It all looked so promising in the first year of Lob City when the Clippers rallied to win a Game 7 on the road in Memphis in the first round of the 2012 playoffs. They were swept by San Antonio in the next round, but the season went down as a success for such a young team.
They went backward in Year 2, losing to the Grizzlies in a bruising six-game first-round series. The Clippers won the first two games, lost the next three, then lost Griffin to a high-ankle sprain during walk-through practice. According to one insider, they were practicing traps to get the ball out of Zach Randolph’s and Marc Gasol’s hands. Griffin Authentic Leonard Williams Jersey spun, leaped, got bumped, landed on Lamar Odom’s foot and let out the kind of scream that makes everyone in the gym cringe.
The Clippers lost Game 6, fired coach Vinny Del Negro and turned to Rivers to get them over the hump. Instead, the Donald Sterling scandal landed like a stink bomb in the middle of a first-round series against the Golden State Warriors. The Clippers somehow pulled out the series in seven games, marking the last time they’ve been ahead of the Warriors. But Authentic Lorenzo Mauldin Jersey they basically collapsed out of emotional exhaustion in the next round against Oklahoma City. Which seemed like the worst thing that would ever happen in their careers, until they blew a 3-1 series lead against the Houston Rockets the next season.
So you know there’s all this talk of the Clippers being the best team in the NBA now …
“Noooo. Mmm, mmm. Nooo. Nooo,” Rivers said before the question was even asked.
Part of Rivers’ caution is the youngness of the season. Eleven games is hardly a large enough sample size to start making judgments, let alone boast about anything.
“You get tired of losing,” Rivers said. “The whole second-round [playoff ceiling the franchise has yet to break through] … I don’t think our guys care about that, they just want to win. At some point guys just get tired of losing. I think our guys are at that point.”
There are all sorts of metrics that would make a compelling case for the Clippers as the best team in the NBA right now.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Clippers have outscored their opponents by 183 points this season, the fourth-best margin through 11 games of a season in NBA history behind only the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls (plus-212), 1964-65 Boston Celtics (plus-194) and 1971-72 Milwaukee Bucks (plus-193).