After a week in which they won three games by a total of 62 points while playing without Chris Paul, the Clippers shot up the lists of power rankings -- by an average of one spot. In fact, many pundits had them seventh last week, and still had them seventh this week.
Power Rankings are a personal thing of course, and some rankers are more susceptible to the moment than others. And it's pretty easy to see why the Clippers would slot in as the seventh team in the league right now -- there are five teams who have 10 or fewer losses (the Clippers have 13) and the Warriors are the hottest team in the league, having won 10 of their last 11. Those six teams, in some order, make up the top of the rankings, and the Clippers come next in almost everyone's opinion. (Ironically, it is Matt Moore, who had the Clippers 11th last week, who ranks them sixth this week, ahead of the Heat. Matt has a bit more fun with his rankings than the others, and is more willing to drop Miami after back-to-back losses.)
[Note by Steve Perrin, 01/13/14 11:51 AM PST ] Matt Dollinger of SI, whose ranking wasn't yet up when I first compiled this week's overview, has also ranked them sixth.
Meanwhile, in all of the various and sundry empirical measures, the Clippers are never ranked worse than sixth. The fact that the Warriors have been so red hot, while the other five teams have a commanding lead in the standings, keeps the Clippers in seventh in the rankings, but you can obviously make the statistical case that they deserve to be ranked higher. One stat in particular worth mentioning is Net Rating -- when measured by the difference between offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency, the Clippers are now ahead of the Trail Blazers (winners of a host of close games), by an increasing margin.
The average ranking for the week (after tossing out the highest ranking and the lowest ranking) is 6.9.
|If you're in the mood to nitpick Blake Griffin's game these days, you're going to have to look hard. He's reached the 30-point plateau five times in the Clippers' past 11 outings ... after getting there just once in the first 28. And I wouldn't think the game gets easier with CP3 in street clothes.
|Chris Paul had custom Jordan Jumpman shoes made for Clipper Darrell, including a red-and-white model to match his split red-white suit.
|Oh, no, Chris Paul's out! What are we going to do? Play the Magic, Celtics, and Lakers at home? ...Oh, OK. Cool.
|After getting romped in their first game without Chris Paul, the Clips won three straight in convincing fashion last week. It's quite the luxury to have a backup point guard as capable as Darren Collison, who is averaging 17.5 points and 6.5 assists and shooting 65.9 percent since stepping into the starting lineup.
|Pro Basketball Talk
|They have won three in a row without Chris Paul (3-1 overall so far without him) and while those wins were all over sub .500 teams they are wins. The Clips will take it. They are home Wednesday then out for the Grammy road trip with seven in a row away from LA.
|With three starters - Darren Collison, Jamal Crawford and Blake Griffin - averaging at least five dimes per game, the Clips have assisted on a greater percentage of their buckets in the four games since Chris Paul's injury (66 percent) than they did before (62 percent). They took care of business at home against three bad teams last week, but have another seven-game trip after hosting Dallas on Wednesday.
|In his four starts since replacing Chris Paul, Darren Collison averaged 17.5 points, 6.5 assists, and shot 65.9 percent, 6 of 10 on threes.
|J.J. Redick returned to the lineup on Friday as the Clippers flat out embarrassed the plummeting Lakers. Redick made his presence felt, scoring 19 points in 23 minutes.
|Blake Griffin has played very well since Chris Paul went down. Getting J.J. Redick back will make carrying the Clippers in his absence a whole lot easier.
|Blake Griffin is developing a system to throw himself alley-oops.