It was a great week for the Clippers, as they went 4-0 and are now only one game back of the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
They picked up a nine-point win over the Hawks, a 33-point win and 13-point win over the Spurs and a very impressive 10-point victory over the 76ers. LA has now won five games in a row and is playing some of the best basketball the team has played all season.
The latest power rankings came out today, so where do outlets have the Clips ranked during their winning streak? Let’s take a look.
This week: 2nd | Last week: 4th
One sentence to sum up the trade deadline for this team: While I don’t know if Playoff Rondo is going to make an appearance for the LA Clippers, the organization is hoping his veteran leadership and influence can help this team maximize its potential and avoid the meltdown so many people are expecting them to have at some point.
Why are they ranked here? Dominant week by the Clippers helps them kick off a nine-game homestand in which we could really see them start challenging Utah for the top spot in the West. The Clippers are within shouting distance of having a top-10 defense in the NBA, and their offense isn’t that far from catching Brooklyn for best in the league.
This week: 5th | Last week: 6th
The Clippers had their best week of the season — one that could determine how far they go in the playoffs. They halted the surging Hawks, swept two at San Antonio and spoiled Doc Rivers’ return by beating Philadelphia to extend their winning streak to five. But the Clippers made a critical move by trading Lou Williams for Rajon Rondo and cleared two roster spots for possible key buyout additions by trading Mfiondu Kabengele. The Clippers hope Rondo addresses their greatest needs with leadership, basketball IQ and a championship-experienced point guard who can take the playmaking load off Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Terance Mann also has emerged as a key role player, averaging 15.2 points and 8.0 rebounds this past week.
This week: 4th | Last week: 6th
It was a perfect 4-0 week for the Clippers, and they finally traded Lou Williams after months of speculation. They picked up Rajon Rondo in exchange, and the Clippers are clearly banking on “Playoff Rondo” to make yet another appearance to exorcise the franchise’s postseason demons. The move also potentially opens up more opportunity for Luke Kennard on the second unit, though Terance Mann has made it hard for Tyronn Lue to keep him off the court.
This week: 3rd | Last week: 7th
After a month-long, 5-8 slog, the Clippers have suddenly won five straight games, with the highlight being a Luke Kennard breakout (20 points on a perfect 8-for-8 shooting) and a second-half comeback from 22 points down against the Hawks on Monday. All five wins have come against teams – Charlotte, Atlanta, San Antonio (x2) and Philadelphia – that have otherwise been playing well. Patrick Beverley and Serge Ibaka remain out and Paul George (40% from the field, 31% from 3-point range over his last 13 games) is still struggling with his shot. But George has averaged 6.8 assists over the winning streak, Terance Mann (15.4 points per game) has had the best stretch of his career, and the Clippers have been getting to the rim (32% of their shots coming in the restricted area) a lot more than they were prior (24%).
Kawhi Leonard missed the second of the Clips’ two wins in San Antonio. But his 20 restricted-area buckets over his last five games (starting with the Clips’ loss in Dallas on Mar. 17) are his high for any five-game stretch since last January. He also seems to have turned up the intensity defensively, averaging a league-high 3.0 steals since the All-Star break, with five against his former team on Wednesday.
With their win over the Sixers on Saturday (in which they scored almost 20 more points per 100 possessions than Philly had allowed in any game since the All-Star break), the Clips are 6-5 in games played between the top nine teams in the league (those over .600). They have 10 more games against that group, with five more to come on this nine-game homestand.