Los Angeles Clippers
(40-26, 2nd Pacific Division, 5th Seed Western Conference)
The Clippers put up a valiant effort in game four to try to stay alive against the San Antonio Spurs, but it wasn’t enough. Actually anything they did that series wasn’t enough as they got swept away by the Spurs in four games. But how did the Clippers make it to the second round of the playoffs for only the third time?
Looking back at the Clippers season, they picked up Chris Paul and expectations were set high that this team could challenge the other LA team for supremacy. I think it will take years for that to actually happen, but people in LA were excited for this team.
They had good reason to be as the Clippers started off strong in the month of December and January finishing up with a 12-6 record that included some three game winning streaks. One of those streaks included beating Miami Heat and the Lakers back to back.
8-6 was their record for the month of February as things got tougher to move along. March comes along and still things don’t get much easier. They lose a couple of games to playoff teams in Oklahoma City and Indiana.
I was personally at the Indiana game, and this Clippers team looked very outmatched and I was questioning how good this team was. Blake Griffin looked to get less and less physical as guys on the Pacers got more physical with him. Chris Paul finished high in MVP voting, but I didn’t think he did much damage that night.
But the Clippers did finish up the month of March on a 5 game winning streak that included a win against the Memphis Grizzlies, who they would face in the playoffs. 9-5 record in April put the Clippers in position for a fifth seed in the Western Conference against Memphis.
The postseason hit and LA was ready for a match up with Memphis. Game one they would have to come back from 20some points down and win at Memphis to steal the game. They lost the second game of the series, then rattle off two wins, but lose two games to hit game seven.
All the momentum could have been with Memphis, but the Clippers took care of the Grizzlies at Memphis, and would face the San Antonio Spurs team. This same Spurs team that just swept the Utah Jazz.
The Spurs didn’t waste any time with the Clippers as they won four straight games, and three of those wins were by double digits. Still good progress for this Clippers team that’s usually at the bottom of the Western Conference. They probably need a couple more pieces around Blake Griffin and Chris Paul to challenge in the Western Conference, and who knows when people might start overlooking them over the Lakers. I don’t think that’s happening anytime soon with all the success the Lakers have had and will continue to have.