The Los Angeles Clippers finished 40-26, and are headed to the 2012 NBA Playoffs. That is the good news. The bad news is that they finished the season with two losses, which means that they aren't exactly hitting the postseason on a high note. Granted, these were not particularly meaningful games, but you do want to see your team maintain their focus as they get ready for the pace of the playoffs. We will see if the Clips can flip that switch when they start their series with the Memphis Grizzlies.
It is important to realize that losing to the New York Knicks was somewhat understandable in terms of importance. The Knicks are still fighting for a higher playoff seed, while Los Angeles was already locked into their spot. In addition, Chris Paul wasn't on the floor to push this team, which means that a lot of offensive spark is not going to be there. Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe are solid guards, but this team has become all about the will and drive of CP3.
You hope that Chris Paul and his sore groin are really ready to go for the playoffs. The speedy point guard has managed to stay pretty healthy this year, but the compressed NBA schedule has taken its toll on a lot of players. This is where the players really start to concentrate, but it is also where fatigue and nagging injuries can have a major impact. The games are going to get tighter, and some of the play is going to get more physical. Paul must stay on the floor if the Clips are going to go deep in the playoffs.
Preparing to run
The Memphis Grizzlies are not going to be an easy opponent. On paper I think the Clippers can beat this team, but the Grizz are one of those pesky squads that can beat you with slick guard performances from Rudy Gay or inside play from Marc Gasol. Look for these games to possibly be high-scoring affairs, as the Clippers have continued to struggle with team defense at times throughout the season.
After all the preseason hype with "Lob City," the Clippers have had a successful season. Now it is time to see if they can take it to the next level.
The author grew up in Seattle and now lives in Los Angeles, where he waits patiently for the Sonics to return to the Pacific Northwest. In the meantime, he roots for the Clippers to become a winning franchise, and perhaps even the most popular team in their own city. You can follow him on Twitter @tpheifer.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Memphis Grizzlies
- NBA Playoffs
- Chris Paul
- Los Angeles