Stats & Info: Los Angeles Clippers
February, 15, 2013
By Scott Beaman & Ernest Tolden, ESPN Stats & Info | ESPN.com
Getty ImagesThings haven't gone as planned for Kobe Bryant (left) and the Lakers, but Chris Paul (right) and the Clippers are riding high, currently in third place in the Western Conference.
The two NBA teams that call L.A. home are breaking new ground this season. The Clippers are enjoying one of their best seasons, while the Lakers are enduring one of their worst.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS (25-29)
The Lakers have 29 losses at the All-Star break. Since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976-77, the Lakers have finished with 29 or fewer losses FOR THE ENTIRE SEASON 24 different times (82-game seasons only).
No NBA franchise has made the playoffs in more seasons than the Lakers since the merger, but after last night's loss to the Clippers, ESPN.com’s Hollinger Playoff Odds give the Lakers just a 28.9 percent chance of reaching the postseason.
Even if the Lakers do find a way to reach the postseason, it might not matter. They’re 1-9 against the top four teams in the Western Conference this season (including an 0-3 mark against the Clippers), and they still have four games remaining against those teams (Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Grizzlies).
The Lakers rank 17th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, allowing 103.4 points per 100 possessions (worst since 2006-07 season). They finished in the top six in this category in four of the previous five seasons.
The Lakers have also struggled getting back on defense after missed shots this season. They've allowed an NBA-worst 16.1 fast-break points per game.
In fact, the Lakers have allowed at least 20 fast-break points in 15 games this season, including in three of their last five games. No other NBA team has allowed 20 fast-break points in more than 12 games this season.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (39-17)
The Clippers, on the other hand, enter the All-Star break with 39 wins and a .696 winning percentage.
Their best single-season winning percentage since moving to Los Angeles came last season (.606), and since the move, the Clippers have NEVER made the playoffs in a season the Lakers failed to make the postseason.
The Clippers have been at their best in the final period this season. They've outscored their opponents by 118 points in the fourth quarter.
Only the Spurs (163) and Knicks (126) have a better fourth-quarter differential.
One of the reasons for that fourth-quarter success has been their lock-down defense late in games. They've allowed just 40.2 percent shooting by their opponents in the fourth quarter, by far the lowest in the NBA.
At their current pace, the Clippers would finish the season with 57 wins, which would make this the first 50-win season in franchise history and would eclipse their previous single-season record by eight wins.
December, 21, 2012
By Ernest Tolden, ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty ImageBlake Griffin and the Clippers have had a lot to celebrate this year.
The Clippers have emerged this season as top Western Conference contenders and one of the best teams in the NBA.
Los Angeles has won its last 11 games, matching the franchise's longest win streak, originally set by the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves.
At 19-6, the Clippers are off to their best 25-game start in franchise history. Last year, they finished the regular season 40-26, recording the highest single-season win percentage in franchise history at .606.
This season they have even higher expectations, as they’ve shown improvements in several key areas, propelling them into the NBA’s elite.
"Defense Wins Championships" is the motto the Clippers have adopted this season. They ranked 18th in defensive efficiency last season, allowing 102.9 points per 100 possessions. This season Los Angeles ranks fourth, allowing 97.7 points per 100 possessions.
The Clippers’ pressure defense has been outstanding this year, forcing an NBA-high 17.5 turnovers per game.
They have also been able to turn their opponents’ miscues into scoring opportunities better than any team in the league.
They average an NBA-high 22 points off turnovers, including a season-high 31 points off turnovers in their 93-77 win Wednesday over the New Orleans Hornets.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Clippers have picked up where they left off last season. They remain one of the most efficient offenses in the NBA, averaging 107.7 points per 100 possessions.
The Clippers are finding easy ways to score. They rank third in the league in field goal percentage, likely due to where on the court their shots are coming from.
The Clippers thrive in the paint, where 47.3 percent of their total points have been scored. Only the Denver Nuggets score a higher percentage of their points in that area at 53.8 percent.
The high-flying frontcourt duo of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan has fueled the team’s success inside.
Both players rank in the top five in dunks for the third consecutive season. In fact, Griffin’s 472 dunks over the last three seasons are the most in the NBA in that span.
The Clippers’ biggest improvement has been their increased depth. They rank second in the NBA in bench points per game, a significant jump for a unit that ranked 26th in scoring last season.
The Clippers’ reserves have played a key role in the team’s recent surge, outscoring their opponents’ bench in nine of the last 10 games overall.
The biggest spark off the bench is Jamal Crawford, who leads all reserves in scoring at 16.6 points per game. Despite not starting, he has been the team’s primary closer this season. Crawford averages 7.2 points in the fourth quarter, trailing only Kobe Bryant in that category this season.
The Clippers will host the Kings on Friday at the Staples Center. With a win, they would match the Thunder for the longest win streak this season.
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