Culver City Observer -

Improved Clippers Prepare For Breakout Season


August 25, 2016

Two seasons ago the Clippers had a 3-1 series lead over the Houston Rockets but faltered and lost their chance to advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in their history.

Last season the Clippers were eliminated in the first playoff round by the Portland Trail Blazers even though they finished higher in the regular season.

So, a lot has been heard since about a Clippers curse.

You know, word has gotten around that somehow, some way the Clippers will fall short.

Here we go again. The NBA has announced the 2016-'17 schedules.

The Clippers' management has done a real good job of protecting themselves from falling short again at the most crucial time.

No guarantees, mind you. But building roster depth that could rescue them if key injuries occur like last season when Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were both hurt and out of the series against Portland.

Although the Clippers didn't have a lot of salary cap room they've added NBA veterans Raymond Felton, Brandon Bass and Marreese Speights.

"These guys are veterans who've seen a lot of situations in their NBA careers," said Chris Paul recently when he spoke in Watts where he was supplying through his foundation golf equipment and after school programs for youths.

"I'm glad they're with us now." said Paul.

The Clippers are also hopeful that 6-10 forward Brice Johnson from North Carolina will do well in a relief role. He was their first round draft choice this summer.

I don't believe the Clippers are cursed but I did see a problem with depth in playoffs the last two years.

It is ironic that Paul, Felton and Bass were all drafted out of college in the same year 11 seasons ago.

They've played on numerous teams. Bass was a key reserve for the Lakers last season and Felton and Jamal Crawford were once Portland teammates.

The Clippers won 53 regular season games last season. Paul and Griffin have recovered from last season's injuries and Speight figures to be a solid backup center to DeAndre Jordan.

Speight contributed to the success of the Golden State Warriors the last two seasons but became a free agent when the Warriors had to let several players leave to create salary to add Kevin Durant.

So, in a couple of months we'll see the beginning of a season when the Clippers hope to eliminate the talk of a curse.

They figure in the upper portion of the eight Western Conference teams who will qualify for the playoffs.


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