Miami Heat at Los Angeles Clippers
November 14, 2012 7:30p PT
Fox Prime Ticket / ESPN
Los Angeles gets their first shot of the season against the defending champions (third look including the preseason). And ESPN breaks down their evening doubleheader. Might we interest you in a little Clippers contendership talk?
2. Fact or Fiction: The Clippers are title contenders.
Gutierrez: Fact. Not only have returning Clippers (DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin) improved, but the team is significantly deeper, with Jamal Crawford taking over at times. And what teams out west can you really say are clearly better? They’ve beaten the Spurs, the Lakers remain a question mark and the Thunder still aren’t sure if they’re as good as they were last season.
Haberstroh: Fact. Why not? As long as Chris Paul is on the team, I’m not worried about DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin being liabilities in crunch time. With a knack for delivering under pressure with limitless creativity, Paul is a basketball-wielding James Bond. The question is, will the Clippers go far in the playoffs because of Vinny Del Negro or despite him?
Widdoes: Fact. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and an emerging DeAndre Jordan make them a top-five offense, and now that they’ve crept into the top 10 in defensive efficiency, they have a chance. They also have the three keys for playoff success: great size, depth and Eric Bledsoe.
Young: Fact. For this type of question, I always ask, “Could they beat the Thunder/Lakers/Spurs in a seven-game series?” And with a healthy Chris Paul, a better-than-ever DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and a highly capable bench, the Clippers are built to beat anyone. They have a slimmer margin for error than some of their top Western Conference competitors, but Paul is fully equipped to make up the difference.
Dewey: Fact: Chris Paul has vastly increased the Clippers’ defensive communication. They’ve actually got top-10 defense right now, and they actually look like one. Eric Bledsoe looks like a star sixth man and Jamal Crawford looks great, too. It’s a valid question whether this will hold up until May, but the outline for a contender is there.