The Clippers, in many ways, are late bloomers.
It was only after 50 seasons that the Clippers reached the Western Conference Finals, for instance. As for the tale of this year’s squad, it’s after a couple of months that this team is playing its best basketball. Better late than never, right?
When: Sunday, March 6 at 7 p.m. PT
Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
How to watch/listen: ESPN, BSSC, MSG / KLAC/KWKW-LACWEPN (RADIO)
Opposing perspective: Posting and Toasting
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, Ivica Zubac
Knicks: Evan Fournier, Alec Burks, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson
Clippers: Norman Powell, Jay Scrubb, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Jason Preston — OUT
Knicks: Quentin Grimes, Derrick Rose, Luke Samanic, Obi Toppin, Kemba Walker — OUT
The Clippers started their season with one of the league’s most stagnant offenses, putting up just 102.8 points in their first five games. But just a month later, the team started to gain more traction: they averaged three more points and shot an improved 45.3 percent from the field and 36.2 percent from behind the arc (they shot just 42 and 31.7 percent in October).
They brought in the same energy and grit into the new year. Conquering what seemed like a Herculean 8-game road trip, the Clippers made a name for themselves in the league. Dubbed the ‘Comeback Clippers,’ the Clippers came back from as many as 35 and showed the type of team they could be even without its best players.
Two games into March, they might be playing their best basketball. Admittedly, my statement is pretty premature — they’ve played just two games thus far, after all. Still, join me in admiring the numbers the team has produced in their last couple of games.
122.5 points on a 49.2 percent FG percentage and 51.7 percent three-point shooting, 91 percent from the line, 50.5 rebounds, and 28 assists. These numbers, even as averages from only two games, are impressive especially for a team with one of the league’s worst offensive ratings.
Now, these numbers undoubtedly will drop as the Clips move through their March schedule. But these last two big-scoring nights, alongside their five-game winning streak, could be the fire that guides them through the month and, hopefully, ignites something even bigger.
Their next quest? The New York Knicks.
Close to 3,000 miles from Los Angeles, New York and the Knicks have had quite the opposite season as the Clippers. That is, the New York team started its year a 5-1 record, gaining attention around the league as a solid team in contention for one of the middle seeds in the East.
The excitement around Scott Perry’s team, however, was short-lived. They suffered losing streak after losing streak and now stand with 25 wins and 38 losses in the season. And a Cameron Johnson buzzer-beater ticked the seventh strike in their current losing streak.
The excitement from a season-sweeping blow-out win in an L.A. duel and despair from a disheartening last-second loss will surround the city of angels as the Clippers make their final push.
This post will serve as the game thread. Enjoy the game, and comment below.