Getting Chris Paul back has been a huge lift for the Clippers, and they have started to look like the team that was running through the league back in December. After struggling for most of the road trip, they ended it on a positive note with two wins to bring their record to 4-4.
The Knicks game was a tough win that the Clippers managed to pull out in the fourth quarter. The biggest hero of the game was Grant Hill, who completely shut down Carmelo Anthony after being assigned to guard him. Anthony was lights out for three quarters and really kept the Knicks in it singlehandedly, but only managed two shot attempts in the fourth. The Clippers took advantage of Hill's defense by outscoring the Knicks by 13 to stop their losing streak at one.
The Sixers game, on the other hand, was over by halftime. The Clippers were up 23 at halftime and 29 by the end of the third when they finally let off the gas. They did it by shooting the lights out, 58.7 percent from the floor and 42.1 percent from long range, and by passing the ball, 29 assists on just 44 baskets.
Quick Look Ahead
The Clippers have played a league-leading 54 games and are playing another back-to-back set before the break. For comparison's sake, the Heat have only played 49 games.
The first game is against the 28-25 Rockets. The Rockets’ offense ranks fourth in the league in offensive efficiency, and they have scored over 100 points in each of their last nine games. On the other side of the ball, the Clippers are fifth in the league in defensive efficiency, so watching this battle unfold tonight is going to be a real treat.
For the second one, the Clippers go on a zero mile road trip to face the Lakers. No one knows what to make of the Lakers this season. One moment, everyone is writing how this is the most disappointing Lakers season ever, and the next, everyone is saying how the Lakers have finally figured it out and are poised to make a run. They have beaten just three teams in 2013, however, that have a winning record, and I am pretty sure every team in the West that makes the playoffs has a winning record… just saying.
On the other hand, they rank eighth and 17th in offensive and defensive efficiency, respectively, and basketball-reference predicts that they should be 28-24. Furthermore, they rank ninth according to our nERD ratings, the only team with a losing record in the top 17. So are the Lakers underperforming or just beating up on really bad teams to inflate their stats? I will let our Lakers analyst Andrew Sugar answer that question. All I know is that the Clippers are looking to continue their resurgence and are going to make it a real long one for the other team in L.A.