How impressive was the 17 game winning streak by the Los Angeles Clippers? Maybe it wasn’t that great. Yes, it showed that the Clippers don’t have a real style that can hurt them or they’re limited too and it did show a special amount of depth in their roster. On the other hand, their opponents weren’t that impressive.
Their opponents during the 17 game winning streak have a combined record of 164-234, meaning 41.2% win ratio, which isn’t good enough for the postseason in the East. Their best opponent during the streak were the Chicago Bulls, who are three games above .500 this season. That being said, earlier this year the Clippers have beaten the Grizzlies, the Spurs, the Hawks and the Heat, so their 25-7 record, second best in the West, isn’t only a case of a weak schedule.
Not having a unique style isn’t necessarily a minus for your team. The Clippers can play grind-it-out kind basketball against tough-as-nails teams, as few as the NBA actually has. They have no problem playing fast basketball and run and gun, or half court offense which just highlights the fact that they have the best point guard in the NBA. As impressive as their bench has been, with Matt Barnes, Jamal Crawford, Eric Bledsoe and a back-to-life Lamar Odom, they are still waiting for Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups to return. Things can actually get better for this team.
We’ll know more about what this loss meant through the next three games – two against the Warriors and one against the Lakers. In Denver, where the Clippers lost 92-78, it looked simply like the fatigue and the crazy month of December finally catching up with a team that couldn’t stop winning, mostly by impressive margins.
The Clippers went 9-46 (19.6%) on their shots from 15 feet and beyond, heir worst field goal percentage from that distance this season. During their 17-game win streak they shot 36.7 percent from 15 feet and beyond. A team that often simply emulates the style of their opponents and does it better couldn’t keep up with the Denver Nuggets at Mile High, where they have won 8 games in a row. They were also a terrible 5-29 from beyond the arc, 17.2%.
We’ve got to be better than that. We’re not going to sit and cry on the plane and get beat down. We’re not going to cause ourselves to lose our confidence, despite what people want us to do. That’s the best thing about the NBA — you’ve got another game.
The streak was important as another piece of proof that the Clippers are a significant team in the NBA by now. Title contenders is an easy term to throw around this early in the season, but it’s not too far from that. Whether or not they’re as good as the streak might tell us, regardless of the quality of competition they faced while beating everyone up, winning 17 games back-to-back in the NBA is something that happens probably once every couple of seasons, usually to a team that goes far in the playoffs.
Chris Paul kept saying that regular season wins mean nothing when you look at the bigger picture. One loss after 17 wins is just a number, nothing more, most of the time. If the Clippers are really as good as they seem to be on some nights, it’ll stay just a number.