No one cares about the preseason -- a fact that is more than evident in the manner in which the Los Angeles Clippers have played thus far. The idea that three losses in three games is indicative of a fundamental problem with the team is certainly misguided -- the 57 games they won last season are a much better measure of their strength than three meaningless exhibitions.
Still, it's not a lot of fun watching the Clippers stumble about through losses, regardless of their relative import. They've been getting lit up from beyond the three point the last two games, which is strange given that the team had the top three point defense in the league last season. Of course, I've always said that randomness has a big impact on three point shooting, bigger than most people are willing to admit. That could mean that the two game sample size in exhibition games is totally worthless (duh) -- or it could mean that the Clippers' better than average results last year were a fluke. Randomness cuts both ways.
So the fact that the Clippers, who won 57 games last season with essentially the same team, are now 0-3 in the preseason while the Jazz, who won 25 games last season with essentially the same team, are now 4-0, should all be taken with a grain of salt. Sure, Utah is maturing and might be expected to improve -- but there's really no reason to suspect that the Clippers would regress.
There hasn't been a lot of motivation for the team thus far in preseason, and one wonders if a rematch with the Jazz might change that. Maybe -- just maybe -- the Clippers will WANT this one, after losing earlier this week in Salt Lake City in a game they trailed by as many as 19.
Blake Griffin had a huge game in that one, scoring 31 points in 30 minutes -- but Chris Paul has yet to find his game this preseason, making under 40 percent of his shots so far. That's definitely part of the LAC woes, and probably good news -- Paul won't struggle like this much longer.
The game tonight is at STAPLES Center, starting at 7:30. It will be broadcast
Prime Ticket Fox Sports West.