The Clippers surged up the rankings this week, taking a respectable loss from the New Orleans Pelicans and then pounding the Rockets and Wizards in quick succession, each by 20+ points. The Clippers have now beaten Oklahoma City and the Rockets (twice), all wins that should look better and better as those two ice cold franchises progress towards the mean. If the Clippers can build on the momentum they’ve established these first few weeks, they could make a surprising entry into the Western Conference playoff picture.
Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari have been essential, each capable of carrying the offense with true shooting percentages hovering around 60 percent. That pairing would seem to present some defensive problems but they’ve been holding opponents to a very respectable 100.3 points per 100 possessions when they’re on the court together. Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has also been playing key minutes as a defender and offensive cog. If he continues to play well a mid-season trade for some additional firepower could solidify the Clippers’ position further.