The CW (Clipper Weekly): Home Stretch
Current Record: 34-36, 3rd Pacific, 8th West
Last Week: While the LA hoops world has been focused on the Bruins’ repeat run to the Final Four and Kobe’s insane scoring binge, the Clippers have quietly found their groove at the best possible time. Over the last two weeks since the last CW, the Clips finished their pivotal road-trip 3-3, which may not seem terribly remarkable, but considering the team’s road woes throughout the season, it was a major step forward. After seemingly going through the motions over the course of the last six weeks, it was as if someone finally flipped the switch to get the Clippers to start playing harder and as a team. The high point was a surprising win against the Bulls, who came in with the best home record in the Eastern Conference, but were pushed around by the Clippers in their own gym during the fourth quarter.
Upon arriving back in LA, the Clippers promptly took out two likely playoff teams on back-to-back nights. They routed the Northwest Division leading Jazz, holding them to a season-low 72 points in a 32-point win, then knocked off the Southeast Division leading Wizards to increase the team’s winning streak to four games heading into the final three weeks. The best part? Most of the work was done without the services of Sam Cassell, who only played in three of these last eight games because of his recurring back spasms. Despite not having their venerable leader on the court, the Clippers came out and showed the heart which has been missing most of the year, executing their game plan on both ends of the court for a change.
Quick Take: Interestingly enough, it was a loss to San Antonio, the first game of that road trip, which seemed to give the team confidence. The Spurs had absolutely demolished the Clips in the teams’ first three meetings by an average of 21.7 points and were coming in on a 12-game winning streak, yet the Clippers played them tough for four quarters. The CW has pointed out how often the Clips have gotten punked by elite teams, but this two-week stretch reversed that trend for the first time this year.