The Clippers have lost three of four.
Five of seven.
They’ve fallen to 24-18 and 2.5 games back of the 1st place Lakers.
Chauncey Billups is not walking through that door (LA is 9-11 since he was lost for the season).
But Nick Young is. Can he help save the Paper Clips?
They certainly need him.
After leading the Steve Nash-less Phoenix Suns by 17 at home last night, the Clippers blew the lead, then the game, falling 91-87. Then, they held an hour-long players and coaches meeting, or maybe just watched the end of Colorado-UNLV and told the media they had a meeting.
Scoring has been the Clippers’ main problem recently (defending the 3-point line would be a close second – opponents are shooting 37 percent from deep; only Jersey is worse). They’ve only hit the 100-point mark eight times in their last 20 games.
Everyone knows Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are each going to score about 20 a night. After that? There’s no 3rd scorer. Can Randy Foye reliably be that guy? What about Mo Williams off the bench? How about Caron Butler?
Butler was supposed to be that guy, but his numbers have cratered since January, and he can’t do anything right in March (34 percent shooting, 8.7 ppg). Young, whom they just traded for, is more of a natural shooting guard, but it seems likely they’ll try him at SF because he can score. He’s only a capable defender, but DeAndre Jordan (3rd in the NBA in blocks at 2.4 per game) can probably make up for any defensive deficiencies.
I’m still confident about my Clippers vs. Thunder Western Conference Finals prediction, but yes, I feel like the Lakers are much more of a threat now than they have been all season.