Los Angeles Clippers Stat Brief: Clippers vs. Knicks/Sixers

The long road trip is almost over, and with Chris Paul back, the Clippers hope to end it in style.

Lob City Highlight of the Night

This is just too pretty to show anything else:

Quick Recap

The Clippers got everyone back, but that wasn’t enough against LeBron James. He is shooting 65.9 percent from the field and 60.0 percent from long range, plus he has scored 30 or more the last four games. If you enjoy basketball, then you have to enjoy the games that LeBron is putting together.

Since this is a column about the Clippers, I guess I should talk stop gushing about LeBron. This is the first time the Clippers have all of their players practicing in a few weeks, and the rust could be seen against Miami. The Clippers didn’t play great on either offense or defense. After the first quarter, where they shot 65.0 percent from the floor and 100 percent from long distance, they just shot 36.8 percent from the floor for the rest of the game. On defense, they could not slow down the Heat, who shot 80 percent from the floor in the second quarter and 9 for 10 from beyond arc. Throw in being outscored by 24 combined points in the second and third quarters, and this game was over early.

Tonight’s Game

There is hope on the horizon for the Clippers now that they are healthy for this first time in a month. I would expect that it will take a few games to work themselves back into the dominant team that was running teams off the court back in December. Luckily, their brutal road trip is coming to end; unfortunately it is with another back-to-back set of games.

The Clippers first take on the 32-16 Knicks, who are 6-1 in their last seven games. The Knicks win games with offense ranking, third in the league in offensive efficiency and scoring just over 100 points per game. Even with the recent struggles, the Clippers have the fifth-most efficient defense in the league and hopefully will make a stronger showing tonight than they did against the Heat. The Knicks are a lot more dangerous now that Amar'e Stoudemire is back and is proving he has no issues coming off bench by putting up the second highest offensive efficiency rating of his career.

As soon as the game is over the Clippers travel to Philadelphia to face 22-27 Sixers who currently are three games out of the playoffs. The Sixers, unlike the Knicks, win games with their defense, especially since they average just 92.3 points a game. Their defense isn’t exactly the best in the league, however, and ranks 11th in efficiency.

So look for tonight to be a shootout with neither team playing much defense and tomorrow to be a slow grind it out type of game. Hopefully the Clippers can pull out both now that everyone is back, but the more likely outcome is that they split.