Why LA Clippers Are and Aren't Title Contenders

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Why LA Clippers Are and Aren't Title Contenders
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With just 15 games left in the season, it's pretty amazing that we still don't know for sure if the L.A. Clippers are NBA title contenders.

Yes, Chris Paul and Co. reeled off a 17-game winning streak in December, but they've also endured a pair of four-game losing skids and have played .500 ball in the month of March. And after an ugly 93-80 win over the woefully depleted New York Knicks Sunday afternoon, the Clips don't exactly look like world-beaters at the moment.

But the overall credentials are impressive: 46 wins, a stranglehold on the Pacific Division and the fourth-best per-game point differential in the NBA all point to the Clippers being an elite team.

The difference between being "elite" and contending for a Larry O'Brien Trophy, though, is significant. A title contender is a team that wouldn't surprise the basketball world by winning it all. At present, the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder seem like the only clubs that easily fit that description.

L.A. is close, but it might not be there yet.

As the Clippers head down the stretch, it's worth dissecting the arguments for and against their status as true title contenders.

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