The LA Clippers lost a close one on Sunday night to their struggling cross-town rivals. On an uncharacteristic shooting night where the team finished with an under 40% clip from the floor, the Clippers lost for just the third time in their last 17 games.
But in their unexpected loss to the Lakers, one Clippers player dominated and stood out among the rest: Ivica Zubac. The eighth-year big man finished with a team-high 22 points and 19 rebounds, and was one of the main reasons LA even had a chance to win the game down the stretch.
Zubac's big night was a reminder that he is quietly having his best season as a professional. For the year, he is putting up career-bests of 12.4 points, 1.4 blocks and is pulling in 9.7 rebounds, while shooting 64.9%, good for the second-highest mark in his career.
Zubac is enjoying his best professional season in 2023-24
Strong play from the Clippers' starting big man has played no small part in helping them reach such a high level of performance on a nightly basis. Of course, players like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will always have more of an ability to raise the team's ceiling, but Zubac has been a rock on the interior both offensively and defensively.
With so many of the Clippers' star players operating on the final year of their contracts, Zubac's domination this season is even further proof that this is LA's best shot at winning a title. There is no guarantee anyone will be back next year, and the team must capitalize off the hot streak from all their top-level talent.
As stacked as the Western Conference is, the opportunity for the Clippers is still right there. With Leonard, George, James Harden and Russell Westbrook leading the way, Ivica Zubac's focused play is the final piece that can help put LA over the top come playoff time.