NBA Western Power Rankings Week 8: Clippers hang onto 4th

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December 21, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) plays for the ball against Los Angeles Clippers forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (12) and forward Blake Griffin (32) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

4th: Los Angeles Clippers (34 points)

By Tom West

Record: 16-13

Last 10 games: 6-4

After winning 9-of-11 games over one recent stretch, the Clippers have now last their last three games. The bench has once again squandered leads, the rebounding effort has been lacklustre, and they have lost three games to top teams because of it. Yes, they aren’t close to their potential this early in the season, but the Clippers need to be able to close such games if they want to actual be a real threat in the playoffs.

A loss to the Spurs isn’t too surprising considering how well they are operating and how much their league-best defense is dominating.

A loss to the Rockets, on the other hand, should have been far more winnable. Especially if the Clippers’ defense didn’t begin so poorly by allowing 38 points in the first quarter to create a 21-point deficit.

Finally, a 100-99 loss to the Thunder could have gone either way. The Clippers held the lead most of the night, but Kevin Durant answered in the final seconds and a few calls that the NBA admitted were incorrect helped cost L.A. the game.

Another week has passed, and it’s the same problems plaguing the Clippers as they just managed to hang onto 4th place in our rankings by the skin of their teeth: poor bench play at both ends of the floor, poor rebounding, and sporadic effort.

Next: Oklahoma City Thunder