First of all, we are talking about a different team this year. Of course, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are still the cornerstones of the Clips. Nonetheless, except for those two, almost any other part of the team has changed. It’s true that DeAndre Jordan was with the team last season and Jamal Crawford was playing well, last season, too. But both DJ and Crawford have seen changes in their role and they have uplifted their respective performances this season. Jordan’s performance has been greatly affected by the presence of Doc Rivers, much like the performance of the entire team has.Blake Griffin has taken his production to new levels. Really, during the extended time that Chris Paul was out with an injury, Griffin took the team on his shoulders. He was the one to emerge as the true leader of the team. He has improved several aspects of his game, like his mid-range and also free-throw shooting. Most importantly, Griffin is expected to play big for the Clips this year thanks to the presence of Doc Rivers.
The Clippers were a good team last season. Really, they had two superstars and a bunch of capable role players, but they failed to play as expected. This should be no surprise to the fans of the team. Under Vinny Del Negro, the team had no discipline, no plan to be a championship contender. The Clippers played the offensive system “let CP3 decide”.
Things are radically different this year, though. The “Doc Rivers effect” can be seen all around. The Clippers are different team both on and off the court. Even the Lakers banners are no longer shown when the Clips play at home, in the Staples Center.The additions of Glen Davis and Danny Granger are the icing on the cake, the missing pieces for the Clips’ championship run. Really, if there was one position in the starting lineup of the team that was weak, that was the small forward. No offense to Matt Barnes, but he is not a starting small forward, at least he shouldn’t be in a team which likes to call itself “title contender”. Danny Granger is the exact piece the Clippers’ puzzle needed to move forward. Glen Davis comes to significantly upgrade the team’s backup front line. LA didn’t really have a capable big man scorer coming off the bench, at least not of the quality of Big Baby.
For sure, it will not be easy for the Clippers to beat teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder or the San Antonio Spurs. Nonetheless, they are certainly one of the strongest, if not the strongest favorites for the title, at present. The Clippers and OKC Thunder can be considered as the two best teams in the West and they only ones which can really beat the Eastern Conference champion, whichever that might be.
Tonight the LA Clippers look to extend their win streak to ten games against the Utah Jazz. The Clippers return home to the Staples Center on Sunday where they face the Cavaliers, Pistons and Bucks this week. The Western Conference race is extremely close with 3 games separating the Clippers from the Thunder from the first place spot which makes their match up on April 9th so much more important.Barry’s Tickets is an Official Partner of the Los Angeles Clippers offering both regular and Playoff Clippers Tickets with no service fees. Barry’s Tickets is located caddy-corner from the Staples Center itself and is open from 9:00am to 9:00pm seven days a week. With the largest physical inventory of of Clippers Tickets anywhere we have seats that fit all budgets and customer service that goes above and beyond all others. Chris Michaels