The Clippers have been the most surprising team of the season thus far in the NBA, as a squad most considered to be a fringe playoff team at best is 16-7 and tied atop the Western Conference more than a quarter of the way into the season.
Despite not having a clear top star to lead the way, the Clippers are getting it done on both ends of the floor with balance and depth. L.A.’s gotten a boost this season from rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, as well as a healthy Danilo Gallinari and the human energy booster Montrezl Harrell off the bench.
Still, when it gets down to crunch time the Clippers still turn to Tobias Harris and Lou Williams for buckets. Williams has long been one of the NBA’s premier bucket-getters off the bench, but in Los Angeles he’s flourished in that role like never before. Last year he was almost an All-Star, and while he may not be having quite the same season this year, he’s still capable of hitting big time shots.
Against New Orleans on Monday night, LouWill lifted the Clippers to a big time win over a fellow playoff contender with a fading three-pointer to beat the shot clock with the Clippers down one with under 10 seconds to play.
Anecdotally, there seem to be few in the league better at off-balance jumpers than Lou Williams. This was another example of that as he hit 20 points for the game and gave the Clippers a lead they would not lose in the closing seconds.
The Clippers just keep finding ways to win and making their run seem more and more legit with every victory over a good team. They have wins over some of the league’s best teams this season, and while there’s still plenty of basketball yet to be played, this team has the balance and talent to be a real problem in the postseason, even if they may not last at the very top of the conference.