The Los Angeles Clippers, hot off a big win over the Grizzlies, landed in Houston and showed why they’re a team predicted to go to the Western Conference Finals. Even without Chauncey Billups and star point guard Chris Paul, even on the second night of a back to back, even on the road, the Clippers and their brutal bench depth proved too much for the Rockets to overcome. The Clippers had a blazing hot 32-18 third quarter led by Jamal Crawford and his season-high 30 points and the Rockets just couldn’t catch up.
‘Trying hard,’ long celebrated, is an act so metaphysical that it eludes even those most comprehensive of contemporary NBA analytics. The oft-mysterious rise and/or fall in a plaeyer’s—or, more importantly, a team’s—actual exertion toward winning is also a maker or breaker of any prognostication, however Hollingerian it may be.
And trying, more than anything, is what pushes teams through the long, dog day months of the season, which we’re deep into from Christmas until the moment for final playoff pushes comes. While it may seem granted that millionaire professionals are giving it their all, all the time, a true NBA fan knows better; this is a taxing season played by relatively small rosters, and no amount of money or physical training can change that. And a true NBA fan knows, further, that there’s a wide range of effort throughout the league. [read more…]