Here’s a funny idea: The Los Angeles Clippers aren’t monitoring what the Golden State Warriors are up to on a nightly basis. Same with the San Antonio Spurs.
You know, the two teams most likely to prevent the Clippers from finally reaching the Western Conference finals and beyond?
“I don’t know if we will at game 82,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “Really I don’t think we ever worry about anybody else. I don’t know what that actually gets you. I let some of my reporter friends, they’ll tell us what place you’re in all year.”
But of course the Clippers care. Every offseason, the Clippers try to retool the roster to achieve Western Conference dominance.
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The Clippers went about upgrading their problematic bench, piecing together a group that Rivers hopes doesn’t force him to rush his stars back on the court.
The Clippers’ second unit has basically been Jamal Crawford and a hope that someone like Austin Rivers can add a spark.
Los Angeles signed center Marreese Speights and guard Raymond Felton to go with Crawford and Co.
And with Wesley Johnson back from a heel injury, the Clippers might have a bench good enough to support a starting lineup that might be the best in the NBA outside of Golden State.
Because when bad luck with injuries hasn’t stung the Clippers in the postseason, their lack of depth has been an issue.
And perhaps the playing field in terms of depth is evening out, too.
What made the Warriors so tough was their depth to go with their stars. But in signing Kevin Durant, that depth took a hit, including the Clippers taking Speights from Golden State.
With that, the Clippers are 14-3 and perhaps best equipped to upend the Warriors and hold off the Spurs.
And the media will be sure to remind the Clippers they’re a half game behind the Warriors and a half game ahead of the Spurs in the West.
The ‘This Can’t Be Life’ Award
It’s no surprise that a team coached by Mike D’Antoni would set the record for most 3-point attempts in a game.
The real shock is that it took this long to happen.
D’Antoni’s Houston Rockets attempted 50 3-pointers in Friday’s win over the Kings. Just don’t be shocked if that record doesn’t hold up nearly as long as the previous record of 49 set by Dallas in 1996.
The Rockets are going to keep taking 3s. Cleveland is big on the 3-ball, too. And don’t forget the Warriors, who have three players – Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Durant – who could hit at least 10 treys on any given night.
The Keeping it Way Too Real Award
If you talk to old-school NBA players, many will tell you today’s NBA players don’t really want to fight.
Sure they’ll yell and run up on someone, but rare is the player who will square up and exchange blows.
Washington guard Bradley Beal didn’t get the message that today’s play- ers are hands-off in confrontations. If you don’t believe it, ask Orlando guard Evan Fournier.
During an on-court fracas Friday in Orlando, Beal grabbed Fournier by the throat, leaving a handprint on Fournier’s neck.
More shocking, Beal wasn’t ejected, and he played in the Wizards’ loss to San Antonio Saturday.
Guess there are some players still willing to put their hands on someone.