|ESPN||Marc Stein||17||-3||Chris Paul and Derrick Rose, believe it or not, have not squared off in a game in nearly four years, dating all the way back to Dec. 30, 2011. Thursday night's early TNT offering is the latest opportunity for a reunion, but CP3 has been sidelined by a rib issue while D-Rose continues to scuffle with blurred vision and shaky shooting.|
|CBS Sports||Matt Moore||8||+4||They've stopped the capitulation, despite Chris Paul and J.J. Redick being out again. The problem is this: Is any contender really frightened of the Clippers at this point?|
|NBA.com||David Aldridge||12||+1||Clips need their depth to carry them through their latest batch of injuries as it did in a come-from-behind win over Orlando, the last home game before a long eastern swing.|
|NBA.com||John Schuhmann||15||–||When Jamal Crawford scores 30-plus (like he did Saturday against Orlando), the Clippers can win without their starting backcourt. But it would be nice to have Chris Paul (ribs) and/or J.J. Redick (ankle) back as they hit the road this week. They've played nine of their last 11 games at Staples Center, but will be away from home for 12 of their next 16, a stretch that includes two separate trips to the east coast.|
|Sports Illustrated||Jeremy Woo||10||+2||After winning five of seven, L.A. creeps back into the top 10, although Chris Paul and J.J. Redick are concurrently injured for the second time this season. The Clippers could be pressed to keep it together the rest of the month, with just two of the next 14 games on its home court.|
|NBC Sports||Kurt Helin||13||+2||J.J. Redick could be back Monday night, but it may be a few more games before Chris Paul returns. Going to be a rough rest of the month for the Clippers, who are heavy with road games (12 road, two home games the rest of the month). We will find out if this team can start to come together as a lot of us expected.|
Marc Stein has been watching a different Clippers team than the rest of us have. While a win over Orlando occurred in large parts thanks to the generosity of the Magic, losing to the red-hot Pacers is perfectly understandable minus a starting backcourt (even though the Clippers had a chance in that game before shooting themselves in the foot).
The big road trip East last year was what brought the Clippers out of their early season doldrums. Hopefully a forgiving away slate this December does the trick once again.
National Top Ten
|1||Golden State Warriors||1||1||1||1||1||1.0|
|2||San Antonio Spurs||2||2||2||2||2||2.0|
|6||Oklahoma City Thunder||5||14||6||6||6||7.4|
The Hornets are good, y'all. Chicago's overrated and will fall back a little sooner or later (although in the East right now, even the teams out of the playoffs are still only two games out of the first seed). Toronto showed out this week despite losing their last two at home to the Nuggets and Warriors. The West lags behind because of a few slumping teams, but it might be time to accept that this season sees a brief restoration of conference equilibrium. Whether or not it lasts, this shouldn't change anyone's mind on moving to a top-16 playoff format.
|Margin of Victory||+1.0||14th|
|Strength of Schedule||.513||9th|
|Expected Winning Percentage||.540||14th|
|Simple Rating System||+1.72||13th|
|Relative Percent Index||.522||11th|
You'd really like to see the Clippers turn the corner sooner or later and start putting up those elite differentials once again. Not everyone is lucky enough to be last year's Rockets (just ask this year's Rockets).