The Clippers may have ended 2018 on a loss, but there is still one big thing to be happy about as the team enters 2019.
No matter who you ask, nobody expected the Clippers to finish 2018 with a 21-15 record. It’s a record good enough to be the 4th seed in the Western Conference, ahead of even the supposed powerhouses like the Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers. The wins have come against some of the top teams in the league too, like Golden State and Milwaukee. To put that into perspective, a team without a single All-Star has a better record than teams with: James Harden (HOU), Chris Paul (HOU), LeBron James (LAL), Damian Lillard (POR), DeMar DeRozan (SAS), Anthony Davis (NO), and Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN).
While the team has played some very bad basketball in the month of December, they’re ultimately capable of playing great basketball. That fact is something the Clipper players take with them as they enter the new year.
“We’re in a good spot,” Lou Williams said. “The west is a heavy conference. There are teams that are over .500 that aren’t in the playoff picture. We’re 5 or 6 games over .500, we’re playing pretty good basketball and right in the mix of everything. So we feel pretty good about where we are.”
Just having a good record isn’t enough for the team though, as they know they have to push harder.
“2018 was very positive,” Danilo Gallinari said. “There have been a lot of good things, and we have a very good record. Hopefully we can push more and have a great second part of the season.”
No singular player embodies that grind more than Montrezl Harrell. Harrell is without a doubt the heart and soul of the Clippers. The enthusiasm he brings off the bench positively affects the entire team, as he fights for every single loose ball. His play on the court perfectly matches the statement he had for his 2019 hopes.
“We just gotta keep getting better man, we just gotta keep grinding as a team,” Harrell said. “We gotta playing and competing, we gotta keep playing our style of basketball. We’re just a team that keeps competing, keeps fighting, keeps grinding, and keeps finding ways to win.”
No matter what happens in 2019, this season is already a win for the LA Clippers. They’ve proven themselves to be a destination, and they have max cap space and young players worth being excited for. The team is on pace to make the playoffs, and actually making it would be icing on the cake for this season.