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Los Angeles Clippers Mid-Season Report

John Bazemore / AP Photo

The Los Angeles Clippers (35-33) currently sit in the fifth spot in the Western Conference with perpetual change in the playoff standings. Head coach Ty Lue has probably gotten his money worth (6.5M) this season despite a number of injuries and changes to the lineup after the trade deadline.

Defensive Dysfunction

Those issues have plagued this team all season, and it hasn’t fully allowed the Clippers to hit their stride. The team has had 120 turnovers since the All-Star Break.

The defense has not been what we are accustomed to seeing from this roster under Lue. The Clippers were fifth overall just two years ago when his team was healthy. This team has struggled on that end, seemingly not able to get a consistent effort. 

Their leader and two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard was asked back in late January if this team is closer to where this team needs to be.

“No, we had a slow start and we have a lot of catching up to do, but we are making the right strides,” Leonard stated optimistically. 

Post-Trade Deadline

Russell Westbrook has brought a different dimension since becoming the starting point guard after being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers and bought out by the Utah Jazz.

“I want to keep the pace high, and look to make things easier for everyone here,” Westbrook said at his opening press conference with the media.

Westbrook has done just that by leading the team in assists in every game started and has three double-digit assists games out of seven.

The Clippers have two All-Stars in Leonard and Paul George, and Westbrook to helping to push the tempo. The team also has Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Norman Powell coming off the bench. The Clippers brought in two veterans to help the team at the deadline with Eric Gordon and Mason Plumlee, both have played well since being acquired.

The organization has players like Ivica Zubac, Nicolas Batum, Terance Mann, and Marcus Morris to lean on nightly. The Clippers have the pieces in place to compete for a championship and everyone in and around the organization believes that.

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