Clippers

What the Clippers’ Health Means for the NBA

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The Los Angeles Clippers are beginning to play their best basketball after the all-star break. This is possible because of the team being completely healthy. The Clippers have been battling injuries for a large portion of the season but now have been 100% healthy for the last seven games. This sheds light to what the Clippers can do in the NBA when they have everyone at their disposal.

The Clippers are currently on an NBA best, six-game win streak at the moment. Through 63 games, the Clippers have been injury free for only 11 games. The other four games were played at the beginning of February and on Christmas Day. This means that the seven-game streak is the most games in a row that the Clippers have been healthy all season. They find themselves at 2nd in the West and still have a chance to get the one seed. Now, all that matters is staying healthy in route for the Clippers’ first ever NBA Championship.

SUCCESS WITH HEALTH

In the 11 games the Clippers have been healthy, they are 10-1. They are coming off their first loss when healthy to the Lakers. For the 10 games the Clippers won, they did so by an average of 13.6 points/game. Two of these games were won by over 25 points which included all by three games won over double digits. They did this while holding their opponents to 104.9 points/game and scoring 118.8 points/game throughout the 10 games. Although it is only over 10 games, 104.9 points/game on defense would rank 1st in the NBA and 118.8 points/game on offense would rank 2nd.

After the loss to the Lakers, the Clippers ended their NBA-best six-game win streak. During that time, they scored 120.5 points/game and held opponents to 103.5 points/game. This was 1st and 2nd respectively in the NBA over that span. The team also had the 3rd-best field goal percentage of 49.7% and are outscoring their opponents by an NBA best average of 17 points/game. Their defense held their opponents to 42.4% shooting from the floor– good for 2nd.

Taking into account Sunday night’s loss, the Clippers are still at the top of those statistics. Over the last seven games, they are scoring 118 points/game which is 2nd best over that time. Their plus/minus is still on top with +13.3 in the league. The Clippers dropped to 6th with allowing 104.7 points/game, but sit at 3rd in opponent field goal percentage with 42.7%. The Clippers are at their best when they’re healthy and one of the best teams in the NBA.

BEATING COMPETITION

The wins the Clippers have as a healthy team are against some of the NBA’s best. The Clippers took down playoff teams in the West with the Lakers (1st), Nuggets (3rd), Thunder (5th), Rockets (6th) and Grizzlies (8th). They also defeated the Spurs (12th), Suns (13th) and Timberwolves (14th) who are outside of the playoff race at the moment. The Clippers complimented these wins in the West by taking down two of the top teams in the East with the Heat (4th) and the 76ers (6th). Beating these quality opponents gives the Clippers the experience of playing in games and atmospheres that could be a preview for the NBA post season.

NEW PLAYERS STEPPING IN

The Clippers have welcomed two new players that have contributed to the teams current run. Marcus Morris, who was acquired from the New York Knicks in a three-team trade, and Reggie Jackson, who was signed after a buyout from the Detroit Pistons. Both players were instantly put into the Clippers’ rotation. Morris was inserted into the starting five and is playing 28.9 minutes/game, averaging 9.5 points per contest. Jackson is coming off the bench and logging 19.5 minutes/game while adding 8.6 points per contest on 48% shooting from the field.

Although they aren’t scoring a lot of points, they are playing quality minutes that has been leading the Clippers to victory. Their roles have changed since they stepped in Los Angeles. Morris is coming from shooting 14.8 shots/game in New York to shooting 10.0 shots/game in LA. Jackson used to average 14.1 shots/game with the Pistons, but now only averages 6.5 shots/game with the Clippers. Even though they are taking fewer shots, they still have impacted the team in a positive way. Morris has a plus/minus of +64– good for 3rd on the team. Jackson is 6th with a plus/minus of +39 since he joined the team. This has led the Clippers to be 7-4 with Morris and 6-2 with Jackson.

The Clippers have been playing some of their best basketball when it is needed the most. With 19 games left in the regular season, the Clippers look to bounce back after a loss. They travel to Golden State tonight and aim to start another winning streak.

Despite their recent stroke of perfect health, that ends today, as Lou Williams will miss tonight’s game vs. Golden State due to a sore calf.

Stats taken from stats.nba.com and basketball-reference.com.

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About Jordan Taylor

Los Angeles Clippers Writer. Email: jtfsu@outlook.com | Twitter: @jtfsu98

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