Then in the 3rd or 4th quarter, they realize they're in deep crap and do everything the can to win the game. They out-hustle the other team, play unbelievable defense, make shots, and make runs... all while giving us a heart attack. And either the Clippers win the game and we all feel awesome, or they lose the game and we all feel incredibly let down. The latter was pretty noticeable for me particularly against the Golden State Warriors a week ago.
I'm really surprised, honestly. I'm just surprised at everything. This Los Angeles Clippers team has somehow managed to remain 4th in the Western Conference despite their absolutely terrible play recently. It seems like every game that I think of, the Clippers somehow managed to give up a pretty decent lead (10+ points), then throw it away like no ones business.
In the 3rd quarter of the Warriors game, I sat down on my couch thinking about the recap I had to write, replaying every terrible play, all the horrid defense and terrible substitutions in my mind. It was a disgusting game, one that we all want to forget, and I was writing about it. Then, the Clippers made a push in the 3rd and 4th quarter and before I knew it... the game was tied.
Yet, they lost. I reclined in my chair, let down and slightly empty. I slumped over to my computer, heart still racing from the game, wrote the recap, and went to bed. Oddly enough the same situation occurred 4 more times in the 5 games left in the home stretch. I do believe that I put an incredible amount of stress on myself from those games, stress that no 18 year old should have.
I don't feel like I'm alone either. We're all diehard fans here, so I imagine we're all getting pretty stressed and frustrated watching these games nowadays. It feels like it's the same old, same old. Even against Detroit and Houston, I told my mom that the Clippers were going to be up by a lot, then down by a lot, then come back to win by a little or lose by a little. Luckily, they did win both games... but how long can they keep doing this? Chris Paul surely can't carry this team to a 4th quarter comeback victory every game can he?
Every game I watch, I'm trying to figure out how the Clippers manage to come out so explosively and so deadly, then just toss it away and play "Clipper basketball." "Clipper basketball" as we all know consists of; sluggish defense, slow, uninspired offense, lack of energy, and missed shots galore. The team settles for jumpers rather than using the amazing athleticism available to them to cut to the basket for easy lay-ins, and really just doesn't seem to do much of anything to bring energy to the court. It absolutely astonishes me because a team consisting of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan should have no problem getting easy points in the paint to bring back the team from the dead when nothing is going right for the Clippers. However, it's clearly just not that simple.
This all leads me to the question: "What the ****ing **** is going on with the Clippers?" Is it the shortened season? It makes sense, but every other NBA team is on a shorted season so why aren't they all struggling? Are the Clippers getting too cocky with their talent and players and believe everything is going to fall into their laps? That's just a shame though, basketball games are won through hustle and determination, not on talent alone. Quite honestly, it seems like everyone but the Clippers has hustle and determination at this point. Sure, they do show hustle and desire to win, but only after they've given up a huge lead and have fallen behind and need to kick it into high gear.
I can't figure out how to right this team, and it seems like we're all struggling with that too. Hopefully the 1 hour, closed door meeting after the loss against the Phoenix Suns knocked some sense into the team, but only time can tell. Until then, I guess we hope that this Clipper ship will eventually right itself out.