This is your daily reminder that the Los Angeles Clippers—who were so bad for so long their futility became Newton’s fourth law—are a very good basketball team and could be for the foreseeable future.
How good has their season been? History-making good, as a matter of fact.
With the Clips’ playoff seeding secure, it’ll be interesting to see whether head coach Doc Rivers opts to rest his players for the team’s final two games against the Denver Nuggets (lottery-bound) and Portland Trail Blazers who are closing in on the No. 5 seed.
Getting to 57 wins would certain give the team an extra jolt ahead of the playoffs, where L.A. is currently slated to take on the Golden State Warriors, with whom the Clippers have split their season series 2-2.
With a pair of losses over their last four games (to the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder—each at home), the Clips have hit a mini skid in the home stretch, adding further credence to the idea that winning out might be good for morale.
But that hasn’t stopped Doc Rivers—ever a motivator of men—from making this rather strong pronouncement to ESPN’s Arash Markazi following the team’s 107-101 loss to the Thunder Wednesday night:
I think we're good enough to win it. But I still don't know our team until we get to the playoffs, as far as how we're going to react or how other teams will react. The regular season is great and it prepares you and you get a better idea of where you are, but it's still another emotional level in the playoffs, and we didn't make it past the first round [last year], so we have to do that first before we think of anything.
I think we’re good enough to win it all, but…
Rivers gives us the best of both worlds here: the optimism of someone who genuinely believes in his team’s potential, tempered with the realism of someone who might know better.
To a man, L.A. has as much talent as any team out there. They're 2-2 against both the Thunder (whom the Clippers would presumably face in the second round) and San Antonio Spurs, the latter of which L.A. would face in the conference finals, assuming both teams make it that far.
The Clips boast both a top-10 offense and a top-10 defense, a veritable prerequisite for any genuine contender. And while they still have a few flaws—frontcourt depth and interior D being chief among them—the Clippers are no different in that respect from just about any other team in the field. Whether those flaws turn fatal is a different question altogether.
For the moment, the Clippers can at least rejoice in knowing they carry the mantle of being the best team in franchise history.
Which is a little like being the best cook in an Irish family, but still…
I’m Irish, so I’m allowed to make that joke.