Clippers Need To Find Their Focus





The Clippers’ loss to the Cavaliers is not inexcusable, even with the game at Staples Center and young Cleveland playing for the third time in three cities over four nights. That flammable Kyrie Irving-Dion Waiters backcourt is going to turn a lot of opponents into scorched Earth.

The inconsistent early-season energy of the Clippers is inexcusable. A veteran roster, an envious level of leadership with Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill, several nonstop workers around them and the emotional catapult of imposing their will on the Lakers in the season-opener. Yet here they are, 2-2, with the real schedule challenge ahead.

The Clippers went promising after beating the Grizzlies by nine and the Lakers by 10 to losing to the Warriors by four with Golden State on the second night of a back-to-back. Andrew Bogut was held out to help his recovering ankle, and Stephen Curry missed 10 of 16 shots while totaling more turnovers than assists. That was a giveback. Wasting the chance to respond against the Cavaliers, that was bad.

A superior team locked in, as the Clippers should have been coming off the Warriors defeat, would have stepped on Cleveland. Yet on Monday, the Cavs scored 31 points in the opening quarter, had 84 after three periods and went on to a 108-101 victory. The visitors were not even especially sharp — 43.5-percent shooting and 19 turnovers – and L.A. still couldn’t keep up.

The Clippers energy was not the same the last two games as the first two, and there is no reason for that to happen so early, long before the mind gets challenged by the long NBA schedule. Bad games happen. But to not seize when a lottery-team-in-waiting arrives on their doorstep is a sign the Clips are not focused to start the season.

“This is our job to come out here and play, so we have to have that energy,” Paul told Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group. “We have to come out ready to play and perform better than that.”

“We have to do it, it’s as simple as that,” center DeAndre Jordan added. “We can’t keep talking about it. We can’t have too many excuses.”

Now, they have to “do it” while maneuvering a difficult schedule. Wednesday is the start of an eight-game run that includes the Spurs twice, Heat, Bulls, Thunder and Nets, along with a San Antonio-at Portland back-to-back. That takes the Clippers to late-November, when Billups hopes to be close to returning from his Achilles’ injury. He’ll be boost for the lineup, but also at least a brief transition. Hill will need to work in at some point as well, though no timetable has been set for his L.A. debut after a bruised knee sent him to the sideline.



5 Comments

  1. Game time says:

    It was a game won behind the arc. Great shooting for the cavs and poor perimeter defense for the clips.

    As for that *cough*fixed*cough* game againts GS, anyone can see how strong and dangerous this team is to battle against that many bad calls and still be close to winning.

  2. krespino says:

    CP3 is overrated, he is not a top three PG, B.Griffin is overrated, not top three PF. Clippers will never be close to contendership.

  3. The Clippers have a team full of good players top to bottom, but they still have yet to establish an identity on either end of the floor. Del Negro takes a lot of heat when they don’t play well, and this could be the reason why. Are they a run & gun lob team, are they a half court pick & roll with Paul & Griffin team, are they a high scoring team, or a grind it out defensively style team? That is something that the head coach & the coaching staff need to work on with this squad. They have a great mix of veterans & young players, and one of the best PG’s in the league in CP3 who can run any pace & any style of offense, but I think that the Clippers have their pace & style dictated by their opponents rather than imposing their own will on the game. This is why they are inconsistent and lose a lot of games to sub .500/non-playoff teams. On the flip side of that, they usually get up for big games since they do have a big game player in Paul who loves to showcase his immense talent against the other superstars. However, until Del Negro puts together some type of identity for his team, they will continue to be inconsistent & unpredictable on both sides of the ball.

  4. steppx says:

    Clips wildly overrated at start of the year. Another team of re-treads……..odom a dead loss, Billups way past it…..and Hill forgetabout it. They have some decent guys, but miss the toughness of KMart and Reggie from last year. Add to that, the Cavs are considerably better than people thought. Zeller had a nice game…is improving each time out, and now Waiters blows up………add that to an elite Irving, and this is not a bad team. Not deep, but if the starters are healthy, I like them over the clips any night.