The Clippers had their first undefeated week of the season and actually looked pretty dominant doing so. After one month together, it seems fair to say that the team’s flow offense and ball movement is for real; that lethal offense has made it possible for the group to hide its less-than-stellar defense.
For now, the Clippers are racking wins up, and an easy portion of the schedule will give them time to work through their issues on the defensive end of the floor. This latest stretch puts them back in the contender tier.
This week: 2nd | Last week: 2nd
Paul George declared he had no choice but to come back “with vengeance” from last postseason’s debacle. And he continued his torrid shooting start, punctuating it with a forceful dunk in a dominant victory over his former Pacers team on Sunday. Kawhi Leonard looks stronger and more explosive with each game. The two stars helped the Clippers go 4-0 this past week despite Lou Williams missing two games and Patrick Beverley and Serge Ibaka out for one game each. And Ty Lue’s team still hasn’t reached full potential.
This week: 3rd | Last week: 6th
The Clippers are on fi-yah, having shot better than 50% from 3-point range over their four-game winning streak. Six different Clips have made at least six 3-pointers and 71 of their 75 3-pointers have been assisted over the four games, with Paul George accounting for all four of the unassisted bombs. George is now 53-for-104 (51%) from beyond the arc for the season, and it’s not like he’s some specialist getting open looks when his playmaking teammates bend the defense. He’s shooting 48% on more than three pull-up 3-point attempts per game, while also draining some difficult shots inside the arc.
This week: 2nd | Last week: 9th
After winning a closer-than-expected matchup against the depleted Pelicans on Wednesday, the Clippers obliterated the Kings and Pacers by 30-plus points to close out the week. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard each averaged over 24 points per game this week, while Marcus Morris and Luke Kennard have bolstered the Clippers bench. Kennard thrived in two games as the primary reserve ball-handler with Lou Williams sidelined, averaging 17 points on blistering 7-for-10 3-point shooting, perhaps strengthening the case for an eventual Williams trade.
This week: 3rd | Last week: 5th
Ball movement from the two stars. The Clippers’ Ty Lue era is already paying dividends on the offensive side of the court. Obviously, this collection of talent is going to be able to outscore opponents most nights, but the way they’re doing it looks so much better than the disjointed success we saw from this team a year ago. We’re seeing the Clippers go from 24th in the NBA in percentage of field goals assisted to 14th this season. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both averaging a career-high in assists per game. This thing just looks a lot more fluid right now, and that’s what they need to feel after last season.