The path for the Los Angeles Clippers is not easy. Nothing is set in stone. With the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers now out, the West will feature a team making the Finals for the first time in an awfully long time. That being said, the Clippers were the final team to advance past round one.
The Clippers took control of the Game 7 against Dallas and were able to reach the second round with a 126-11 win over the Mavericks.
Where They Currently Stand
The Clippers just finished up a historic battle with the Mavericks. No team won at home until the decisive Game 7, where Los Angeles finally got a victory at Staples Center. In fact, the road team started 6-0 for the first time ever in a best-of-7 series. Many thought that home fans coming back would have a big impact throughout the postseason, but that was not the case so far for the Clippers.
It was the second year in a row that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George eliminated Luka Doncic and the Mavericks in the opening round. Now, the Clippers are in a best-of-seven series with the top-seeded Utah Jazz. The Clippers are the underdog in this series at +105.
The biggest injury for the Clippers is to Serge Ibaka, who is dealing with a back injury. It cost him 30 games in the regular season and has limited him to just six minutes in the opening-round playoff series. His ability to not only protect the rim but spread the floor and hit threes is invaluable.
He was greatly missed and Los Angeles had to play small ball to avoid Ivica Zubac being put into switches on Doncic, who decimated the team. Marcus Morris and Nicolas Batum handled the bulk of the minutes at center.
Path to the Finals
Beating the Mavericks in Game 7 for the Clippers was step one. They did that, and now they get the Jazz, who had the best record in the NBA. Should they survive, they will advance to face one of two young superstars. Either Nikola Jokic (Denver) or Devin Booker (Phoenix) will have their team in the conference finals.
From there, Los Angeles would need four wins to make it to the last dance. There is so much talent remaining in the West that it would be shocking to see any sweeps or series go less than six games at this point.
Even though round one took seven games, if the Clippers continue to advance, they will be a better team for it.
Do Odds Portray Situation Properly?
L.A.’s odds of winning the West are set at +225. That slots the Clippers as the second co-choice with the Suns, behind Utah. They do have a shot to run the conference, but so many things have to fall into place.
It is important to remember that regardless of the star power they have had over the years, the Clippers have never made it past round two. Might this finally be the year they get over that hump?