Even though things appear to have calmed down since winning cures so much, things still aren’t ‘great’ for the Clippers. They’ve won 3 games in a row at home but have had stretches where they’ve played far below their potential. The schedule eased up so to speak but next month they’ll be on the road for most of their games and how they fare will ultimately determine their playoff positioning or whether they make it at all. It’s a close race. Here’s how they did over the past week:
Memphis W 101-85
New Orleans W 97-85
Phoenix W 103-86
After such a horrible loss in New Orleans, the Clippers bounced back to beat Memphis at home. A very dangerous Memphis team at that and no team would be looking forward to facing them in the first round of the playoffs.
The Clippers came out of the gates on fire against the Grizzlies and Hornets. The team gets easy baskets, some in transition but mainly because their shots are falling early on, seemingly every shot they shoot seems to go in. Several times, the Clippers have looked to call DeAndre Jordan’s number and fans question why he’s not in the game more especially late in the game when he scores so efficiently.
However, these leads don’t last long as the Clippers’ porous defense isn’t enough to keep up with their efficient offense. There is a significant drop off with the second unit that has been dubbed by some as the ‘energy’ squad with Reggie Evans, Kenyon Martin and Eric Bledsoe but they often go long stretches without generating any scores. The Clippers had a 27 point lead in the 4th quarter against the Hornets but scored 4 total points to close out the final half of the 4th and Chris Paul had to be reinserted into the game. The Clippers ended up winning by only 12 points against an injured Hornets team with what could be considered the most obscure starting lineup in recent memory (Lance Thomas, Jarrett Jack, Gustavo Ayon, Marco Belinelli and Trevor Ariza).
All of these games are considered ‘must-win’ games and while they did put a little more distance between them and the rest of the pack while simultaneously inching closer to the Lakers, they really need to continue to win. Looking ahead, the Clippers take on the Mavericks in Dallas, then a home game against the Lakers before playing Sacramento at Sacramento, then back at Staples Center.
Fatigue is likely setting in as the Clippers play 20 games in 30 days but the real test comes in the month of April. If their play as of late, making things difficult for themselves in the 4th quarter is any indication of how they’ll do next month then they’re in real serious trouble. But for now, they’ll have to concentrate on winning one game at a time.