After rattling off 9-straight wins the national media is starting to wonder if the Clippers are legit. Again. The combination of the Clippers getting back on track in the absence of Griffin — albeit against a variety of sub .500 teams has provided plenty of fodder for conversation.
Over at CBS Sports Matt Moore and Zach Harper went back-and-forth on the are they aren’t they about the Clippers’ prospects. Harper says:
That’s the tough thing with the Clippers, and really for every team that sort of lingers in no-man’s land where it just becomes “they have to show us before we can buy in.” I’m not sure that’s necessarily fair with this Clippers team, especially considering they’ve won nine in a row while Blake Griffin has been out with that torn quad tendon. In a way, it feels like what they went through a couple years ago when Chris Paul went down and the team didn’t skip a beat while Darren Collison filled in and we started to realize just how absurdly good Griffin had become. But I’m with you in thinking something just feels empty with taking this team seriously and I think it’s because it doesn’t matter how many different versions of a successful regular season we see from them, we feel like they owe us a more successful postseason run.
Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver posits a number of theories about why the Clippers look better than ever without Griffin in the line up:
As it turns out, basically everyone in Rivers’s rotation has pitched in to keep the offense going. Remarkably, nine different Clippers—Paul, Redick, Jordan, Pierce, Mbah a Moute, Jamal Crawford, Wesley Johnson, Austin Rivers and Cole Aldrich —have all upped their scoring averages since Griffin’s injury. That’s a testament to the size of the hole that Griffin’s absence creates and to the offense-initiation abilities of Paul and back-up Pablo Prigioni.
All eyes will be on the Clippers tonight as they face their first real test (Miami) at Staples Center and try and stretch the streak to 10.