The Clippers love rock fights. In what has been a trend since the Lob City era ended, LA loves to scrap and fight to win against teams they should be beating. On the flipside, they usually play up to the challenge against tougher teams. I mean, just look at the Warriors playoff series from last season. We are 13 games into the season and still haven’t seen the pairing of Kawhi-PG, which explains a lot of the slugfests that have taken place and the lack of blowouts. The Clips are 9-5, but probably should have a better record based on some absolute flops and load management. This team has been a very interesting watch thus far, continuing LA’s trends of giving their fans heart palpitations in close games. This past week was no different.
The week started on a high with a ten point win over Kawhi’s former team, the Toronto Raptors. The margin of victory doesn’t do this game justice, as it was a back and forth affair the whole time. The Clips ended up holding the Raps to a 10 point fourth quarter to scrape by. After this were two losses that were majorly avoidable. The Rockets were helped by bad officiating and even worse shooting by the Clips en route to a 102-93 victory — and then a game against the Pelicans that is probably better to not be spoken of. Everyone on the Pelicans decided to stop playing like one of the worst teams in the league, buoyed by a Clippers defense that had more holes than your grandfathers socks and, again, no Kawhi. The Clips regrouped and went on decimate a Hawks team that hasn’t looked the same after the John Collins drug suspension, delivering a true beat down that was needed after the fluctuations earlier in the week.
The Clippers again have a busy, and frankly brutal week coming up. They barely scraped by OKC on Monday, with some PG heroics in a game that should never have been that close. Now they have to face the league-topping Boston Celtics Wednesday, the Rockets again Friday, then the Pelicans again Sunday. None of these are games to be taken lightly, and who knows, with Kawhi’s resting/injury schedule — the Clips could find themselves in some more holes. Let’s hope not.
Let’s see where NBA media members place the Clippers after week three.
This week: 5, Last week: 2
Notes: “So, Paul George is back -- like, back. In two games, he has scored 70 points in 44 minutes. As George said after his 37 in 20 minutes against the Hawks, he has new shoulders and hasn’t been this healthy in some time. He came back with such force that it overshadowed what was otherwise a pretty bad loss to the Pelicans in his debut. But we’re still waiting on George and Kawhi Leonard to take the floor together, and you can see the potential two-way destruction coming with it.”
This week: 4, Last week: 3
Notes: “Paul George is back and, if his first two games are any indication, better than ever. He totaled 70 points in only 44 minutes spread across Thursday’s loss in New Orleans and Saturday’s 49-point bludgeoning of the Hawks.
Unfortunately for the Clippers, George’s return coincides with Kawhi Leonard missing a pair of games because of a left knee contusion. When Leonard sits one leg of a back-to-back, it’s one thing. But missing consecutive contests might be cause for a bit more concern—especially with Landry Shamet also on the shelf with a sprained ankle.
Few teams came into the season with more depth than the Clips, so disaster is hardly imminent. Still, L.A. just had its first two-loss ranking session of the season and isn’t particularly healthy at the moment. A slight drop feels warranted.”
This week: 6, Last week: 7
Notes: “Kawhi Leonard (left knee contusion) has sat out four of the Clippers last nine games and is listed as questionable for Monday’s matchup vs. the Thunder. Fortunately for LA, Paul George has looked fresh and is humming offensively. PG-13 is currently averaging 57.3 points on 27.8 FG attempts per-36 minutes this season. The question is when will we see these two studs on the floor at the same time.”
This week: 9, Last week: 5
Notes: “Kawhi Leonard led the Clippers to a win over his former Raptors, but then they followed that up with back-to-back losses to the Rockets and Pelicans. The good news is that Paul George looked phenomenal in his first two games back from injury, including scoring 37 points in 20 minutes in a 49-point win over the Hawks on Saturday. Leonard missed Saturday’s game, which was not part of a back-to-back set, so that could be cause for concern, but once he and George get on the court together we’ll have a better idea of this team’s true ceiling.”
This week: 7, Last week: 5
Notes: “Paul George was dominant in his first two games as a Clipper, scoring 70 points (on an effective field goal percentage of 72% and a perfect 21-for-21 from the line) in just 44 minutes. But the Clippers got more banged up before they got healthier, losing Landry Shamet, Patrick Beverley and Kawhi Leonard to injuries last week. George’s debut was their worst defensive game of the season, but they had more than enough against the Hawks on Saturday and are 7-1 at home, where they’ve been 17.4 points per 100 possessions better defensively than they’ve been on the road. The Clippers have four games to go on their current homestand, Leonard (knee contusion) is day-to-day, and they don’t have a back-to-back this week, so we should see the two stars in the same lineup for the first time in the next few days.”
This week: 5, Last week: 3
Notes: “Montrezl Harrell is posting a career-best 18.2 points per game, and it’s not hard to see why: there are few more effective roll men in basketball. Harrell is averaging 1.32 points per roll possession, the third-best mark among the 29 players with at least 30 roll possessions. Just three players have a better field goal percentage as a roller, and Aron Baynes and Bam Adebayo are the only players who score at a higher rate as a roll man. Not a bad rate for a 6’7” center.”