Despite a recent 96-91 loss to the division-rival Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers are still atop the Pacific Division. So far this season, the Clips have proven that they can compete with the best teams in the NBA.
Los Angeles has mounted big wins over the Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers already this season. They are about to go through a stretch in which they will play the Memphis Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz. The Clippers can prove through the next week that they are among the best teams in the league.
As for the Pacific Division, it seems that the Clippers' only competition are the city-rival Lakers. The three other teams in the Pacific are currently well under a .500 winning percentage and have not looked good so far this season.
The weak competition in the division will definitely help the Clippers make their way to a division title and playoff berth. The Lakers are a stiff opponent, but the Clips have already proven that they can hang with the Lakers and beat them.
A key factor to winning the Pacific will be for the Clippers to get better on the road. In 2012, Los Angeles has an overall record of 9-6, but they are only 1-4 away. The Clippers have a great home record of 8-2 this season, but they will need to learn to win on the road if they expect to take the division.
However, the Clippers have the talent and coaching to win the Pacific Division in 2012.
Los Angeles has yet to play with all of their players healthy and in the game. They just got back All-Star point guard Chris Paul, but they still do not have Eric Bledsoe at full strength.
The Clippers currently have stars on the court with Paul and Blake Griffin, but they also have great role players in Chauncey Billups, Mo Williams, Caron Butler, DeAndre Jordan, Reggie Evans and Randy Foye.
This lineup is also under the instruction of a pretty good coach in Vinny Del Negro. Del Negro typically has his team in a good position to win the game, and that is exactly what he has done this season.
The Clippers have a good way to go before they can be considered one of the best teams in the league, but they are well on their way. I expect to see this team gel together in the coming weeks and months, which could lead to a very dangerous Clippers team come postseason time.
The year 2012 will be a memorable one for the Clippers because it will entail their first division title in franchise history.