On Friday night, the Los Angeles Clippers play the New Orleans Hornets in NOLA. The Hornets are officially eliminated from the NBA playoffs, so a loss to the Clippers is actually a positive thing for the second last seeded team in the Western Conference.
The Hornets just announced that they are going to rest Anthony Davis for the rest of the season due to knee injury. Davis has a sprained medial collateral ligament and bone bruise in his knee from colliding with the Sacramento Kings’ Marcus Thornton.
At least the entry draft looks bright for the Hornets. Again.
The Hornets only have one goal for Friday night’s game, lose. That should be easy. The Clippers have two. Number one is attempt to muster up the maturity that they will need to beat elite teams during the playoffs. Number two is to secure home-court advantage during the first round of the playoffs.
The only thing that will help the Clippers score home-court advantage is win. This will be a much easier win than Saturday will be when they play the Memphis Grizzles.
The maturity part is a little bit harder.
DeAndre Jordan showing he’s actively trying to become playoff threat for the Clippers. Earlier this week, he was effective and efficient but he still needs to prove he belongs in the fourth quarter.
Last year, Reggie Evans and Nick Young gave the Clippers the boost they needed to stay competitive. Jordan, Ryan Hollins and Matt Barnes look like they are to play that role this year. The problem is, Hollins and Barnes are super immature. There is always a chance one of them is going to go after another player or put somebody half their size in a headlock for no apparent reason.
Vinny Del Negro admitted to the Los Angeles Times “We have to manage (personalities) absolutely.”
As important as bo0ost from entire team putting in postseason effort and elite team maturity is, the foundation of everything the Clippers have built this season is Chris Paul.
Paul told the Daily News Los Angeles “It definitely starts with me and Blake [Griffin] ” Paul said “On the offensive end and the defensive end. When me and him are on the same page everyone else has no choice but to fall in line. Me and Blake realize we have to bring the energy every night and everyone else will feed off on it.”