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Clippers' Harden-led turnaround propels them to NBA contention

Posted : 07 February 2024

The Clippers' season initially appeared bleak after a controversial trade for James Harden raised eyebrows. With an unfavorable start, they found themselves with a dismal record and little optimism. However, a gradual transformation unfolded.


Russell Westbrook moved to the bench, Terrence Mann joined the team, and Daniel Theis and P.J. Tucker became part of the roster alongside Harden. The trio of Harden, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard learned to play together, contributing to a significant turnaround.


Kawhi Leonard, in particular, has been a game-changer. Over the last 30 games, Leonard has showcased remarkable performance, averaging 26.7 points with exceptional shooting percentages. His historic numbers have propelled the Clippers to a 5-25 record in this period, boasting the best offense in the league. The 32-year-old Leonard, previously plagued by health concerns, is not only playing at his peak but is also more available than ever, participating in 44 of the 48 games this season and climbing the MVP shortlist.


James Harden, while experiencing his lowest averages since his early career, has adapted well to his role. Emphasizing team chemistry over individual accolades, Harden has become an integral part of the Clippers' success.


His selfless approach has contributed to the team's improved performance, with the Clippers now considered one of the best teams in the league and contenders for their first championship.


As the trade window closes, potential changes to the roster remain uncertain, but the Clippers' consensus has shifted dramatically, positioning them as frontrunners in power rankings and championship odds.


The team's experience and cohesive play make them formidable contenders in the upcoming playoffs, providing a unique advantage with seasoned players who have navigated the challenges of postseason basketball.


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