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Power Rankings Watch: Where Are the Clippers Ranked After Seven Weeks?

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The 15-7 Clippers are still atop the crowded Western Conference standings after a 2-1 week. Let’s see where they stand in the eyes of NBA media heading into December.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a frustrating four-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night, the Clippers still had a week above .500 to maintain their top spot (albeit now tied) in the Western Conference. At 16-7 (after their win against the Pelicans), the Clippers have won nine of their last twelve and are continuing to surprise people despite having the fourth hardest schedule in the NBA according to ESPN metrics.

The Clippers are still relying on an egalitarian approach to winning games this season, as they currently have five players averaging double figures in scoring. Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams are all getting 17+ points a night, while Montrezl Harrell has scored in double figures in all but three games this year. Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is shining as a starter (11-3 since moving into the role), averaging 10.6 points a game on 46.8 percent shooting. Avery Bradley has started to knock down shots as well and is still playing his normal bullish defense, as is Patrick Beverley.

Overall, the Clippers are humming along and playing great team ball. However, December will be their biggest test so far this season as, out of 14 games in the month, 10 opponents are at or above .500. This doesn’t include a home-and-away with the always tough San Antonio Spurs. Eight of these games are away as well. While the Clips are maintaining their surprise standing atop the West, they need to keep winning in December to not look like an early season fluke. Nearing the two month mark, let’s see what some members of the NBA media think about the Clippers play thus far.

ESPN

This week: 4th, Last week: 4th

Notes: The Clips’ four-game winning streak was blunted in the final minute Sunday night in Dallas, though they maintain a share of the top spot in the West with Denver. The starting lineup that features rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a healthy Avery Bradley in the backcourt, with Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari and Marcin Gortat, has posted a fat plus-30.1 points per 100 possessions. Among the 69 players who hoisted more than 100 attempts from beyond the arc this season, Gallinari ranks second in accuracy at 46.8 percent, behind only Stephen Curry.

NBA.com

This week: 3rd, Last week: 2nd

Notes: The Clippers’ fourth-ranked offense had its worst game since October on Sunday, scoring just 110 points on 106 possessions in Dallas, despite Lou Williams ending a string of 12 straight games in which he made less than half his shots. Williams’ effective field goal percentage of 43.5 percent is a career low, but he hasn’t needed to carry the offense as much as he did last season, when the Clips were almost 13 points per 100 possessions better offensively with him on the floor than they were with him off the floor. Danilo Gallinari (28 points on just 10 shots against Phoenix on Wednesday) and Tobias Harris (28 points on 17 shots in Sacramento on Friday) both had big games last week and Montrezl Harrell has been more efficient in almost nine more minutes per game than he played last season. The Clips rank 28th in the percentage of their shots that have come from 3-point range, but Williams, Gallinari and Harrell all rank in the top 12 in made free throws per 36 minutes and Harrell ranks second in points in the paint per 36.

Sports Illustrated

This week: 4th, Last week: 4th

Notes: Doc Rivers and his squad are still at the top of the West. However, Sunday’s loss to the Mavericks knocked the Clippers out of sole possession of the lead, and the schedule is going to get a bit rougher over the next few weeks. Tobias Harris is going to need to step up during this upcoming stretch and move past his 5-of-18 shooting performance in Dallas. He’s been playing at an All-Star level, but with all the big names out West it will be hard to see him getting the bid.

CBS Sports

This week: 8th, Last week: 9th

Notes: “If you’re looking for a single key why the Clippers have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA, it’s Montrezl Harrell. He’s been an absolute beast, averaging 16.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. I like him off the bench, but at what point will Doc Rivers start him and play him more than 26 minutes per game?”

Bleacher Report

This week: 5th, Last week: 10th

Notes: Anyone who’s watched the Los Angeles Clippers this year already knows, but it’s probably time a national audience got a sense of what Tobias Harris has been up to.

Harris scored a career-high 34 points against Portland and, according to ESPN’s Kirk Goldsberry, the 26-year-old forward has the highest effective field-goal percentage of anyone with at least 300 field-goal attempts.

The Clippers still get things done by committee, though, as they proved in Wednesday’s 115-99 victory against the Suns. Danilo Gallinari led the way with 28 points, but five other Clippers chipped in with at least a dozen points.

L.A. has won nine of its last 10 games and can claim victories over the Warriors, Bucks, Grizzlies, Thunder, Rockets (twice) and Blazers on the year. The longer this improbable success story goes on, the harder it’ll be to question its legitimacy.

A quarter of the way through the season, the Clips look like a 50-win team.

Hoops Habit

This week: 4th, Last week: 4th

Notes: “Even with a surprising loss to the Luka Doncic-less Mavs that halted their four-game win streak, the Los Angeles Clippers have won nine of their last 11 contests and still sit proudly — and shockingly — tied for the best record in the Western Conference.

The difference may be Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who may not be putting up Rookie of the Year-caliber numbers, but looks like the real deal. Since he took over the starting job, the Clippers are 10-3, with the NBA’s fourth-best offense.”

Editor’s Note: These rankings came out Sunday evening or Monday morning, and therefore do not take into account the Clippers’ win over the Pelicans last night.