There is always much debate across the country about the NBA & the unbalanced conferences that are the East & West. The East contains the 2-time defending champion Miami Heat, who have represented the East in the last three NBA Finals. The Indian Pacers, who at this point of the season faltering at the wrong time, 3-7 in their last 10, including a bad blowout los to the San Antonio Spurs 103-77 at HOME. The Chicago Bulls, led by a gang of lunch-pale carrying, blue-collar hustling, almost 2004 Piston-esq, role players willing to pound the paint, not worried about fame or credit. And of course the Brooklyn Nets… Yea Brooklyn, should be fun if they get Chicago in round one. But the Western Conference, they are LOADED, & primed to return the Larry O’Brien into the grasp.
The West as of Sunday, April 6, has all nine teams vying for the playoffs at least 14 games above .500. Dallas is the 7-seed with a 46-31 record, Memphis is the 8th-seed at 45-31, & Phoenix is outside looking in at 45-31 (The East has 2, Indy & Miami). The ageless, often criticized San Antonio Spurs own the leagues best record at 59-17. The Oklahoma City Thunder, led by Kevin Durant’s remarkable MJ-tying, scoring bonanza now at 40 straight games of 25+ points, are trying to get over “the hump”. The Houston Rockets are scary fast & have a huge beard. The Portland Trailblazers have a future great guard in Damion Lillard & double-double machine LaMarcus Aldridge. Golden State has the “Splash Brothers” Klay Thompson & Steph Curry… But the Los Angeles Clippers have the speed, size, & roster built for success & ready to punch their tickets to The Finals.
The Clippers feature a roster loaded with athleticism. DeAndre Jordan wants to be Bill Russell (I’m not claiming he is, but he wants to be & that’s a good thing) leading the league in rebounds with 13.8 per game & 3rd in blocks per game with 2.4. Chris Paul is the most important player in any game… He dictates pace, averages a double-double per game (10.8 ast & 18.9 pts), shoots the rock at 46%, and is an animal defensively. JJ Redick, although he’s been plagued by injury this season & has only played in 31 games is shooting 39.4% from behind the arc. Jamal Crawford aka J-Crossover is dropping almost 19 per game OFF THE BENCH. Darren Collison, the back-up point guard is scoring effectively with 11.4/game & he’s as quick as lighting. And they have #32 in the red, white, & blue.
Blake Griffin, if not for LeBron & Durant, would be this years MVP. He has to be in the mix for most improved, he is shooting the ball amazingly well. Bob Thate, Blake’s shooting coach, has him at 53% from the field this year. In the past BG’s biggest criticism was that all he could do is dunk, not anymore…Blake spent all off-season working on his jumper & it’s scary good. His mid-range, wing, Tim-Duncan, 15-footer off glass is consistent. His Elbow J is silky & his Free Throw% is now 71%, up 19% from the 2011-2012 season.
With the depth of this team & a championship coach in Doc Rivers, I love the Clippers & you should too!