After a tremendous regular season in which the Los Angeles Clippers repeated as Pacific Division Champions, they stumbled through an all too brief post-season, weighted down by the antics of now former owner Donald Sterling. Amid the threat of insurrection, and with the possibility of a less than winning effort on the court, the team lost in the second round to Oklahoma City. Tonight, they begin a new season with new, enthusiast, and very, very rich ownership, a five-year contract in the back pocket of coach Doc Rivers, and a talented team than could set new heights never enjoyed by the once ridiculed franchise.
Built around the team’s two superstars, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and a potential third in DeAndre Jordan who could attain that status this season, the athletic, energetic
|Clippers begin the new season facing Oklahoma City, but this time around the Thunder are without their star of stars, Kevin Durant, who is recovering from a broken foot. They still have their number two, former UCLA Bruin Russell Westbrook, who in the clubs opener scored 38 points, the hight so far this young season, but that was in a loss that was not even that close, and the Thunder without Durant is far from the team that took down the Clippers 5 months ago.||
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The Clippers are loaded with talent and depth at four positions, with Jordan Farmar now backing up Paul at point guard, J.J,.Redick and Jamal Crawford as good a one-two at shooting guard as there is in the league, Glen Davis playing behind Griffin at the power forward, and a top quality back-up center in Spencer Hawes relieving Jordan. The only real questions are at the small forward spot where starter Matt Barnes brings top flight defense and unbelievable intensity, but he has had a very poor shooting streak throughout the pre-season, and there is no real NBA-caliber back-up on the roster, with Jared Dudley now in Milwaukee, Reggie Bullock and Chris Douglas-Roberts will play behind Barnes, but neither distinguished himself in any capacity during the pre-season.
Besides losing Durant for the first few weeks of the season, the Thunder has suffered some other key injuries: Both Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson will miss tonights game at least, and Anthony Morrow will be out a couple of months with an strained MCL.
With the Lakers in the fight of their collective lives to keep from ending what promises to be a painful season in the Pacific Division cellar, Los Angeles is up for grabs, and the Clippers have their best opportunity ever to take over the basketball heart of the City of Angels. If not not, then never.