The Clippers may have lost 7 out of the last 9 games, but they’re still in a healthy spot.
There’s no way around it: the Clippers are slumping right now, and they’re slumping hard. However, that doesn’t mean the ship has completely sunk; there’s no need for tanking talk. There are a plethora of reasons why fans should be disappointed with the team’s recent performance, but there are another handful of reasons why those same fans shouldn’t be worried.
The Team Already Over-accomplished
Nobody expected the Clippers to be the #1 team in the Western Conference twenty games into the season, not even the most devout Clipper fans. Given how grueling the team’s first twenty games were, just going .500 would have exceeded expectations. Clamp City was never going to be the best team in the Western Conference, it just wasn’t sustainable. They were, however, going to be the hardest working team in the league, and that’s exactly what LA did. The advantage of over-performing is that it gave the Clippers some leeway for when they started struggling, which was inevitable. The beauty of the situation is that despite the struggles, the Clippers are still the sixth seed. Yes, they’re one game out of the 8th spot, but they’re also 2.5 games out of the 3rd spot. What matters the most is that they’re in contention, which most analysts already didn’t expect. This time last year they weren’t anywhere near contention.
Compare the Situation to Last Year
The Clippers are currently 17-13, but on this date last year they were a horrific 11-18. To go further into detail, the team was 12-18 thirty games into the season. If you want to go even further, the team already had 19 losses before getting 17 wins last season; they didn’t reach 18 wins until Jan. 2. LA managed to finish 42-40 despite the ugly start last year, so with that perspective in mind, they’re in a very healthy spot right now.
The Clippers are Losing to Good Teams
Other than the lone loss against the Miami Heat, the Clippers have been losing against quality teams. Every single team they’ve lost against is a playoff contending team: DAL, MEM, TOR, SAS, OKC, and POR. There’s no shame in getting defeated by any of the teams on that list. One thing to always remember is that there are games you ‘should have won’, and games you ‘could have won’. You could easily argue that the Clippers ‘should have won’ only 3 of those 7 games, with the rest of games being ones they ‘could have won.’
15 out of the next 18 games will be at home for the LA Clippers, and that’s where they’ll look to re-group. These games will be critical for Clamp City. All it takes is a couple of wins and an energetic home crowd to galvanize a team. With that energy, the Clipper ship will sail once more.