Sure, they lost last night. But you can’t help but notice the latest surge in the Clippers’ play in the last few weeks. Starting New Year’s Eve, the Clippers have won four straight (three of which were against playoff teams) before losing a close 102-100 game to the Grizzlies last night. One of the main reasons to L.A.’s strong start in 2010 has been the eye-opening play of Baron Davis. B-Diddy has averaged 19.5 ppg, 11.3 apg, 5 rpg and 2.8 spg in the new year. Against Memphis, he had a triple double: 27 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds.
The Baron we’ve been seeing lately is playing like the All-Star guard he was a few years ago. He’s looking like the Davis we thought we’d see again coming into the ’09-10 season. But like the Clippers’ season, Davis has been up and down. The team has been inconsistent and awful on the road (5-11). In fairness, the team has had to deal with some injuries, including one to their prized top pick, Blake Griffin, who has yet to play a game this season due to a knee injury.
“It’s been a little up and down. We’ve been inconsistent,” Davis told reporters last week. “It’s just a matter of us putting together a string of good victories and getting some confidence and an identity.”
Like last year, Davis has struggled to fit into coach Mike Dunleavy’s offense. The clash of styles had been the source for a number of disagreements last season between the two. Although Baron admits he’s still not completely comfortable with his coach’s offense, he says that the communication between him and Dunleavy has improved.
“We had some issues. I didn’t really know or understand my role in the offense,” Davis said. “This year I know what my role is – to be aggressive and the initiator. I feel a lot more comfortable with what we’re doing in the offense. If you watch, we communicate throughout the game about what we need to be doing. Our communication is really good.”
Even with their recent winning streak, the Clippers are still two games under .500 (17-19) and are currently outside of the playoff picture. While a playoff spot is unlikely, it certainly isn’t out of the question. The Clippers will be getting Griffin back sometime in the next month – he will start practicing in non-contact drills with the team this week. If Davis can continue to play at a high level and L.A. keeps on getting contributions from All-Star candidate Chris Kaman (20.4 ppg, 9.4 rpg) and Eric Gordon (17.3 ppg), then they have a chance to make a push.