Blake Down, Clips Out?

In case you missed it, here is a five second summary of L.A.’s seven game road trip so far:

-Game 1: Lost a close one to a Pelicans team sans Anthony Davis

-Game 2: Won by 20 against the Spurs (arguably the best win of the season)

-Game 3: Blew a 9 point lead against the Nets with just 1:35 left to play

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Clippers: Countdown to Christmas

Things aren’t looking good for the Clippers as we countdown to the highly anticipated Christmas Night rematch against the Golden State Warriors.  The Clips started off a hectic upcoming week with a loss in Denver last night, the first of five games in a seven day span.  To compound things, they will have to travel to a different time zone in between each game.

The upcoming schedule includes two back-to-backs as well as elite competition from teams such as San Antonio (17-10), Atlanta (18-7), and Golden State (22-3).  And while the Bucks (14-13) are not quite up to par with the others, they just beat the Clippers a week ago in Milwaukee.

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The Great Wall of Washington

Mike Wilbon recently said it best in an episode of Pardon the Interruption: “I love watching the Wizards and I think they’re a great story, and this is a media story, too.  Don’t tell me that the only thing worth discussing is a 3-11 team.”  Despite pushing Toronto for the top spot in the East with an 18-6 record, the Wizards haven’t received the recognition they deserve.  Yes, it helps that they’ve faced the second easiest schedule in the league thus far.  No, they haven’t overtaken the Cavs or Bulls as the favorites to come out of the East.  But John Wall has evolved into one of the premier point guards in the NBA and should have the Wizards competing for a championship sooner rather than later.  

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Clippers' Seven Game Swing

After stumbling to a 5-4 start, the Clippers have rebounded with the most successful road trip in franchise history.  They won an unprecedented six out of seven games with the only loss coming to an emerging Memphis Grizzlies team led by darkhorse MVP candidate Marc Gasol.  It helps that the opposition was softer than usual; the wins came against Orlando, Miami (without Dwyane Wade), Charlotte, Detroit, Houston (without Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones, Patrick Beverley), and Utah.  Regardless, the Clippers won these games in convincing fashion and look to have snapped out of their funk.  They became the first team in NBA history to have an average win margin above 11 in a road trip of seven games or longer, proving their dominance as of late.

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Fog City vs. Smog City

As a Clipper fan, I had a feeling we were going to get stomped on in Oracle Arena.  It’s still early in the season, but the Clippers have been suspect throughout the preseason and through the beginning of the regular season.  Sure we miss Collison, sure we're still missing an athletic 3 (despite Reggie Bullock looking good), sure this is our 5th game in 7 days, sure the Warriors played terrific.  And if you think it had something to do with our former assistant coach Alvin Gentry joining the Warriors coaching staff, I’ll even give you that. But the real question is, what’s going on in Smog City?

Not to take anything away from the Warriors (no flex). They're good, and they know it... It shows in their confidence and intensity. But I'm not here to marvel at how good the Warriors looked. I'll leave that up to the Bay Area. I want to focus on two things I took away from the Clippers-Warriors game.  

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The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: LA Clippers 2014-15 Outlook

Yes, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Doc Rivers are all back.  Yes, Ralph Lawler will be back on the mic, announcing each and every "Bingo!" and alerting us of Lawler's Law (it's the law!).  But no, not much else will be the same.

Though most of their biggest cogs remain the same from last season, the Los Angeles Clippers are a very different team and organization this year.  Some changes I like, some I don't, and some are just... going to be hard to get used to.  So let's break down some of the most important things to look out for in the upcoming season.

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Predictions: Busts of the 2014-15 NBA Season

The one and only Jake Weiner from (D)Roses & Thorns and I have collaborated to pinpoint this year’s busts in the NBA.  I’m talking about the Larry Sanderses and the Josh Smiths of last year.  Whether it’s injuries, age, or simply not fitting in on a new team, the following six guys don’t have a sunny outlook for the 2014-15 season.  Our six breakout players will be released very soon.  So without further ado:

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LeBron Awaits His Kingdom in Cleveland

Before analyzing Cleveland’s imminent dynasty after the Homecoming, the Return of the King, the Decision 2.0, or whatever else you want to call LeBron’s move back to Cleveland, I want to quickly say something to the dying breed of hardcore LeBron haters still out there: 

One thing is clear about LeBron James’ public perception at this point: no matter what he does, there will always be those who shamelessly deride and treat him as a villain. LeBron has coped with the pressure of becoming the greatest NBA player of all time, ever since he was in high school.

Such a subjective expectation inevitably leads to constant controversy and scrutiny of every press conference, headband placement, cramp, and decision James has made throughout his young adulthood and tumultuous twenties. Most fans willing to exercise empathy can hardly blame LeBron for some of his missteps given his circumstances, but unfortunately, empathy tends to yield to sensationalism among sports fans.

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