When the Los Angeles Clippers lost Blake Griffin to a sprained MCL, all hope seemed lost for the team. With only DeAndre Jordan as a defining star, Los Angeles looked like it would be selling come the trade deadline. However, Griffin's back and the Clippers are only two games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Don't get me wrong; it'll be a two-team race in the Western Conference between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets when it's all said and done. However, the Clippers are in a position where they'll either have to go all in or trade it all, having won six of their last seven going into the OKC game on Thursday. After all, Jordan is two seasons away from being a free agent, which makes him a prime trade chip.
There are some benefactors befitting Los Angeles. One of them is playing in the weak Pacific Division. Aside from Golden State, every team, the Clippers include, is below .500. The Clippers can feast on division competition where they are currently 7-1.
Another benefactor that's helping the Clippers is the emergence of Lou Williams. Not only has Williams been good at distributing the ball on the floor, but he has become a red-hot shooter when needed. Williams is averaging 21.8 PPG, which is over eight points per game higher than his career PPG (13.2). Williams has been especially potent from beyond the arc, shooting .404 from the three-point line (his career 3-pt % is .350). Williams is also averaging .444 in the field goal percentage department along with a free throw percentage of .897, both higher than his career averages.
Can the Clippers overcome everything and better themselves for a better playoff position? The Clippers are four games out of the fifth spot in the Western Conference, so all hands will be on deck. Los Angeles will need Williams to continue his lights-out shooting and will need to stay healthy. They'll need to "clip" a few teams to better themselves in the playoff seeding.
Photo courtesy of Clipperholics.com
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