When you give someone as athletic and big like DeAndre Jordan so many open looks next to the rim, there’s no reason he shouldn’t finish with a double double, despite his limited offensive and general basketball abilities, helping the Los Angeles Clippers, setting a new franchise record for wins in a regular season, reaching that magical 50 number for the first time ever.
The celebrations were put off by a stupid Ryan Hollins who decided to try and decapitate Goran Dragic, in a scene even Clippers players failed to comprehend or defend their teammate, who probably earned himself a long suspension, followed by not playing too much once he returns. Not that he spent too much time on the court as is with 10.5 minutes a game.
But back to business, after three consecutive losses, the Clippers needed a team like the Phoenix Suns, with nothing to play for, so they can get back on track. The Clippers can’t finish below the 4th position in the West, but at the moment their record is worse than the fifth seed, the Memphis Grizzlies, meaning that their division title isn’t going to help them get home court advantage if they don’t put together a nice little winning streak, along with improved defense that’s been a big problem of late.
And it wasn’t that great against the Suns, winning 126-101, allowing 31 points in the second quarter, when the game still meant something before putting it to bed in the third. DeAndre Jordan was too free all the time, getting himself into a few highlight reels with alley-oop after big dunk, while Chris Paul (15 points, 12 assists) set the tone and the pace of the game.
When Chris Paul arrived, he talked about changing the expectations and achievements of the franchise. He seems to be going in the right direction, although the second half of the season has taught us that there’s something missing. Paul missed quite a few games, while the Clippers’ focus on defense has deteriorated. Blake Griffin talked about how this team feels it should have been a 60-win team this season. It sure felt that way during that 17-game winning streak. The Clippers are hoping that whatever worked then wasn’t just coincidence, but is something they just need to find again and tap into, and make this their best postseason ever.