the Portland Trail Blazers by 24 and 31 respectively. Some upstart young teams in the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Detroit Pistons have also suffered the same fate. It's a great start by a team who had so many questions heading into the season.
Many were wondering if this would be the last year of the current Clippers core and if they could keep up with the Warriors. With point guard Chris Paul getting older, many were wondering if a Golden State-LA playoff series would even be close. But the Clippers are showing that their backcourt and wings, which was viewed as a weakness, is stepping up. Both of their shooting guards in J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford are averaging double figures in points per game with Redick shooting 42% from three and posting an effective field goal percentage, known as eFG%, of 56.6. With the normal offensive players like Blake Griffin and Paul contributing and leading the team in scoring, getting offensive output from your bench and the "other guys" is huge. It's something that they need moving forward if they want to be real Finals contenders.
In a year where everyone asked if this is Clippers team was any good this season, they are surely showing that they have what it takes to be no pushover in the playoffs. For now at least.