Underrated Clippers Ready To Pounce





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Chris Paul said it out loud to the Staples Center crowd late Wednesday night, loud enough for all of us thousands of miles away to hear every word.

“This is special team,” he said of the Clippers, while Blake Griffin held a mic of his own as the team greeted the crowd before their home-opening win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

A cynic might point out that similar words are spoken by team leaders at the start of home openers all around the league. But a realist, one without purple-and-gold tinted lenses, would see the validity in Paul’s words and recognizes that the All-Star point guard speaks the truth.

I’ve already gone on record with my prediction that Paul’s Clippers, and not the more celebrated Lakers, are the team from Los Angeles headed to the Western Conference finals. They might not be able to match the Lakers in star power, tradition or as a box office draw. What they do have, however, is the sort of talent, depth, chemistry and focus necessary to reach the conference finals.

While the Lakers find out exactly who and what they are … and the Oklahoma City Thunder retool after trading Kia Sixth Man of the Year James Harden …and the San Antonio Spurs try to pace themselves for yet another attempt at beating the clock and returning to the top … the underrated (yes, underrated) Clippers have nothing but opportunity staring them in the face.

And the Clippers are ready to pounce.

This assessment is less about what we’ve seen in the first 48 hours of the season and more about a belief that the Clippers, with arguably the deepest bench in the league, finally have the pieces needed to take over the No. 1 spot.

The Clippers were impressive in that win over the Grizzlies, with DeAndre Jordan serving as the early spark and Jamal Crawford putting in his opening bid for another Sixth Man of the Year honor with a game-high 29 points. Lamar Odom and Eric Bledsoe gave the Clippers an extra boost, too. In fact, every healthy member in the playing rotation went about the business of doing his job, helping the Clippers battle from a deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to a victory.

Crawford was particularly effective, giving the Grizzlies a dose of what O.J. Mayo did for them last season with a whirlwind opening performance, including a rainbow corner 3-pointer that helped salt the game away in the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t have an answer for him,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins told reporters afterwards, a refrain you’ll hear often about Crawford and the Clippers if they stick to their scripts and get lucky on the injury front.

The Clippers don’t need any time to get comfortable with each other. There are no internal hurdles this time around, no adjustment period for Paul like the one he needed last season, and no lingering drama surrounding this group (coach Vinny Del Negro‘s hot seat has cooled considerably since last season).

Perhaps most important is that the Clippers will spend the entire season sharing a building with the team — the Lakers — under the most pressure in the league to perform. Those are expectations the Clippers don’t have to worry about.

56 Comments

  1. YearZeroNIN says:

    How much cheating like this has Kobe Bryant done in his career??? Just like Lance Armstrong, Kobe Bryant may need to be STRIPPED of his 2 most recent Championship Rings!! Just like Lance Armstrong, Kobe may have cheated … just like he and his superteam of superfriends did in tonight’s NBA game against the superior Clippers.

  2. YearZeroNIN says:

    “Shut up and let us work??” Which is what Kobe said. WELL, today’s game against the Clippers, Kobe and his new superteam of superfriends certainly “worked” the referees. They tried to FIX this game … and still got their butts kicked. One call was ridiculous — something I have never ever seen before. In the second half of this game, they sent Kobe Bryant to the free-throw line for a pair of free throws. He missed the first free throw. SUDDENLY, the refs decide to REVERSE THE MISS and take Kobe off the free-throw line and put Ron Artest (who wasn’t even fouled on the play) on the free-throw line. WOW!!! Stop allowing biased Laker fans to referee games!!! It destroys the integrity of the game!!! Because of this bogus manipulation, Kobe was 10-10 in free throws; he should’ve been 10-11 or 11-12 in free throws. NBA Referees — STOP PROTECTING KOBE LIKE THIS!! It’s getting WAY TOO OBVIOUS YOU’RE FIXING GAMES!! STOP!! You’re going to get in trouble!! Is KOBE worth losing your job positions?????

  3. John says:

    Yes, but this is their last year to try to make a move before Paul’s contract expires. I’m sure Orlando can spend more on him than L.A.

  4. Lakers-R-Us says:

    The Clippers are younger, faster, and more athletic than the Lakers! And they have Chris Paul! The Lakers are older, wily veterans like Kobe and Pau! And we do have Dwight(Superman) Howard in the paint! It’s gonna be tough to beat the Clippers without Steve Nash! I just have to hope the Lakers can put together a good game and be competitive with them! I always believe they (the Lakers), can win! I’m hoping to see a great game today! Go Lakers!

  5. Rickson says:

    Clippers is one scary and though team to beat, i know Charles Barkley and those big mouth on TNT don’t say much about the team but soon they will be say Clippers is though and taking the 2013 NBA Champion..

  6. Zachery says:

    Man you guys better watch out for the clippers if you remember they beat okc last year i think 3-1 yea that sounds right and they were the team to be yea we loss to the spurs but we did beat okc in a little series of our own miami better beware

  7. Jay T says:

    Now that BG and CP3 have a yer under their belt together and DeAndre looking tougher and more focused, the rest of the Clipper Ship seems to be setting sail as Bledsoe is the new PG dynamo and J Craw the blistering SG who looked like a 6th man o Year candidate last night…With the addition of Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill on the bench as well as a return of All Star Billups this squad is STACKED.! LOL @ Lakers as Nash is already hobbled, Howard unable to play 4th quarters and Kobe about to have the load on his old shoulders once again… THIS AINT NO SHORT STRIKE SEASON! 82 games old man!

    Clippers take next step and make 2 or 3 seed and anything can happen….

  8. Peter says:

    LOL that was a pretty awesome ankle breaker, and I’m not even a Clippers fan :D

  9. Moe801 says:

    I was at the game last night and it was a pleasure to see the Clippers doing so well. I’ve been a fan since Lamar’s first run as a Clipper. Last season was great for them, but this year will be one for the history books. Given that everyone stays healthy.

  10. Oden says:

    Respect for the Clips! So, the Lakers, Thunders and Spurs should watch out! Go CP3!

  11. Ron says:

    What? Flop city is the team to beat from the west? Someone didn’t look at the stats yesterday, they committed 20+ TO’s, Blake was shutdown most of the game, so was CP. If it wasn’t for the late 3 by crawford it was Memphis’ game. Sekou Smith, you make the clippers look like the champs already. They won by 9 points to the Grizzlies, you forget they are still good. Wait till the Clippers play OKC, Utah and Portland. I heard they also have deep benches

    • Nigel says:

      So…you said Memphis is good…and Clips beat them…so doesn’t that make the Clips good?

      20+ TO’s and managed to win…you know the Clips are one of the lowest TO teams in the NBA right?

      Utah and Portland?

      Do you even watch basketball?!

      Get educated then come back to us.

      • Ron says:

        A) Flop City isn’t good, the grizzlies are better. That was just one game
        B) What happened to the TOs last night? They sure didnt look like the lowest.
        C) You will think of me when Utah dominates the paint. P.S. Blake and Jordan can’t play defense
        D) I watch more basketball then you probably have all your life.
        Since when did you jump on the bandwagon?

  12. Steiny says:

    I think this team is relevant and better than the fakers. Everyone needs to settle down though. things look good for us but how quick we forget that we got SWEPT! by the Spurs who will probably be better than last year. I’ll feel better about our chances when are bigs can continuously show that they are more than just lob machines.

  13. Catries Johnson says:

    The Clippers look great this year the West will be hot. Hope they can beat MIA. Miami is not unbeatable they have a weakness. Go Clippers!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. clipsssssss says:

    so much expectations for only one game.
    lets see after the next

  15. This is definiton of prisoner of the moment, Lake Show all day

    • Nigel says:

      Ask yourself, do you want to meet the Clippers in the playoffs?

      • Chiyangi says:

        Totally disagree with that prediction – The Clippers are not going past lakers, OKC or Spurs even though I am a heat fan. They are looking good but it’s too early to make that call.

      • Hm says:

        @Chiyangi

        It’s “too early” to make that call, but yet you’re saying they can’t (=making the call) make it past the Lakers, OKC and the Spurs.

    • Game Time says:

      Nah, it’s more like “out with the old(Lakers) in with the new (Clippers)” ha ha.

  16. Cody says:

    Bottom line the clipper’s are down right scary. Their bench is by far the best in the league with Billups, Barnes, Odom, Crawford and Bledsoe. Having arguably the best point guard in the league to get everyone involved this team has unlimited potential the only question will it all come together at the right time. I’m a huge Heat fan and the team I’m worried about from LA is not the Lakers.

  17. TJ says:

    note to self: you have homework to complete.. stop watching Jamal breaking Rudy’s ankles over and over again.. 30+ times is already more than enough.

  18. DHAM says:

    YEP THE CLIPS ARE COMING OUT THE WEST TO MEET LEBRON AND THE HEAT, YOU CAN SEE IT COMING. THE CLIPS HAD 24 TURNOVERS AND STILL MANAGED TO PUT UP 101 POINTS!!!, SMH. THEIR RESTING BILLUPS CAUSE BLEDSOE IS BALLING AND JAMAL CRAWFORD GOT THAT STREETBALL TYPE GAME. THIS WAS WITHOUT BILLUPS, GRANT HILL, MATT BARNES, AND LAMAR ODOM NOT IN SHAPE, THEY SCARY THEY CAN GO 11 MAYBE 12 DEEP, THE LAKERS NEED TO CHARGE IT TO THE GAME, IT’S THE CLIPS CITY NOW.

  19. B**** Please says:

    They are still the clippers who will find a way to mess up, they are not even that good, front court can’t play half court game, all they have is highlight fastbreak , other than that the cant score down low consistently

    • Game Time says:

      ^^^ bitter Laker fan.

    • HanksHouse says:

      Same old tired line. It’s the Clippers? Blake Griffin is one of the most efficient players in the league on the block, if you look at points per possession. It’s ugly but extremely effective. Don’t hate, it just makes you look stupid.

  20. Akron says:

    Jordan “early spark”… Yeah those 7 TO in the first half really helped the clips out. What a joke, Crawford is garbage too, check out his stats from last year in Portland.

    • Game Time says:

      And look at this stats the years before in Atlanta. Crawford knows he did bad in Portland and admits it. Now he’s bringing back his A game…stop hatin’…

  21. A.z... says:

    Jamal Crawford is the most underrated palyer in the nba… WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he is the best in every skills chart

  22. Patty says:

    There is no one like Kobe Bryant!!! Kobe Bryant & Michael Jordan are the greatest players ever played the game.

    Stop pushing the dummy Lebron James off on us.

    • Hm says:

      Bryant never was, isn’t and never will be as good as either MJ or LBJ. The only reason media will pretend he is: Lakers fanbase is huge (=lots of hits on Bryant articles, especially controversial comparisons) and many Bryant fans think rings are the best measurement of individual prowess (=they’re too stupid to know better).

      It’s a money machine, this Kobe Bryant brand, but he doesn’t even make the top 10 of best players of all time.

      • chalice says:

        Kobe is easily in the conversation of top ten basketball players of all time. I’m not a Kobe fan but I will give the man his due. The Lakers are a huge surprise to me going 0-2 and 0-8 in preseason. I want the Lakers to lose but not like this. LBJ is in position to be considered GOAT but he has A LOT of work ahead of him. Kobe is winding down his career so I doubt he has a chance to be GOAT over Jordan. I would love to see some of the sports writers (Sekou and company) who were around since the 70′s to weigh in on the top ten players of all time!

      • Hm says:

        @chalice
        I didn’t mean to imply that he isn’t a great player or one of the greats of all time (because he is), but Kobe fans tend to forget (or not know) that there were a lot of great players that came before him. Objectively, insofar that being objective is possible with lists, I don’t think he makes a top 10. Even thinking only of Lakers players, I can come up with at least three guys that should be ahead of him on a list of greats.

  23. SURGE2012 says:

    LOB CITY!!!! Best Clipper team of ALL-Time!!!

  24. RG says:

    the Clippers are a great team, and i surely won’t sleep on them, but the team to beat in the West? i don’t think so. despite the trade, i still see the Thunder as the team to beat, with the Spurs right behind them.

  25. Justin timberlake says:

    Clipper nations back……ay!
    all those laker fans dont know how to act…….ay!
    Blake and cp3 are on the attack….ay!
    So u lakers better watcher your back….ay

    take em to the finals!

  26. Califan says:

    Friday’s game is gonna be great I think. Even with Nash out the Lakers are still stacked, but Clippers have much better chemistry and I’m sure they’ll win.

    • Celt21 says:

      Yeah really stacked. There best point guard will be Steve Blake. And they have a bench full of scrubs. And Howard who’s been days late on his defensive rotations. There is little hope for a win tonight for the Lakers, but hang in there.

  27. Prada says:

    I think they will beat any team in the league with the squad they have its incredible even though they was doing bad in turnovers expect that to change within the next ten games they will be the team to beat in the west if you ask me

  28. CP3toStayinLA says:

    The Clips are definitely no joke! They are deep, skilled and hungry. This season everyone will have to give respect where respect is due. Go Clippers!

  29. ko0kie says:

    I like this improved clippers team.. bledsoe looks much comfortable now, being on the same team with CP3 and chauncey really helped his game.. they finally got some depth in front. hollins and turiaf bring energy from the bench. I like their 3-man rotation at the 3 with butler, barnes and hill.. all veteran guys who can contribute. and jamal crawford is jamal crawford.. he can score at any time.
    the one thing they are lacking right now is 3-point shooting but once chauncey billups is back they should be fine.

  30. jtmoney says:

    THE CLIPPERS ARE RELEVANT I DECLARE THEY WILL BE COMING OUT OF THE WEST i ADMIT I NEVER HAD SUPPORT FOR THEM GROWING UP A LAKERS FAN BUT I REGRET THAT NOW THERE IS NO BATTLE FOR LA LAKERS ARE ESSENTIALLY DONE THERE IS A NEW KID ON THE BLOCK AND HE IS A BULLY!

  31. B52 says:

    The bench will destroy the Lakers bench, but the
    Clippers can only make it to the Finals if Blake and DeAndre learn how to defend

  32. CHINUS says:

    They will take down LA Lakers if they will meet.. because Lakers has Stupid Coach and STUPID Management.. Now is the Time for you fans from LA Lakers to switch on you team.. haha!

  33. doug says:

    to tell you the truth i don´t know why people are sleeping on the clippers. This team is deep. So deep they are letting Chauncey Billups take his time coming back: people are gonna forget about him and when the playoffs start they are going to be dominating. they definitely are scarey. they will kill Miami if they are healthy.

    • R2Dcomment says:

      I like the clippers but stating that they will kill Miami from one game is really opinionated. Miami looks extremely better then last year and Lebron is like a super saiyan this year going for super saiyan2 in the post season hahahahaha… but definitely hope the clippers beat the lakers which i believe and most certain they have enough ammo and fire power.

    • Cliff says:

      ..if they’re healthy

  34. AJ says:

    Clippers will go to the final if the keep there team healthy because they have the best all around team in the league.

  35. amitpal says:

    This team still has chauncey grant and barnes coming back and the starting unit was terrible for most of the game. This team really is special. I think this team can win it all if they can stay healthy.

  36. W/E says:

    Rudy Gay got OWNED! Clippers are taking over LA..

  37. E-SY says:

    This is the team 2 beat from LaLa-land! More W’s this season and definitely more fun to watch!