Culver City Observer -

Clippers, Lakers Start Fast In New Season

 

November 17, 2016



It’s good to be a fan of an LA team so far in the 2016-’17 National Basketball Association season.

The Clippers are 10-1 at this writing, the best record in the NBA. And they’ve been routing opponents, building several 30-point halftime leads.

The Lakers can’t match that but as of Monday they had a 6-5 record and that’s encouraging considering their slow starts in recent years.

They even had a three-game winning streak before losing at Minnesota Sunday.

I credit new coach Luke Walton for doing an outstanding job. Realizing he doesn’t have superstar talent (no Kobe Bryant for instance), he went to a two-platoon system and the second unit has played better than the starters.

This is a ploy that may be exposed by opponents as the season goes along but it’s working now.

The Clippers have been able to win more than 50 games in each regular season since Blake Griffin and Chris Paul came along but they haven’t taken advantage of their playoff opportunities.

It looks like they’re real serious about changing that now. They’re undefeated on the road and their only loss was 85-83 to Oklahoma City at Staples Center.

Don’t forget Griffin and Paul are eligible to become free agents next summer.

I credit Coach Doc Rivers and his staff for improving the roster last summer by signing

veteran free agents Marreese Speights, Raymond Felton and Brandon Bass.

The greatly improved depth gives them a real chance to succeed as the season progresses.

Let’s be realistic about where our teams are.

The Clippers, who should be in the top four at playoff time, are trying to break through a barrier.

By contrast, the Lakers have slipped badly since owner Jerry Buss died and haven’t been able to attract elite free agents as they did in their championship years.

As a result they fell to a franchise worst 17-65 record last season.

But they’re still drawing sellout crowds, a tribute to the loyalty of their fans. Those 16 championships bought them a lot of credibility.

What is their future? Will owner Jim Buss stay for another season? Will the rumors of Phil Jackson opting out of his New York Knicks contract and joining the Lakers’ front office be true?

How patient are these patient fans going to remain if the Lakers don’t make the playoffs again this season?

Well, it’s fun right now so let’s enjoy it.

 

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