Clippers In Good Place Despite Problems


VIDEO:  NBA Action shines the spotlight on Doc Rivers

This was never going to be a simple journey under the most normal of circumstances, not after the Clippers traded for a coach, that coach immediately began looking into planning a championship parade – for the Clippers – and Doc Rivers took to saying he saw some Bill Russell in DeAndre Jordan. Talk about daring the heavens to come crashing down.

And now that there have been challenges, so what? Important reserve Matt Barnes missed 18 games with leg and eyes problems, starting shooting guard J.J. Redick was out 21 with a hand/wrist injury, superstar point guard Chris Paul is at 15 and counting because of a separated shoulder, there has been a transition to a new coach and system, rebounding is a problem … and yet they’re actually in a good place.

The Clippers are 34-17 as the All-Star break approaches, in fourth place in the Western Conference, three games out of second, on pace for 55 wins, and peeking through the wreckage to find that no one in the standings has run away from them. For all the problems, there aren’t any.

Quite the opposite. In that locker room, the first half of the season is being embraced and even welcomed as challenging times that will make them better in the second half of building momentum to the playoffs. A little spin control, sure, but also a lot of reality knowing that a good training room will solve what has been the biggest problem.

“I really don’t know what the negatives are,” Rivers said. “I look at our record and our team, I like our team. I love where we’re at. I love the adversity. I think it’s good for us. I think it’ll make us better. I think everything that we’ve gone through, there’s not a negative thing that’s happened. It’ll help team toughness and mental toughness and trusting everybody on the team as a player. I think all that’ll come into play. I think everything’s been good.

“If you’re going to be playing in March, April, May and June, tough things are going to happen. It’s not going to be an easy road; otherwise everyone would do it. Any kind of adversity is a good thing. I think that’s how you should look at it.”

Even with the injuries? Even with long stretches of missed opportunity for a team with several prominent new faces to find a rhythm?

“Yeah, even with that,” Rivers said. “Because other guys are playing. It’s forced our staff to do things differently. I think it’s all good. To me, this is a new group. I think just throwing us in there and trying to figure stuff out on the fly, trusting each other, it’s been a very good thing for us.”

The contenders for the West title at the start of the season still are. Now the Clippers need the stability of a preferred starting lineup, which could happen with Paul’s return in the next week or maybe just after the All-Star break, and also to ride out the current mean-spirited schedule. Seriously, a seven-game Eastern swing (5-2), coming home for one against the Wizards (win), going back out to Oakland (loss), returning to Staples Center for the Jazz (win), and turning around again to go to Denver (loss). They haven’t been in the same city twice in a row since a four-game homestand ended Jan. 15.

And yet, 34-17.

“We know the second half of the year we’re going to be better than we were the first half, with or without injuries,” said Jared Dudley, one of the key offseason acquisitions. “Just because of getting used to each other, getting used to Doc Rivers and how he coaches the schemes.”

They still have about three months before the playoffs. They still have a real chance, and not just to get to know each other.

22 Comments

  1. Don't ever CLICK MY NAME!!!! You Have been warned says:

    lakers beat clippers on opening night therefore lakers are better than the clippers end of story

  2. They need to re-sign Lamar Odom, SF and rebounding/defense problem solved….Who cares about the Kardashians, they need Odom. Please he could shoot 3s. or they could trade DJ to Miami for Mike Beasley…MB creates his own shot, comes cheap, and would play some great D…it would make for great basketball entertainment…

  3. Chris A says:

    Yes Clips are in good shape. They lost few games to bad teams (LAL, Orl. Magic) etc..they should of won. But record is still ok. We will see a VERY strong 2nd half of this season. CP3 comes back to a clippers team that has seen the improved Blake Griffin!!! And a team that in my opinion has grown since cp3 went down. They just need to defend, rebound little better. And DIG DEEP on the nights when their offence
    isn’t clicking on all cylinders. Still think if THEY LISTEN TO DOC RIVERS. .They could come out of the WEST on top! IMO
    CO CLIPPERS

  4. am says:

    they should sign shannon brown

  5. Shawn Kemp no. 1 says:

    They better pray they don’t run into Memphis in the first round :D

  6. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    BTW, 34 – 17. 51 games played. 82 games per season. We’re well past the halfway point. There are only 30 or so games left in the season for most (if not all) NBA teams.

    There really aren’t that many games left

    62% already completed. Only about 38% left.

    Get rid of the fantasy that there’s this whole “second half of the season.” By the time the All Star break comes, some teams will be close to 60 games played.

    How games are there in an NBA season? Oh yeah. 82.

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      Maybe it’s because the NBA season seems to start early these days, but this is the reality. The All Star break is not the actual halfway point in the season. I wonder if it ever was. Maybe in the past. In today’s NBA, we’re way past the halfway point by the time the All Star break comes.

      If you think about it, the playoffs are right around the corner.

      • Joshua Greenfarb says:

        The Golden State Warriors better get their act together in a hurry or they could miss the playoffs in the wild West.

        Truthfully, I think they will make the playoffs, barely.

        However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they get replaced by Memphis, Dallas, or possibly Minnesota.

        Getting blown out at home by Charlotte is NOT a good sign for the Warriors.

        They probably need to stop trying to be a defensive team, because it’s not their strength. Their style is high-paced with lots of 3-point shooting. The more they go away from that, the more they will struggle.

  7. SixerFanEU says:

    Melo is the most overrated player in recent NBA history-he would help LAC offense, but he is only average on defense, plus he’d destroy their chemistry. Besides, where’s the money to sign him?

  8. jake s. says:

    Both L.A. teams need ‘Melo. Lakers will probably lobby for him more effectively… but if Anthony wants to win a championship he better go to the Clippers.

    • allaroundballer says:

      no way man, all they need is SF who could play hard D and shoot 3. No need another dominant player or should I say ballhog?

    • Joshua Greenfarb says:

      No, Carmelo has to go to the Thunder, if he wants Finals appearances. However, he’s stated he’s not leaving New York, so we may want to leave this alone for a while.

      He may change his mind later, if he wants a Championship with the young Thunder. Otherwise, he will remain a Knick.

    • jake s. says:

      I agree with you man but you don’t see many teams giving away a great small forward that can play D with a good 3 point shooting ability. Those guys already belong to teams like the Heat,Thunder, and Pacers.

  9. LAC is getting your attention because the west conf is MONSTER. but overall LAC is looking tight!

  10. okc2014 says:

    Doc Rivers, was that your final answer (when he said, “Yeah, even with that”)?

    • justsayin says:

      As long as the starting unit gets healthy to find a rhythm for the 2nd half – yeah definitely a confidence builder winning in spite of missing key guys.

      Why you’d question it considering the growth OKC has experienced compensating for the injured Westbrook is a head-scratcher.

  11. Johnny says:

    I just don’t know… that rebounding. .. DJ leads the league, Blake averages 10 a game and yet they get rebounded by 15-20 rebounds sometimes. Especially those offensive rebounds. .. killers. DJ does a lot of things well but he does a lot of things awful also. His defense is terrible. Downright awful. He’s always late to help his 1 on 1 D is abysmal. And Considering what he gives you on offense it’s just awful. I can understand and forgive Blake ( a little….) for the negatives that come with his defense because he gives 24 pts 10 rbs and about 4 dimes a game. There is one thing I’ve noticed though, when they WANT to play D they can. Especially blake… When the game is on the line he tries hard. I really think there are 2 weak links tho. 1 is the starting SF… barnes.. is not a starter. He’s a beast off the bench but not a starter. Dudley has obviously been a huge bust. He’s done absolutely nothing well. And his D is way worse then I think most thought. And that back up (or even starting) big… hollins? Awful, mullens? Probably the worst player in the nba, turk ? He’s fine for small ball but what happens if they play a team like memphis? Who have 2 insanely physical big men. I’d like to see bullock get some run. He can play the 3. And he actually hustles and tries his butt off on D. I dunno if the clippers do anything at all at the trade deadline but I hope they address their weaknesses in one way or another. As is I’m thinking WCF loss.

  12. c man says:

    the clips look good to go. they have survived setbacks .. they do seem weak at the small forward position where they get little scoring and little help rebounding and even less on defense. a possible trade could help. any thoughts??