The Los Angeles Clippers were already a pretty great team in 2013-14. They finished third in the West with a record 57-25, which historically gives them an approximate 15 percent chance of winning the title. A great achievement in a loaded Western Conference, especially considering that their best player, Chris Paul, missed 20 games.
Led by Blake Griffin and Paul, the Clippers made it to the second round of the playoffs and lost in six games to the Thunder in a war of a series. Remember, when the series was tied 2-2 the Clippers lost in shocking fashion because of a terrible call by the officials.
As Steve Kerr states in the video, you can’t review fouls, only who the ball went off of out of bounds.
After the game Doc Rivers had a few things to say about the call, my favorites of which were:
“That’s a game defining, and possibly series-defining call.”
“That’s a bunch of crap and y’all know it.”
“That was our ball. We got robbed.”
“That was a brutal call and it cost us the game.”
“I’ll release the memo. They blew. The call. That’s the memo.”
The Clippers finished the season first in offensive and sixth in defensive efficiency for the second best net rating in the league at plus 7.3 points per 100 possessions just behind the San Antonio Spurs. Net rating is actually historically a better indicator of playoffs success than record, and you could make the statistical case that the Clippers were the second-best team in the NBA.
Albeit for such a great team, the Clippers somehow still aren’t viewed as on of the heavyweight title favorites. All season the talk was about the Pacers, Heat, Thunder and Spurs as the top teams in the league, and the Clippers were sort of swept under the rug.
I guess that’s what you get when you’re known as “Lob City.”
Here are some of things to look out for during the 2014-15 season.