|SB Nation||Drew Garrison||11||0||There was something strange in the air Saturday night. If you felt it, too, then don't fret. It was just Austin Rivers going off for 28 points while the Clippers continue to find ways -- strange ones, at that -- to win without Blake Griffin.|
|ESPN||Marc Stein||7||+2||The Clips have followed up a rare four-game skid with four straight wins in which they've scored at least 110 points. DeAndre Jordan is averaging 18.2 PPG and 18.0 RPG when Blake Griffin sits, but quite a test looms for the All-Star snubee Monday night against Memphis' mammoth front line.|
|CBS Sports||Matt Moore||8||+2||When Kendrick Perkins turns down playing in LA for Doc Rivers, you know things aren't ideal. Despite recent success, I'm concerned about their consistency.|
|Yahoo!||Marc Spears||6||+5||Keep an eye on Austin Rivers, son of coach Doc Rivers, who scored a career-high 28 points in a win over Sacramento on Saturday.|
|NBA.com||David Aldridge||7||+2||One thing that continues to intrigue about the Clippers, despite their inconsistent play: L.A. is a conference-best 24-8 (.750) against Western Conference opponents so far this season.|
|NBA.com||John Schuhmann||6||+2||Despite DeAndre Jordan's issues at the free-throw line, the Clippers have scored over 113 points per 100 possessions over their five games without Blake Griffin. Don't credit new starter Spencer Hawes, though. In the five games, the Clippers are a minus-39 in 122 minutes with Hawes on the floor and a plus-79 in 118 minutes with him on the bench.|
|Sports Illustrated||Matt Dollinger||6||+5||The Clippers have won four straight despite Blake Griffin’s absence and West rivals attempting the Hack-A-Shaq strategy against DeAndre Jordan. L.A. notched victories over San Antonio and Houston despite Jordan shooting 10-of-28 and 12-of-26 from the stripe, respectively.|
|Pro Basketball Talk||Kurt Helin||5||+5||Winners of four in a row despite Blake Griffin being on the sideline. They are doing most of their damage on the offensive end, in part thanks to aggressive play from DeAndre Jordan (well, except when he goes to the free throw line).|
|USA Today||Conglomerate||7||+3||Blake Griffin's injury is going to ensure DeAndre Jordan gets max money this summer.|
|/r/nba||Conglomerate||8||+3||So the bottom didn't quite drop out after all, huh? Even without Blake Griffin, the Clippers have performed admirably against a continuingly elite gauntlet of competition. The schedule doesn't let up anytime soon, though — from now until March 15 the Clippers play 9 games against contending teams, along with a pair of SEGABABAs with spunky Minnesota. Not counting the Wolves, the Clippers' SOS over this stretch is a jaw-dropping .679, meaning the teams they'll be playing have an average record of 37-17. This shouldn't be a big deal though for one of the only two NBA teams to go undefeated over the last two weeks; Los Angeles also piled up a league-leading 15.8 net rating over that time period. Bring on the flip flops!|
|Margin of Victory||+6.38||2nd|
|Simple Rating System||6.60||2nd|
|Strength of Schedule||.511||5th|
A recent string of victories (including decisive wins against Dallas, Houston, and Sacramento) helped push the Clippers back into the upper echelon by most metrics, where they're second only (of course) to the Golden State Warriors. Despite what pundits and haters have been saying recently about the team, differential stats still imply that Los Angeles is right up there with the consensus contenders. With their dominant offense and middling defense, their statistical profile resembles the Suns of the latter half of last decade (although the pace this year doesn't measure up to that at all).
Games against Memphis, Houston, Memphis (again!), and Chicago over the next few days — with only the first at home — will continue to challenge the Clippers as they attempt to face the remainder of their gauntlet of a schedule, sans Blake Griffin.