One big stat that explains why the Clippers may not be real contenders

As the postseason nears, one of the West's true title contenders might be in for an early exit if they can't play better against the league's best teams.

Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

The Clippers are trying to make a deep postseason run but their regular season performance might be an indicator that they will fall short of the ultimate goal. As noted by NBA Reddit user u/clamscasinoooooo, the Clippers are 22-23 in the regular season against teams that are playing above 0.500 ball. The team has only thrived against lower-tier teams, going 22-4 in the regular season against teams that are currently below 0.500.

The franchise does have an excuse as they just recently got Russell Westbrook back from an injury that required surgery on his left hand. While the team is unlikely to land itself in the Play-In Tournament, the franchise has a good shot at ending up as the sixth seed after their recent struggles.

Will the Clippers turn into frauds in the postseason?

Before the squad played poorly without Westbrook, the Clippers seemed destined to make a deep run in the postseason. While the guard has come back from injury, his time without the franchise has proven that the squad has issues. Ty Lue has called the team soft and they've really struggled defending consistently, and winning the rebounding battle. They've dropped to 19th in defensive efficiency and rank 22nd in defensive rebound percentage.

With a young Thunder team and a Timberwolves franchise that will at the very least have an injured Karl-Anthony Towns, the Clippers had a clear path to the Western Conference Finals. Before the team's struggles, L.A looked like a squad that could possibly challenge the Nuggets in a hypothetical matchup that could send the Clippers to their first-ever finals.

But the team's struggles against top teams suggest that Clippers fans might have to continue to keep dreaming.

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