It looks like the Los Angeles Clippers are starting to find their groove. And they’re doing it with their -NBA All-Star forward Blake Griffin in street clothes. That’s a good thing. Now what’s going to happen when Griffin comes back from his injury that he suffered against the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day?
What we’re seeing now is a team that is playing all in, playing with a chip on their shoulder and an urgency that suggest that it’s time to ball up and ball out. Ever since their well-dissected three-game losing span against three of the heavy hitters in the NBA Western Conference-San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder-the Clippers have taken no prisoners in the win-loss column.
The Clips have reeled off six wins in a row? Impressive? Maybe not when the victory list includes the bumbling Charlotte Hornets, the stumbling New Orleans Pelicans and the not-so-good Washington Wizards.
The Philadelphia 76ers…yes, the three-win 76ers, with rookie standout Jahlil Okafor, became the Clippers’ latest win notch, the result of a 130-99 beatdown at Staples Center the day after the New Year had set in. But take nothing away from the Clippers. A win streak is a win streak, and it is a far better outcome than where the team was at the beginning of the season when everything that coach Doc Rivers tried seemed to not work.
It’s working now. In the six games without Griffin, the Clippers have had different guys step up to offset losing their superstar for a couple of weeks. Against the 76ers, it was Austin Rivers leading the team in scoring with 26 points. J.J. Redick led the team in scoring in three of those games, while Chris Paul has taken credit for two other contests.
With the next two weeks at home, the Clippers may be able to push their current win streak to include a couple of more victories. Like they have done in the past, this is about the time of year where the Clippers fine-tune their game. Getting a win anytime in the NBA, is a win in itself. So it doesn’t matter if those victories came against less-than-prowess opponents.
There is a lot of good that one can find in what the Clippers are doing. For one, the way the team is spreading the wealth around when it comes to scoring, has taken up a lot of offensive slack missing from Griffin’s night in and night out production.
Against the 76ers, the Clippers had six players in double figures. They had another six players put up double figures in points in their 122-117 win in a road win against the Hornets. If nothing else, the Clippers are more less playing with a balance and cohesiveness needed when the postseason eventually comes around. So with Griffin out of the lineup, it’s going to take every player to bring their A-game to the table.
So far, so good. That was not the case in November and early December, when the Clippers floundered about on the court and looked as lost as a misplaced puppy. They seemed to have righted the ship now that 2016 is here. It will be interesting to see how far the Clippers can keep their mojo going for the rest of the season.