How the Clippers Can Be More Than a Regular Season Team?
The Los Angeles Clippers have the longest winning streak in the NBA with 9 straight games. All but one win without Blake Griffin,who’s out because of injury. Whoopty damn doo. Sorry for my negative vibe, but I have been down on the Clippers since they gave up the Western Conference Semifinals series to the Houston Rockets last year. They were up 3-1 in the series, then 3-2 with Game 6 in their backyard. Up 20 something points in Game 6, they coughed up (not choked because I am being nice) the game and eventually lost the series 4-3. Oh yeah, did I mention they also coughed up a couple games to the Golden State Warriors this year, which contributed to the Warriors record start so far. Different owner, different players, but same old cursed Clippers. It's like a broken song, the Clippers usually have a great winning streak in a season, great record and then end up losing in the first or second round. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have never reached the Western Conference Finals.They had their big opportunity last year butttttttt again, they folded, point, blank, period. This team will always be judged by what they do in the playoffs, so the regular season doesn't really matter anymore.
So can this year be any different in the playoffs?? They are probably the 4th best team in the Western Conference behind Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder. Last year's excuse was, their bench was thin and not deep. Well, this year they acquired future hall of famer Paul " the Truth" Pierce, Lance (blow in your ear) Stephenson, Josh Smith (who shouldn't have left Houston), veterans Wesley Johnson, Pablo Prigioni, Luc Mbah a Moute and Cole Aldrich. Along with Jamal " J-Cross" Crawford and Austin " Coach's Son" Rivers, we shouldn't be hearing anymore excuses of why this talented team can't get to the Western Conference Finals. The inside joke is the only way the Clippers get past the second round of the playoffs is through their commercials. The pressure is on coach Doc Rivers to take this team to the promised land. Unfortunately, they will never be Los Angeles’ team unless they get to the NBA Finals and win a championship. Until then, the Clippers will always be number two behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
As a solutions orientated person here are a five things that the Los Angeles Clippers might want to work heading to this year's playoffs and be successful.
1. Chris Paul has to turn into CP3 and be more aggressive. Last year against the Spurs, he was just that, carrying the team on shear will (injured) and the main reason the Clippers won in a 7 game thriller of a series. CP3 made clutch buckets after clutch buckets to pull away from San Antonio. In the series against the Rockets, however, he wasn't aggressive enough, hampered by injury (missing the first two games of the series) and that is why Houston came back and won the series. We need to see an aggressive and healthy CP3 in this year's playoffs.
2. Will somebody tell Blake Griffin to work on his post up game instead of his jump shot and dribbling?? Blake is super talented, but what he fails to realize is that in the playoffs, the game is a half-court game and there isn't too much running, gunning and dunking. It's mostly offensive sets and the book is out on the Clippers. If you slow them down and force them to play in a half-court, they will struggle. Griffin has to work on getting better positioning on the block and not posting up on the wing. He also needs to work on a jump hook or turnaround jumper. If he does, CP3 and others would be able to just drop the ball to him on the block in crunch time and let Blake go to work and dominate.
3. Aight DeAndre Jordan, can we start making 50 percent of our free-throws?? Nobody is asking for a miracle, but 50 percent can be achieved. Maybe do what Tristan Thompson did and switch to right handed shooting or go under hand like Rick Barry. Jordan has become the poster boy of the Hack-A-Shaq (but at least Shaq hit his free throws when they counted). DeAndre is a liability out there if he continues to shoot less than 50 percent at the foul line. And if that continues, Doc Rivers has no choice but to sub him out. If he gets subbed out, then that means the Clippers lose a great defender/rim protector and the other teams will take advantage of it. So DeAndre Jordan, lock yourself in a gym until the playoffs and shoot 1000 free-throws per day. Like KG said " Anything's possssiiiiibbbllleeeeeeeeee".
4. The Clippers need to leave the NBA refs alone. They seem to complain about every call. Even if they foul the other team, the Clippers always have something to say to the refs. Referees are human beings as well, so when the Clippers complain, the refs will usually blow the whistle against them to shut them up. And this also takes the Clippers out of their game. Instead of focusing on just their opponent, they are focusing on the refs as well and there is no way of winning that battle. So please, stop talking to the refs, the fouls will even out at the end of the game, well most of the time. (Don't tell that to the 2002 Sacramento Kings)
5. Steve Ballmer, you are a way better owner than Donald Sterling. We love your enthusiasm, but please, stop dancing. It's probably bad luck or distracting your players from playing at their fullest potential. Just sit there and cheer for your team like a normal owner would do. Once the Clippers get to the Western Conference Finals, better yet NBA Finals, that's when you can bring out your dance moves.
*Photos courtesy of USA Today