Why the resurgent LA Clippers are now a force to be reckoned with

Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Clippers v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages
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The Clippers are finally living up to their potential.

Transitioning Russell Westbrook to the second unit and dropping PJ Tucker from the rotation, Los Angeles fortified its front line by signing Daniel Theis to the veterans' minimum. Coupled with the emergence of rookie Kobe Brown, the Clippers have not only stanched their hemorrhaging of points at the rim.

They've been climbing back into the top 10 in the restricted area, but they have also emerged as a bona fide defensive juggernaut, ranking seventh in the league in points per possession, according to Cleaning the Glass. More than simple lineup changes, however, LA has benefited from establishing a clear defensive hierarchy.

Unleashing Terrance Mann on their opponent's biggest offensive threat, the Clippers harness the threat of George and Leonard on secondary options, short-circuiting the threat of a switch before it can happen. Sparked by their trio of lengthy wing defenders, not to mention the versatility of Ivaca Zubac, Los Angeles is free to hide Harden from lesser threats.

Even when teams do succeed in forcing the former MVP into a mismatch against a bigger opponent, Harden more than holds his own, ranking in the 87th percentile of all defenders in the restricted area according to tracking data from Synergy.