The Los Angeles Clippers traded forward Tobias Harris, who was arguably their best player this season, to the Philadelphia 76ers on February 6 for Wilson Chandler, Landry Shamet, Mike Muscala (who was subsequently traded to the Los Angeles Lakers) and four draft picks. The intention was to effectively punt on their chances of making the 2019 NBA Playoffs and clear out enough salary cap space to be able to sign two max salary free agents this summer.

Many then expected the Clippers, who have been hovering towards the bottom of the Western Conference playoff picture, to miss the playoffs. They figured that the LeBron James-led Lakers would surge and seize the Clippers' playoff spot.

Instead, the Clippers have been the team that's surging, while the Lakers have plunged into a depression.

The Clippers have been one of the NBA's hottest teams

LA's "other" team has won nine of their last 12 games, which has included wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Lakers and Boston Celtics. On March 11, they netted a second win over Boston, 140-115, and put forth one of the better offensive performances in franchise history. They shot 61.6 percent for the game, making it their third-best shooting percentage for an entire game since 2000, and it was only the third time in that time span they had scored at least 140 points in a game.

The Clippers have largely done it by committee and by playing at a level that has surpassed the mere sum of its parts.

Only three players on its active roster - Lou Williams, Danilo Gallanari and Montrezl Harrell - average over 13 points a game. Yet the whole squad has played inspired ball, winning four of their last nine games by double digits.

At the same time, there has been the occasional impressive individual performance.

On March 11 against the Celtics, Williams made 14 of his 20 shots and scored 34 points while becoming the NBA's all-time leader in points scored off the bench, surpassing Dell Curry, the father of Golden State's Steph Curry.

"Being a sixth man and a career bench player, to have an opportunity to have something like that is special," Williams said after the game, ESPN reported.

"I've just continued to play aggressive. The shots have really been falling the last couple games."

Can the Clippers continue to move on up?

With their win against the Celtics, the Clippers are now 39-29, putting them in sixth place in the Western Conference. They are only two games behind the fifth-place Portland Trail Blazers, and with only five of their remaining 15 games on the road, the Clippers have an opportunity to move up in the standings.

Doing so would, in theory, only make them more attractive to a prospective superstar free agent this summer, such as Toronto's Kawhi Leonard.

Their next game is at home on March 12 against Portland. Head coach Doc Rivers, in his sixth season at the helm of the Clippers, deserves plenty of credit for getting the most out of the players that general manager Lawrence Frank has given him to work with.

"We played terrific. We shot the ball well, moved the ball and played at an amazing pace," Rivers said of their win over Boston. "I thought the defense early on was terrific and that got us out running. We really believed that we had to turn this into a pace game to win and I thought we did that," ESPN reported.

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