Stat of the Day: Clippers on track to win 58 games


If you’re a Los Angeles Clippers fan whose hand is still nearing the panic button, here’s a number that’ll force you to ease of: if current projections remain true, the Clippers are on track to win 58 games this season, one more than last years franchise-best season.

To put it simply, the Clippers are on pace to be near the team everyone expected them to be, with their status as a championship contender pending until they go through a slate of games against above-.500 teams and hold their own.

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What’s changed from the underwhelming 6-4 start to the season? Mostly the level of competition as the Clippers have gone 6-1 over their last seven games, the lone loss to the league-best Memphis Grizzlies, but the offense is finally beginning to knock down those shots they

In that 6-1 stretch, there are eight different Clippers shooting 36 percent of higher from three. From the start of the season to the embarrassing home loss to the Chicago Bulls, this number was quite the inverse, with 6 players shooting According to the SportsVU stats tracking system, the Clippers are knocking down 42.3 percent of their “wide open” shots, or shots where a defender is six-plus feet away. They’re also hitting 42.3 percent of their “open” shots, shots where a defender is four-to-six feet away. Compared to early season numbers, that’s a drastic change.

The Clippers’ East Coast road trip + win over the Minnesota Timberwolves has also  allowed this group to find rhythm on the defensive end of the floor as the Clippers have escaped the bottom-ten defensive dweller. Per NBA Stats, from November 19th to today, the Clippers have posted 10th best defensive in the league.  I know what you’re going to say: “the Clippers haven’t played anyone and when they did (Memphis), they got pummeled). Unless a huge trade happens (that’s not happening), the Clippers will never be more than an average defensive team due to personnel, or the lack of, and any improvement, regardless of the opposition, is a good one. Unless a huge trade happens (that’s not happening), the Clippers will never be more than an average defensive team due to personnel, or the lack of.

Also, in regards to the storyline that isn’t really a storyline because no one wants to openly speculate on health, Blake Griffin finally looks to be healthy, having lumbered across the floor through the first ten-ish games of the season. The suspect at hand? His fragile back that spent an entire summer, FIBA games aside, recovering from a back fracture. It’s no secret that back injuries don’t just go away like an ankle sprain or jammed-finger, creating some ‘elephant in the room’ for Grififn as he stayed away from the paint, settling for jump shots at a LaMarcus Aldridge-rate, but things look to be on the up-and-up (Griffin averaged 22/8/4 on 50 percent shooting over this seven-game stretch) and the timing couldn’t have been better.

Combine Griffin’s play with Chris Paul‘s ridiculous shooting, J.J. Redick‘s shooting resurgence, and the blistering three-shooting (an area the Clippers wavered last season), and you have the borderline 60-win team like we all expected (and projected).


Want to hear a crazy factoid? If the Western Conference remains at this pace, the Clippers could wound up with 58 wins … as the 7th seed as they are now.

There are no guarantees the Clippers keep up this play — it’s more unlikely than likely these shooting percentages fail to regress to the norm — but it’s good to remember that in a hectic Western Conference, things could be worse.

Just ask the Los Angeles Lakers.

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